10 Tips For A More Sustainable Lifestyle
Over the last couple of years, I have become increasingly aware of how much plastic and unsustainable products come into our home. As someone who is passionate about our communities and environment, this really has got me thinking and has given me a greater awareness of what we’re bringing home, and where it has come from.
I set up A Rosie Life as a guide to a happy, mindful lifestyle, and I feel that sustainability is now a key part of that style of living. For me, like many people, the cost that humans are having on the planet is extremely frightening, and I have made some big life choices because of it.
However, there are some really simple and affordable ways to incrementally move towards a more sustainable life, and it’s never too late to make even the smallest changes. So today, I wanted to share with you some of the changes we’ve made to our lifestyle to give you some inspiration and tips on living a more sustainable life.
Cars are an essential part of many of our lives, however there are lots of affordable ways of getting around. We are lucky to live in a small city so I make sure I cycle (or bus in the rain!) everywhere within the ring road. If we go into London we get the Oxford Tube. It’s really tempting to nip to the shops or do the school run in your car, but if you cut down on local or unnecessary trips, it really can make a big difference, and make a difference to the air pollution in your neighbourhood too.
Buy Quality Over Quantity
As a store owner, it might seem counter intuitive to say buy less, but my mantra is always buy less but buy better. I work with UK designers and small businesses to put together my A Rosie Life collection, with quality, longevity and functionality, (as well as cuteness and awesomeness!) at the heart of the range. Conscious purchasing saves you money and as William Morris said, ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.‘
This can be really tricky, especially when you’re tired and in a hurry. I try and only buy fruit and veg grown in Europe, and opt for unpackaged instead of plastic wrapped. I really want to decrease the amount of plastic we bring home and really hope supermarkets and big brands up their game when it comes to packaging. I think one of the simplest changes to make is not buying lots of snack foods which tend to be over packaged. Oh, and obviously take you own shopping bags!
Going vegan is claimed to be one of the biggest ways you can reduce your carbon foot print. The meat and dairy industry have a massive impact on green house gas emissions, and wild land lost to agriculture is a huge factor in animal extinction rates. Moving to a solely vegan diet can be daunting, and I am definitely not there yet, however I have a vegetarian diet and after doing Veganuary this year, I have now eliminated a lot of dairy from my diet. I think small changes can make a big difference so instead of Meat-Free-Monday, why not try going the whole way and opt for a vegan Monday instead? Ottolenghi’s Vegetable Paella in his book Plenty is a great place to start!
Buying from independent shops in your area helps support the local economy by keeping money circulating locally and providing jobs within the community. Independent shops are normally run by their owners, who have a really good idea of what will sell in their store, and how much they need to order. Pair this with a smaller budget, and this is how indies help to reduce waste and resources by not over ordering as large chains do.
I weened myself off fast fashion some time ago, and can’t remember the last time I stepped inside a Primark. It is such a waste of money as well as natural resources. I was totally shocked by the documentary Stacey Dooley made about the fashion industry, and particularly how cotton production has had such an enormous impact on the environment. I try and buy from vintage or charity shops and often find far more unique and interesting items for much less than the high street equivalent.
Switch Energy Providers
This is so quick and easy to do, plus you might even save money when you switch. Some of the big brand energy providers have some really affordable renewable energy packages now, so it’s definitely worth looking into the options in your area.
It’s really easy now to opt for online bank statements to cut down on the amount of paper that comes through the door, as well as getting boarding passes on your phone and event tickets too. Also think about cancelling any catalogues, or unnecessary mail outs.
When we moved into our house, nearly a year ago, we replaced all the light bulbs with LEDs. They are extremely energy efficient and long lasting, and can cut energy consumption by up to 80%.
Grow Your Own
Reducing the amount of plastic that comes with your food shopping is great, however if you want to seriously cut down on the food miles, growing your own is a great option. Whether you have enough space for a vegetable patch, or just enough room for a window box, it all helps. We don’t have space for a whole good life style allotment, but I have squeezed the odd tomato or cucumber plant in here and there, as well as herbs, plus I grow flowers that can be cut, like dahlias and cosmos, so we have beautiful blooms minus any freight.
The main point really is to be conscious of any small changes you can incorporate into your life that will make a difference. Whether that’s swapping your cleaning products, or carrying water to avoid buying single use plastics, it’s all moving in the right direction. Any changes you make are a positive step to a more sustainable lifestyle, and through this, we can be hopeful that our small deeds will help future generations and the planet.