With 2021 starting with yet another UK lockdown, understandably the focus on everyone’s minds is the pandemic. The environmental movement, which had built up quite the storm back in 2019 and early 2020 has had to take a bit of a back seat, whilst we work together to get through this tough time. However, there are still many small eco-friendly changes you can make whilst at home that can make a huge difference in the green movement!
Consider more sustainable options
When it comes to PPE, an easy switch is to invest in a re-usable face mask, which can be regularly washed to keep clean and hygienic. It is a good idea to have a few masks, so that you have a spare when one is in the wash. This will cost a little more initially, but you then won’t have the continued expense of buying disposable masks and it is obviously much more eco-friendly.
Another hygiene/safety related product that you can make a more eco-friendly choice with is hand sanitiser. Instead of buying a small bottle each time you’re getting low, purchase one large container and use this to refill your existing bottle. This will reduce the amount of plastic waste and again this works out cheaper in the long run.
If you’re buying antibacterial wipes, look out for options which are plastic free (Wilko sell their own branded plastic free wipes for only 50p a pack and they’re still open during lockdown, as an essential retailer). Once you have finished with the packs, you can recycle them (along with other packaging items) at your nearest Terracycle drop off location. Find out more about this scheme here.
Forget fast fashion
We know it is so tempting to fill your basket when shopping online. What’s the harm? You can always send the items back if you change your mind. However, this type of unnecessary and excessive buying leads to more delivery vans on the road and even more when large amounts of items are returned. Shockingly, a lot of these items will just end up in landfill, as many companies don’t have the technology to process the volume of returns, whilst ensuring the items are fit for resale.
Try to find the value in your existing wardrobe, by trying new outfit pairings and venture to the section of your wardrobe you normally pass by. Only purchase new clothing when you genuinely need it or as a real treat, this way you will really value each item you own. If you do decide to have a clear out, it is likely that when the lockdown lifts, charity shops will be inundated with donations. Why not offer clothing bundles on platforms like Freecycle, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace to people who are in need? A lot of people are struggling financially due to COVID-19, and a small act of kindness like this could help an individual or family significantly. Also, it is a great form of recycling!
Cut down on meat
Scientists have said eating less meat is the single most effective way an individual can reduce their impact on the planet. Even writing this as a vegetarian, I know it’s really hard to give up meat, it tastes nice and seems like a drastic change. But whilst we all have this extra time at home, it is a great opportunity to give some new veggie recipes and meat-free alternatives a go. You don’t have to go cold turkey on meat, but even just cutting down or dedicating one day a week to being meat free can have a big impact and will reduce your carbon footprint. With plant-based diets gaining popularity, there are now so many great alternatives on offer (a personal favourite is the brand Naked Glory – its vegan burgers are amazing)!
And finally, look after yourself
It’s a very stressful and strange (to say the least) time that we are living through, so don’t put any pressure on yourself. You may have bursts of energy and motivation where you are looking for new positive ways to move forward, in which case, we hope these eco-friendly tips and suggestions may help. Other times you may simply need to look after yourself and your mental health and that is absolutely justified. Now more than ever, it is so important to be kind to yourself and know that we will get through this together.