Five Steps to Living More Sustainably

April 21, 2021

By Claudia Light

Did you know that we make 35,000 choices each day? It’s little wonder, then, that the number of changes and sacrifices we’re told to make in order to limit our footprints on the natural world can seem so endless. We’re full of admiration for those who have adopted a vegan diet, or pledged never to fly again – but we’ve come to the realisation that there are more realistic, manageable steps that, if taken by the majority, will make an immeasurable difference in tackling the climate crisis.

Whether it’s reusing more, or using less, where we choose to shop, or how often we enjoy a joint of meat, here are our top achievable steps to living more sustainably.

Appreciate the world on your doorstep

If there’s one thing that the travel restrictions of the pandemic have taught us, it’s that we’ll never again take for granted the options we have on our doorsteps. The normality of mass tourism and the opportunities to explore incredible parts of the world has led us to forget just how magical the UK can be – and you can enjoy it without the carbon emissions of a flight. From discovering London’s Hackney Marshes for the first time (who knew there was space for cows to graze anywhere in the capital?), to hiking the Yorkshire Dales, the past year’s been all about appreciating what we have at our fingertips – so what if we all substituted one trip abroad each year for something closer to home?

We love Kip Hideaways for their pick of ‘small places with soul’, a range of boutique huts and cottages to stay in across the British Isles. Take a look at Hinterlandes too for their off the grid Scandi-style cabin in the Lake District.

Eat more cauliflower steaks

There have been enough Netflix documentaries going viral for us to know by now that going vegetarian or vegan is one of the best steps an individual can take in reducing their carbon footprint. And whilst going full cold turkey is too big an ask for many, the growth of ‘flexitarianism’ has been impressive to see.

Aiming for more vegetarian food throughout the week is the place to start – try ordering a fruit and veg box to inspire you. If you want to feel particularly virtuous, we’d recommend Oddbox – their beautiful produce is rescued surplus from farms that would otherwise go to waste. Riverford Organics are one of the original fruit and veg box pioneers, with unparalleled organic produce grown and delivered from their farm in Devon.

In our experience, approaching fish and meat consumption as a treat rather than the norm results in tastier Sunday roasts and trips to our favourite restaurants. Where you do eat meat, look to source it from your local butcher (where they can provide more details on the quality and sustainability of the produce) or from the likes of the Ethical Butcher, who support regenerative agriculture and source grass-fed, organic produce to be delivered direct to your door.

Join the Fashion Revolution

The garment industry is frequently cited as being the second highest contributing sector to climate change in the world (though it came out recently that no one’s too sure where this claim was plucked from). Regardless, there’s no doubt that fast-fashion and our penchant for new clothes is contributing to climate change at an alarming scale. Over 8000 litres of water are required to produce the cotton that makes just one pair of jeans (The 71 Percent).

Whilst fashion houses are cottoning on to the need to produce clothes more sustainably, the true fault lies in our over consumption of clothes and propensity to treat items as disposable – in other words, fast-fashion. The solution is to choose quality over quantity, and only buy what we really need.

Try shopping at charity shops – likely to be heaving with choice after all the lockdown clear outs – or exploring the new world of fashion rental. Onloan and Hurr Collective are both recommended platforms with beautiful ranges of designer items that you can rent at a fraction of the price.

Go plastic-free

As a company whose mission is to cut the use of plastic in period products, this is a step we won’t shut up about. At the end of 2020, human-made materials came to outweigh the Earth’s entire biomass (The Guardian). The amount of plastic alone is now greater in mass than all the land animals and marine creatures combined. And given some plastics take up to 500 years to break down (including those in mainstream period products), that mass isn’t going down anytime soon.

However, from KeepCups to zero waste shops to refill subscription services for your cleaning products, the choices when it comes to going plastic-free are everywhere and so easy to make. We love Smol for their sustainable dishwasher and laundry detergent tabs, delivered through your letterbox when you need them, and YOKU offers beautiful plastic-free products for your bathroom such as safety razors (that last you a lifetime) and botanical soaps.

Switch to renewable energy

Changing to a renewable energy provider might sound like a phone call you would rather put off, but it’s one of the most influential steps you can take in reducing your carbon footprint. The good news is, once the tedious bit is out of the way, the job is done – with no further impact on your day to day life. Just sit back and enjoy the wind power running through your TV.

The growth of renewables in the UK is particularly exciting, and in 2020 energy generated by wind, sunlight, water and wood outpaced fossil fuels as the nation’s largest source for the first time. There are a number of energy companies setting out to challenge the big dogs who have dominated the industry for years, and they’ll often save you money too – we’d recommend checking out OVO, Octopus and Bulb.