“Sustainability” is a term that has been thrown around a lot recently, but what actually does sustainability mean and how can we be more sustainable? The UN world commission of Environment and Development says ‘sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
There are so many different ways to be sustainable from being conscious about where you spend your money to water consumption! I’ll be talking about what I think are the most adoptable ways of being sustainable.
Some of the best ways to be more sustainable, in relation to the food we eat, starts where we buy our food. Large supermarkets ship in food from all over the world to be available for us to purchase, increasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere during their transport.
Visiting your local farmers market to buy locally grown produce will greatly reduce carbon emissions while simultaneously supporting your local farms.
Another great way to save money and be more sustainable is to grow your own veg. I love growing my own carrots and potatoes as I seem to have more success with those than other veg. Strawberries (mainly in summer), tomatoes, green beans, lettuce and onions are other great types of veg to grow in the UK climate, and usually taste better home grown too!
If these ideas aren’t for you, one really important way of being more sustainable is reducing your food waste. We throw out about 7.1 million tonnes of food waste in the UK each year, that’s about £840 for a family of four.
Here are some good ways of reducing food waste:
– Write a meal plan so you only buy what you need
– Freeze items that are about to go out of date
– Or, batch cook items into stews and soups then freeze
– If you know you are going to eat food straight after leaving the supermarket, pick the earliest date to help reduce supermarket food waste
– If you have leftovers, even a small amount, save them! They’re great as a lunch the following day
– Make a homemade stock from leftover stalks, peels and leftover veggies
– Add fruit peels to your water to improve taste
– Compost if you can!
- Shopping habits
Another really important way of being more sustainable is by reducing the number of new clothing and products being made. By reducing purchases of new items, we will reduce water consumption and energy.
Decide whether you actually need that item. Do you realistically need that 7th pair of leggings or 15th pair of shoes? Probably not, put the debit card away!
If you find you do need a new item, then try buying second hand; Facebook marketplace and Depop have been my saving grace when I have needed to buy new items (usually more affordable too!)
Sometimes, if something you own has come to the end of its lifetime you can repurpose it into something new; like broken hangers into wall hooks, old credit/debit cards into guitar picks or old clothes into cleaning cloths.
Being sustainable with water ensures that there is plenty to distribute across all sectors including agriculture, industrial and in homes. Using water sustainably is important for meeting all of our needs while enabling future generations to meet their own needs. These are some of the best ways to conserve water and be more sustainable.
The most common way to reduce our water usage, the one that has been drilled into many of us since we were younger is to turn off the tap when it’s not in use. This includes while brushing your teeth and shaving.
Only run your dishwasher and washing machine when they’re full, a pretty obvious way to save water and you’re saving money too, it’s a win-win!
Choosing a shower over a bath is a great way of reducing your water consumption. A 10-minute shower only uses about 25 gallons of water, but a full bath can use up to a whopping 50 gallons of water. If you do prefer a bath, try just filling it halfway next time.
I hope that this guide was helpful and has given you some ideas on how to start being more sustainable in your life! The most important thing to remember is do whatever you are able to do, it all makes a difference.