lifestyle

Six easy lifestyle hacks to eco-friendly living from shopping to travel


It’s easy to go green (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The climate crisis might seem daunting, but there are small switches you can make at home to help reduce your environmental impact.

From making your wardrobe more sustainable to taking the eco route when you go on holiday, little things can make a big difference.

To get started on your climate quest, read on below for six simple hacks to make your life more sustainable.

1. Change the way you shop

Did you know? The average person has £200 worth of unworn clothes in their wardrobe — as a nation that’s equivalent to £10billion.

One of the easiest ways to clean up your wardrobe is to pause buying brand new clothes and shop second-hand and pre-loved instead.

‘I buy so much stuff from charity shops,’ says comedian Aisling Bea, a huge advocate of ethical and sustainable fashion, who is taking part in Oxfam’s Second-hand September campaign. ‘Let’s use the clothes that are already in existence and help out charities and your pocket.’

Clothes can be recycled at your local recycling bank (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

For clothes, charity shops, Etsy, Ebay and Vinted are easy ways to buy. For furniture, Narchie is a new app that lets you buy (and sell) second-hand items, while Ikea has also started taking back old furniture.

Clothes and linens at the end of their wear shouldn’t be thrown out — take them to a clothes recycling bank.

2. Go plant-based

Did you know? Going vegan for two thirds of meals could cut your food-related carbon footprint by 60%.

On health grounds alone, the argument for increasing our plant-based food intake and decreasing meat and dairy is compelling.

Swapping yoghurt and milk for oat or coconut alternatives is such an easy switch you’ll hardly notice the difference at breakfast. That only leaves one meal to swap to a vegan option each day. Or you could go vegan on weekdays and have what you like at weekends.

Our top tip is to seek out some vegan recipes or cookbooks and make a dedicated vegan meal, rather than trying to adapt a meat- or dairy-based recipe — if you can make it as delicious as possible, it won’t feel like you’re giving up anything.

Lifestyle changes are easy to make (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

3. Walk (and cycle) more

Did you know? Even for distances of one or two miles, more than 60% of these journeys are made by car or van.

Almost 70% of the trips we make as a nation are fewer than five miles, with a quarter being fewer than one mile — which could be walked in about 15 minutes. Imagine how much cleaner the air would be) if we all walked or cycled these journeys.

Worse still, cars emit up to twice the level of pollution in the first five minutes of use.

4. Ditch the packaging

Did you know? Since supermarkets introduced a charge for plastic bags, sales of single-use bags have fallen by 95%.

Say no to the plastic bag and reuse the bags you have. Take a keep cup and a reusable metal water bottle when you go out.

Buy refillable products — cosmetics companies including Faith In Nature, L’Occitane, Ren and Charlotte Tilbury all sell them, while the likes of L’Oréal and UpCircle will recycle your empties for you.

On your weekly grocery shop big names including Asda, Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and M&S have introduced zero-packaging aisles and refill stations for store cupboard goods.

Reusing bags instead of buying 10p p;astic ones saves money and the planet (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

5. Switch your holiday habits

Did you know? Just 1% of us carbon offset our flights, according to the International Air Transport Association.

We all want to travel — and few of us are able or willing to reduce our carbon footprint to zero. If making the switch from air to train, car or ferry isn’t on the cards, at least consider the way you fly.

Skyscanner’s search tool will flag up the most CO2-friendly flights with a leaf motif. Otherwise, Which! magazine advises to fly economy, choose airlines with more fuel-efficient models (such as the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and Airbus A350-900 and A320neo) and choose direct flights, as take-off uses up more fuel than cruising does.

Be eco savvy when you travel (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In addition, carbon-offset your flight. Schemes should have a VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) or Gold Standard certificate — and non-profit site Atmosfair.de/en/ is a good place to start.

6. Change your energy supplier

Did you know? Coal-fired electricity accounted for 30% of global emissions in 2018, the single biggest contributor to global warming.

Energy is getting much greener in the UK — electricity generated by coal in 2018 was just 5%, while energy from renewables saw a record year at 35%.

Think about swapping to a greener energy supplier (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In the next decade we will all have to think about changing our boilers to more efficient, cleaner models but until then vote with your feet and swap to a green energy supplier such as Bulb, Octopus, Good Energy or Ecotricity.

These supply all their energy from renewable sources, including wind, solar and hydro-electricity, and carbon neutral gas.

This is especially important If you’re planning to switch to an electric car — it will only be as green as the energy you put into it.

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Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


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