Tips for living a more sustainable life

It seems that at long last, we are all getting the hang of living more sustainable lives.
We’re doing better at re-cycling, using fewer plastic bags and more people are
cycling to work than ever before.

However, there’s still plenty more that we can all do to look after our planet and keep
things in better shape for our children’s futures.

Some of these things are just plain old common sense, some ideas are a bit more
new-fangled. So, to make life easier we’ve put together a list of a few of the ways
you can tweak your life to continue to improve your eco-credentials.

Next time you find yourself adding a shirt to your charity-shop-pile because it’s lost a
button, stop a moment and try to remember where you put your sewing kit. Basic
repairs to clothes are really simple and if you’re unsure of anything, YouTube has
instructions on everything from turning up a hem to fixing a hole in your favourite

Once you’re in the fixing groove, check out some of the many repair websites with
advice for bringing everything from bikes to laptops back to life. Some of our
favourites are –

Ifxit – solutions for almost every conceivable electronics repair
The Humble Mechanic – straight talking advice for all auto issues
ParkTool – practical tips for keeping you safe on two wheels

This year’s Blue Planet made uncomfortable viewing but its message about single
use plastic really hit home. Cutting down on plastic use is an easy way to make a
difference and just a matter of getting into good habits.

First up, stop buying bottled water! There are some very cool water bottles
available for every style and budget and while we’re ideally trying to reduce the
amount of new stuff we all buy, this purchase is essential if you’re serious about
sustainability. A water bottle will soon pay for itself and you’ll quickly be wondering
why you ever paid actual money for bottled water.

Don’t use plastic straws and support restaurants who have banned them.

Remember to take your bag for life with you every time you shop. This is another
opportunity for a style statement, if you like that sort of thing, so do your research
first before you take the plunge.

“Reduce, reuse, recycle” applies as much to non-perishables as to the food we buy.
Wherever possible buy second hand clothing, furniture and appliances or swap
clothes with family and friends. Think about the clothes you buy, as everything has
an environmental footprint. Support ethical brands.

Always read labels and opt for products that are fair trade, vegan, eco-friendly
and organic.

Most markets and bigger supermarkets sell their fruit and veg loose and this is a
great way to cut your plastic use. It also reduces food waste as you can buy just
what you need rather than what you’d get in the pre-packed option. You’ll probably
find it’s cheaper, too!

Use up leftover fruit and veg in soups and smoothies – this cuts down on waste
and you get a healthy snack or meal into the bargain.

Reduce your cling film use, it’s just another bad habit. To keep food fresh use
tupperware containers, foil, or a good old-fashioned bowl with a plate on top.

Wash at 30 degrees and hang clothes to dry on the line whenever the weather
permits. Tumble dryers are energy hungry and drying clothes alfresco will help cut
down your energy bills too.

Micro beads have been named, shamed and finally banned for the effect the have on
our marine environment but there are other culprits out there to watch out for and

Avoid plastic cotton buds and replace them with a biodegradable alternative such
as rolled paper or bamboo.

Try a greener alternative to cotton wool pads for removing make up such as
organic face cloths or washable cleansing pads.

The disposal of menstrual products is a huge environmental problem but
something that we need to be more clued up about. There are many eco-friendly alternatives and a surprising number of websites with bags of information and more
sustainable products to try.

The WWF suggest that there are several ways in which we can all eat our way to a
brighter future for the planet. As well as wasting less food, the emphasis is most
definitely on eating more plants, moderating our meat intake and buying food that
meets a credible certified standard.