1. Buy your next big purchase second-hand
Why? There's a lot of stuff already existing in the world, we don't need any more.
Plus buying preloved is often far cheaper.
Did you know Every item bought second-hand = one less brand new product needed. This results in less manufacturing which - depending on the product - can require a vast amount of resources.
How? You can buy more or less anything that has had a previous life – furniture, clothes, toys, kitchenware, electronics...
Try Ebay, or use Facebook Marketplace to see what's within walking distance or pop in to the charity shop.
Or pop a post on social media. If your phone's just died, chances are someone in your generous network will have just upgraded and has a perfectly good phone sat in a drawer somewhere.
Another great alternative to buying new is simply finding it for free. Freegle and Freecycle are a great resource for things not wanted/needed any more which can be found locally. And when you have bits you don't want any more, just give them back to the community that once helped you.
Local groups are another great resource for second-hand items. On Facebook I'm signed up to various local community groups and virtual pin boards for my area.
2. Only boil the water you need for your tea/coffee
This may sound a petty one, but it's such an easy life tweak and has a surprising level of impact if it becomes habit...
Boiling extra water is wasted electricity and on average we boil double the amount of water needed.
Did you know boiling enough water to make three cups of tea is like using a laptop for five hours?
How? Just making yourself a cuppa? Start with an empty kettle, fill your favourite mug with water and pour this into the kettle. Make a mental note – or physically Sharpie mark on the outside where the water comes up to.
You may find that the marked out levels for '2 cups' by your kettle manufacturer might not be so accurate...
3. Go veggie for a couple of days a week
Farming animals uses a huuuuge amount of resources in comparison to fruit and veg.
Did you know good quality cropland is being used to grow animal feed rather than human food?
If you're an avid meat eater, start with one veggie dinner a week and increase this as you get more confident of some new veggie dishes.
One oft voiced struggle is not having a 'focus' to a dish, or craving the sort of texture meat provides. If this is you, try halloumi, jackfruit, aubergine, smoked tofu, seitan, lentils or the firmer varieties of mushrooms. Many veggies also use meat alternatives such as Quorn who make meat-free burgers, sausages, mince and even fishless 'cod' fillets.
For the veggies and vegans among you - a recipe book recommendation for you in the form of Happy Food by Bettina Campolucci Bordi. Mm-mmm.
4. Replace single-use with reusable
It's easy to throw something away and feel that once your bins have been collected, that it no longer exists. But the reality is very different, check out Hugh's War on Waste if you're in to horror films. For a more uplifting reason to switch to reusables - many cafes offer a discount if you bring your own cup.
Did you know 20,000 plastic bottles are bought worldwide every second, less than 50% of these will be recycled and is it estimated that each bottle will take 450 years to biodegrade?
Consider how many single-use items you have discarded in the past day.
Could any of these things have been saved from being disposed of if you had a reusable alternative, or were they really needed in the first place? A tub instead of cling film? A tote bag instead of supermarket plastic bag? A bamboo cup instead of a paper one? Do you really need a straw for your drink?
Have no shame in taking your reusable bottle into a cafe and asking for a water top up... unless they're super busy, then maybe shuffle along to the next place... To find cafes which actively invite you to top up your water with them, read this article.
On this liquid theme, you could also get a reusable coffee cup. Or one of my favourite purchases – my reusable shopping bag. It folds up to be so dinky and lightweight that it lives in my bag ready for those unexpected trips to the shops.
5. Start a list on your fridge/freezer
Food that goes to landfill rots and produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.
Did you know one-third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste and 69% of Brits don't know that food waste contributes to climate change? Spread the word peeps!
Before going to the shops, take a look at what you already have in the fridge. In true Ready, Steady, Cook-style figure out what could be added to make a meal.
I keep a list of my freezer contents blue tacked to the inside of one of the kitchen cupboards. Take something out? Strike it off the list. Add something in? Add it to list. Simples. And whilst food preserves well in the freezer, it's a good way to ensure you're not doubling up on things and if you have a big fridge, this same principle could be applied.
Another tip for reducing food waste is to invest in some good tupperware. Tubs = preserving food for longer + the ability to eat on the go rather than buy food out + the option of freezing big batch meals. I love tubs.
In fact, I love tubs so much, that I take them out to dinner. Yes, you may well embarrass your dining buddies, but that's a small price to pay for rescuing leftovers, saving the planet and ya'know #lunchtomorrowsorted.