Sustainable swaps UK
We're all trying to live eco-friendlier lives. The pros have some easy tips for us when it comes to making planet-preserving sustainability swaps.
It's not easy, though: whether you have a new baby and are up to your elbows in planet-wrecking essentials (disposable wipes and nappies, plastic toys that you loathe but your baby seems to love) or your lifestyle requires that you drive to work daily. Sometimes, trying to engage with being more eco-conscious can feel like a failure right off the bat.
While we certainly won't be the people who can fit our yearly waste into a thimble-sized glass jar, we do hope to do the next generation proud (after all, they're the ones tapping us on the shoulders to check we're using Ecosia - the search engine that plants trees with each search you make - every time we're on the internet).
From renting toys instead of buying them to choosing eco-cleaners that are not only better for the planet, but for our health, too, making little changes towards a more sustainable lifestyle can be easier than you think - and the pros have given us some tips on how to do it, too.
OLIO lets you share unwanted food that would otherwise go to waste between friends and neighbours
Tessa Cook, co-founder of food-sharing app, OLIO
"The most important tip is not to feel overwhelmed when trying to lead a more sustainable/zero waste lifestyle.The best way for me to do this was to set myself one change at a time and just focus on that one change. And then, once I'd nailed it, I'd move onto the next one. That way it becomes a bit like a game, and can be surprisingly fun!" she explains.
- Get a Nutribullet: It's a triple win. Firstly, I get to massively reduce food waste because all the browning bananas, wrinkly oranges and the kids' half-eaten apples can get chucked into the blender with some yogurt, and voila, a delicious smoothie! Secondly, the kids really enjoy making them with me, and thirdly, it's super healthy and a great way to sneak fruit and veggies into their diet without them realising!
- Change your bathroom habits: My first bathroom switch was to a bamboo toothbrush - it's nice and easy. Given that every single plastic toothbrush that has ever been made still exists, and will continue to exist for about another 400 years, it's a simple way to counteract this waste. Next was toothpaste in a jar (Truthpaste), followed by bars of soap.
- Swap those feminine hygiene products: As time goes on I've made more changes to my lifestyle (for lady readers, a transformation on the personal front was switching to the DivaCup, backed up with Thinx knickers) but dealing with them one-by-one makes them easier to adopt and is more likely to make them lifestyle changes that stick - which is, after all, the goal of sustainable living.
JoJo has a large selection of wooden toys for kids, which parents are increasingly seeking out instead of plastic ones.
Laura Tenison, MBE, Founder & CEO, JoJo Maman Bébé
"My mother instilled great values in her five children, including a 'waste not, want not' obligation. Our founding JoJo ethos was based on sustainable business practices – long before it was ‘fashionable’. Putting people and planet above profit is part of our DNA and this mantra becomes more relevant to the world as each day passes," Laura tells us.
- Shop from B Corps: B Corp certified businesses have to go through a strenuous process to ensure that their business model is a force for good at every stage, from the way they treat their employees to how they treat the planet (the accreditation is notoriously tricky for fashion retailers to achieve, but JoJo Maman Bébé's got it). Other B Corps to check out? Tony's Chocolonely chocolates, Toast Ale beer (made from surplus bread) and Lily's Kitchen pet food.
Larq's self-cleaning - and super-stylish - water bottle can neutralise bacteria and keep water cool or drinks hot
Elaine Tu from LARQ, the world's first self-cleaning water bottle
- Reusable bags: Despite efforts to ban plastic bags around the world, 4 trillion plastic bags are used each year worldwide - with 14 billion plastic bags a year from the US alone. From these staggering numbers, only 1% of plastic bags are returned for recycling. Next time you’re out shopping, remember to stash away a couple of reusable shopping bags for groceries and shopping. (Tip: Keep some bags in your car at all times or keep some placed next to your front door so you’ll remember to bring them with you on your way out).
- Reusable food wraps: Swapping out all kinds of plastic, including your single-use plastic at home, like plastic cling wraps, can have a huge impact on the earth. It takes 500 or more years for plastic to disintegrate. However, they don’t even completely break down; instead, they photo-degrade and become micro-plastics that continue to pollute the earth. Switch from your usual plastic cling wrap to more sustainable reusable food storage like Bee’s Wrap, an organic cotton material covered in beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. You can use it exactly the way you would a normal cling wrap. After each use, wash with soapy water, dry, and reuse.
- Reusable water bottle: A million plastic bottles are purchased worldwide every minute. This number is expected to increase by 20% by 2021. Try to avoid buying bottled water and instead fill up your reusable water bottle where you can. The LARQ Bottle uses UV-C LED technology to eliminate up to 99.9999% of bacteria and viruses (in Adventure Mode) so you can drink with confidence no matter where you go.
- Reusable food containers: Have you ever tried to clean oil from plastic containers? It’s just about the most frustrating thing imaginable! Instead of using disposable meal prep containers, opt for glass containers with BPA-free lids or stainless steel bento containers that are completely zero waste.
- Stainless steel straws: The U.S. alone uses an estimated 500 million plastic straws every day. Diminish your straw waste by purchasing reusable straws and refusing straws at restaurants and beverage shops (these, along with stirrers and cotton buds, will be banned in the UK from April 2020). There are all sorts of straw sizes and styles to suit your needs - whether it’s for smoothies, shakes, boba, or soda. These are usually made from durable materials like stainless steel (also easy to clean), and some even use glass (for those of you who prefer your straws to be transparent).