Ways to Change to a Sustainable Life (even in the city!)
The world has a lot of big problems and often we feel like we can’t do much about them. Living in London, it’s right on top of you with the levels of traffic, pollution, big business and industry all around, it’s hard to feel like you can make a difference. But there are lots of little changes we can make to our lives to help do our bit towards making things better. Living a more sustainable life and thinking about our impact on the world is a great approach for this and here are a few simple ideas how you can start doing this today.
Cut back on animal products
This doesn’t mean you need to become a vegan (unless you want to of course!) but cutting back on animal products can be a simple step in living a more sustainable life. It takes a lot of resources to produce animal products, for example, one gallon of milk uses 2000 gallons of water due to the amount of feed that the cow needs. Which feels absolutely crazy and isn’t something we often consider in our daily lives! Simple changes such as the Meat Free Monday movement which challenges you to have ‘one plant-based day a week’ can make a huge difference. Plus by eating a more balanced diet you may find yourself generally healthier and maybe shedding a couple of pounds. Another thing to consider is London is renowned and jam-packed with awesome veggie and vegan restaurants so there’s lots of choices if you’re heading out somewhere. Why not try: the luxurious Pied à Terre for a michelin-star 8 to 10 course vegan tasting menu, or cosy community joint St Margaret’s House Gallery Cafe serving up vegan goodness and a banging looking ‘fish and chips’, or for some naughty vegan treats check out Vurger co. for absolutely delish vegan burgers and tempting loaded fries.
Get your water bottle filled!
Who doesn’t love a good water bottle and if you’re willing to invest a bit more, why not get a water filter (BRITA’s range from around £15-30 on Amazon) as well. This saves money on buying bottled water and also cuts back on waste – landfill sites are a huge problem so every item you don’t send to them is a 10/10 move for the environment. You can also get funky with it throwing cucumber, lemon, mint, strawberries in for a natural flavouring. Get yourself a juicy water cocktail going on!
Unplug unused appliances
Many appliances use a dribble of electricity when they are plugged in, even if they aren’t doing anything. By unplugging them when not in use, you not only save a little money on your electricity bill (putting more ££££ back into your pocket) but you can also help cut back on the demand for fossil fuel created power resources. Sounds like a quick winner to me!
Use those stairs
Using the stairs has a couple of benefits. Not only does it get that extra little bit of exercise into your routine, but it also saves on the energy needed to run the escalator or a lift. These take a lot of power to run and if people used them only when they needed to, this could save on electricity and therefore fossil fuel use. Plus if you use the stairs a lot, you could save on a gym membership! So challenge yourself the next time your on the underground to firstly find the stairs (not always easy!) and whizz up and down them.
Turn off the water while brushing teeth
Water waste is a big problem and one of the top causes of wasted water is when we brush our teeth. Who knew! So when you have used the water and are doing the brushing, turn off the tap. A easy one to add to your daily routine that makes a difference.
Switch to LED light bulbs
Conventional light bulbs waste around 95% of the power that they use. New LED light bulbs are a bit more pricey but they are also far more energy efficient. They also last much longer – some as much as 25 years depending on how much you use them. So don’t forget to switch off your lights when your not using them for an extra bonus!
Try to buy second hand
There are some things we need to buy new but there are others where a good second-hand option can be more cost-effective. One of the best examples has to be clothes and, in London, you are only a stone’s throw away from some of the HOTTEST thrift shops. So talking thrifts shops, we have to start with the beating heart Bethnal Green’s Beyond Retro.If you haven’t been, it’s an absolute must even if you don’t buy anything you are in for an experience. Now, if you’re looking for good value vintage then the East End Thrift Store is a must. Get on their mailing list for best offers and upcoming events too! Finally, how could I not mention Retromania? This shop is part of the FARA charity retail group and you can find some BIG designer names but they still come with designer price tags. Luckily, you can still find a bargain or two amongst the big names with tea dresses priced £15-25, a bargain basement and a sale rack outside too. So getting your vintage on is not only fashion 101 but also helps with living a sustainable life because you are saving something from going to the landfill site. You can also do the same when you are clearing out things – offer them to people on swap sites or Facebook groups rather than send them to the landfill.
These are just a few examples of ways you can live a more sustainable life and cut back on the resources that you use. If everyone put two into action, the difference on the planet would be huge. So which two could you start with?!