Simple Ways To Be A More Eco-Friendly Household
People often ask me to give tips on being eco-friendly and whilst I totally love that, I sometimes have a smile to myself because I am quite sure there are more eco-conscious people than me out there. For example, I know several zero-waste ambassadors and I work with many colleagues who never eat out or have only used shampoo bars their entire lives! (They clearly don’t have my hair).
However, I think people see me as very ‘normal’ so they are keen to hear how regular people can make a difference easily.
I now write children’s environmental books for a living, but I spent almost twenty years in management consultancy and oil and gas before I embarked on this journey, so I know that it’s not always easy to whip out the keep-cup every time or refuse plastic water bottles in a meeting.
What I also know is that we do all need to make huge changes in our daily lives if we are going to stop climate change and secure a decent future for any of us on this planet.
I also know that children are an inspiration for us all and they need to be bigger eco-heroes than any of us can ever imagine because we are leaving them no other choice.
You might not like my tips, but we need to make some big super-hero size changes ASAP, so here goes:
Eat WAY Less Meat
Once or twice a week max is way more than enough. Do you have any idea what animal agriculture is doing to the environment and your bodies? Check out some easy vegan recipes online (seriously not as hard as you think) and choose the vegan or veggie options in restaurants instead of meat. My kids are only allowed meat once a week and while they rebel against their vegan mother, it’s simply a non-negotiable issue in the house. Like homework, like teeth brushing, it’s just the way it is. Do it!
Try To Cut Out Plastic
This is way more epic a task than cutting out meat, to be honest. Things like cling film and sandwich bags in the house are the first ways to cut back on plastic and refusing plastic in the supermarket (e.g. bring Tupperware for olives etc) is a great achievement. Even Spinneys has cardboard cartons for their salad counters these days. Refusing plastic is becoming normal – cling film wrapped cucumbers should not!
Don’t Waste Food
Plan your food and freeze leftovers. We all over cook and I am certainly one for thinking too much is better than too little if I am having guests around. However, this is only good if there is no waste. Be conscious about what you are throwing away and you will start to realise you really don’t need to be wasting so much.
Anything you do waste, you can compost
It’s not difficult and there are so many different types of composters these days that it’s not the messy stinky process you think. Check out MyGreenChapter for some options.
Stop Buying Straws And Juice Boxes
They are great for the lunchboxes and kids love them, but no one needs them.
Install Water Filters
So you can fill up your own water bottles and keep them in the fridge. It’s easy, cost-effective and totally works. Also, no more need for those ugly big bottle dispensers in the kitchen. (Check out Liquid of Life).
No More Balloons
Balloons do NOT biodegrade. They are celebratory, fun and we have an emotional attachment but they are polluting our skies and oceans at an alarming rate. Foil balloons are no better because they need helium which is a depleting resource. If you have to have balloons, then dispose of them responsibly. I know you really don’t like that tip, but it’s tough love here.
Check out https://balloonsblow.org/the-ugly-truth/ to understand more. I was shocked when I watched a documentary with these guys in it recently.
So, of course I think you should buy and read my books to empower your children to make better choices for us all. However, I also know that every one of us has the ability to unleash our inner fabulous selves and be the Eco-heroes we were born to be. You just need to do it!
Colette Barr, founder of Save Our World and author of The Eco-heroes book series