If there was one good thing to come out of 2019 then it would have to be how much more aware we are of climate change, and the impact that plastics are having on that. Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough really made us all sit up and finally start paying attention to the damage single use plastics are having, of how they are polluting the oceans, and that as a new decade begins we need to all start taking responsibility and making changes. Not just with plastics, but with thinking more about the food we eat and how far it has travelled; should we really be eating bananas that have been flown to the UK from Panama?
So here are my top 8 eco friendly swaps to make in 2020. Do let me know if you can think of any others that I can share
Cut out unnecessary journeys
I know I am really guilty of jumping in my car and “just nipping to the shops” to pick up a few bits several times a week, most of those journeys unnecessary. Several journeys in my car of just a few miles that could be avoided if I just did a bit more planning, or walked into town. There is no journey more eco friendly than the one done by bike or on foot! How many trips do you do that could be amalgamated into one?
Avoid plastic wrapped foods
Talking of bananas, avoid buying the ones in a plastic bag and grab some of the large boxes instead. If you are doing self weighing and pricing you can put the sticker straight on one of the bananas, it doesnt need to be in a bag. It really is quite easy to make some plastic free swaps when you really start to think about it
Shop from the market or farm shop
Most towns these days have a market, they seem to be flourishing and selling much more than just fruit and veg. Vegetables sold on markets have typically flown far few miles, and will be put straight in a paper bag. Our local market also has a fabulous bakery stall where all the products have been made locally, and are put in paper bags. Maybe you could see if you can do the same thing. We even have a shop locally where you can take your own containers and fill them with such things as shower gel, vinegars, cereals and flours, thereby cutting out all that packaging waste.
Cut out meat
For the past year or so my eldest daughter has been a vegetarian and this Christmas we are going to be having a meat free Boxing Day. I have also been looking for posts by vegan bloggers because Caity is also pregnant so can’t have any of the vegetarian suggestions that include goats cheese, which means vegan recipes are safe!
Make your own products!
There are lots of recipes on line for making everything from face creams to play dough to washing powder, all with simple ingredients that can be bought easily. Not only fun to do but cuts out the use of many harmful ingredients that just don’t need to be in our homes, or near our skin!
Silicon mats and beeswax wraps
Rather than using baking parchment which will only be used once, why not invest in some silicon baking sheets (they come in all sorts of sizes) which can be used, wiped clean, and reused again and again? You could also ditch the foil and cling film if you were start using bees wax wraps too. The latter can be bought from most supermarkets and you can even buy kits to make your own.
Eco Friendly Weddings and events
It is so easy to forget about eco friendly when planning a party. Balloons, disposable cutlery, paper napkins, goodie bag gifts, they are all things that can be avoided or tweaked to be more eco friendly. Type “eco friendly wedding” into Pinterest and you will find hundreds of boards with lots of gorgeous ideas for really simple swaps that can be made to ensure the big day is ecologically as friendly as possible. Also worth asking the venue what they do to be more eco-friendly. Do they recycle in the kitchens, offer a discount if you don’t have your room cleaned every day, offer shuttle services from stations or the airport so you don’t have to have a series of taxis doing the same trip? Do they avoid plastic cutlery and disposable coffee cups?
Eco Friendly Travel
This is a tricky one because, who doesn’t love the idea of nipping off on a city break for a long weekend? Avoiding air travel is hard when you live on an island such as ours, but it isn’t impossible. You could, of course, get the train to France and then continue onwards by train. Or maybe do a cruise from Southampton. There is, of course, also so much to do at home, canal holidays and train travel here has never been more popular. It is also possible to offset your carbon emissions should you chose to do that, with many schemes allowing you to chose where your payment will be invested.
I read recently that in their lifetime the average American will thrown away 90,000 tonnes of rubbish. That is a staggering amount, and can’t continue.
By making a few simple changes and thinking more about the swaps we can make that figure will surely be much lower from 2020 onwards.
All images courtesy of Shutterstock