Written and illustrated by Deborah Anderson
If being more sustainable was one of your New Year’s resolutions and you’re struggling already then we’re here to help! “Sustainability” has become such a general term that it’s hard to know where to begin. This week’s blog post gives you clear and useful tips on how to be kinder to the planet across different aspects of life. Some tips are easier than others but to start off with, just pick the ones that fit most easily into your life. Even making the smallest efforts will make a difference and as The Zero Waste chef Anne Marie Bonneau said, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
- Buy from sustainable brands – Do research to find brands specialising in organic or clothing made from natural fibres. Remember to look out for brands that pay their employees/garment workers fairly – sustainability isn’t just environmental! Sustainable brands do tend to be more expensive (for good reason) so if you have a bigger budget then perfect! (Note: Be careful not to fall victim to greenwashing – where a brand promotes and describes their products as more environmentally-friendly than they actually are in order to make sales. Many fast fashion brands with “eco-friendly” ranges do this. Read our blog post to spot the signs of greenwashing here!
- Shop second-hand - If you don’t have a big budget to spend, then shopping second-hand is the best way to go. Look on eBay, Etsy, depop for some amazing bargains on vintage and second-hand clothing! When lockdown is over, pop into your local charity shops and see what goodies they have in store for you! You’ll get the guilt-free shopping buzz as well as giving money to wonderful causes. Until they re-open, some charities have online shops such as Oxfam Online so go take a look!
- Rent! – If you know that you only wear an outfit about once before getting rid of it then consider renting your clothes! Here at One Wear Freedom, we have so many styles to choose from. Whether you want to get all dressed up or lounge around while still looking amazing, we’ve got you covered. You can check out our rental collection here!
- Buy only what you need – If you can’t bear to break up with fast-fashion just yet then only buy what you need/definitely want as most returned items end up in landfill or are incinerated. Wherever you buy your clothes from – love them! Look after them and they will last for a long time.
- When you’ve fallen out of love with that dress or that hat – don’t just chuck it in the bin! There are loads of up-cycling services starting up, including Reture. You can pick a designer to consult with, send them your unloved garment and they will transform it into the garm of your dreams! If you’re not up for second chances then you can donate your unwanted items to a charity shop, sell them online or give them to us! In return, you’ll get points to spend on gorgeous One Wear Freedom rental pieces! You can find more details here.
- Meet-free Mondays – By reducing your meat intake (especially beef), you’ll be helping to reduce the damaging rate of climate change. There are so many delicious veggie and vegan options available in supermarkets and since food shopping is one of the only things to get excited about at the moment, we might as well try it!
- Don’t waste food! – Only cook/buy what you know you will eat. Meal planning is a good way of reducing food waste as well as looking after future you! Freeze any leftovers or extra portions for another day.
- Don’t bin your unwanted leftovers – If you have to throw away any leftovers or organic waste, start composting or make use of your council’s food waste collection service if you have one. When we throw our food in our household bin, it goes to landfill, breaks down and releases methane, the harmful gas contributing most to climate change.
- Take a tote with you – If you know you’re going shopping, take tote bags or reusable bags with you. Keeping one in your handbag all the time is a great way of making sure that you’re always prepared!
- Cut down on plastic packaging – Take your own bag and buy your fruit and veg loose from the supermarkets or green grocers. If there’s no plastic-free option for the thing you want to buy, consider if you can make it yourself. For example, falafel often comes in plastic packaging that can be hard to recycle BUT it’s super easy to make and a lot of the ingredients come in non-plastic packaging that’s easier to recycle. When, you’re clothes shopping in-store, say no to plastic hangers (unless you’re going to use them at home!)
- Check packaging – Most packaging labels will give some instruction on if and how it can be recycled – a quick check is all it takes!
- Clue up - Get info on what can and can’t be recycled in your area. Unfortunately, UK recycling isn’t standardised and each council does it differently. You can check what’s allowed on the Recycle Now website. Also, clue up on the different types of plastic as some can’t be recycled and over time you’ll be able to easily identify which ones can.
- Get into the habit of washing your recyclables – Doing this means that your recyclables are in the best form to be recycled and they can’t contaminate other recyclables.
- Go the extra mile - If your council can’t collect a certain type of packaging, do some research to see if there are any specialised recycling points near you. For example, bread bags can be recycled at most supermarkets and Pringles are trialling out a recycling system for their cans at specific branches of Tesco.
- Can any of your unwanted items be reused or reworn? Think about how you can reuse packaging. e.g. empty jam jars can be used as Tupperware or to put plants in. Instead of chucking old clothes in the bin, they can be swapped with friends or if they are a bit worse for wear then get creative – upcycle them! Old t-shirts can be woven into cool rugs or tapestries. Old (washed) socks can be used as stuffing when making cushions or decorations – as long as you’re saving something from landfill, the world is your oyster on this one! Pinterest has some great upcycling ideas. If it doesn’t sound like your thing then simply pop your worse-for-wear items in a bag labelled ‘rags’ and give to a charity shop.
- Swap out your disposable items with re-usable ones! Make-up wipes, cotton buds and period products are all things that we use and throw away everyday but they don’t have to be disposable. There are loads of re-usable options out there. Some can seem expensive but if you think how much you’ve ever spent on the disposable versions, you’re probably saving money in the long run (as well as the environment)!
Becoming more sustainably-minded is so important. If we’re planning on staying on this Earth, we need to make sure we look after it! That’s why adding even just a few of these pointers into our daily lives will make a huge difference. The more you do it, the more you’ll feel confident in making environmentally-friendly choices as well as talking about sustainability to your friends. We want you to know your ‘biodegradable’ from your ‘compostable - that’s why we’ve put together an A-Z of terms so you can get clued up for the test next week! Just kidding about the test but we are going to be hosting ‘Building A Green 2021 + Beyond’, a panel where experts and activists will be discussing all things sustainability across varying industries – from farming to weddings to online marketplaces! It will be held on Zoom and Facebook Live on the 3rd Feb at 6pm. Tickets will be free but you’ll have to book on Eventbrite - link coming soon so keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram! We’re so excited to see you there, green queens!