Just because we are in lock down at the moment, it doesn't mean we can't try to be somewhat sustainable about how we go about it. In fact, the world has definitely seen a lot of benefit by near enough every country just stopping and taking a breather. The pollution and greenhouse gasses have already fallen across the globe since the spread of the virus (1). As life has come to a halt, satellite images have shown that air quality in the UK (reduction of nitrogen dioxide) has started to improve as a result in the reduction of traffic up and down the country (2). But, if you're interested in something to do while you're at home, why not try some of these ways to help save the world.
1. Eat leftovers and save your scraps
Household food waste in the UK makes up 70% of the overall food waste generated in a year (3). SEVENTY PERCENT!!! That is mad! It is also a massive waste of your own money, £470 on average is spent on food that is then binned in an average family situation (4)!
But what can you do to prevent it? Learn to love your leftovers! It is fair to say everyone has forgotten about the perishables we have in our fridges/ cupboards, and over cook a few meals... making mounds of pasta for one person.
Since we are all at home for the foreseeable future, the appeal for longer lasting foods have sky-rocketed, which makes it an excellent time to love your leftovers. Perhaps think about which meals can freeze best if you don't want to have the same meal twice in a row, or just how to make foods last the longest they can. Find the best way to store things, for example beeswax wraps for bread can make it last a whole lot longer than it would have otherwise. We sell these beeswax wraps on our online store if you wish to grab some (contact free delivery of course). Or if the bread is stale, think of what you can turn it into. I have attached a link for 40 handy bread tips and what to do with stale bread. https://friendsoftheearth.uk/food/40-handy-bread-tips-and-what-do-stale-bread
Saving your veg scraps/ skins while cooking can be a great way to make vegetable stock and add flavours to your dishes. Check out this recipe on how to make your own! https://www.savorylotus.com/how-to-make-vegetable-broth/
If you have potato peels, has some herbs and spices and chuck them in the over to make your own crisps. Yum!!!!!!!!
2. Visit the zoo (virtually)
If you are a bit like me, seeing animals do cute or funny things definitely cheer me up and gives me a good laugh. With Zoos and Aquariums being closed to visitors, they are very much still open online to virtual visitors. If it is not already apparent, the animal carers at the zoos care very much for the well being of their animals, some have even gone into lock down in the zoos so that the animals can have the proper care. But, they have also allowed us to join in on the fun and still see these very animals.
Some zoos are letting some of their inhabitants roam free around the grounds to take advantage of this period and go explore, meet new friends (other animals) and have a bit of fun. Probably not the likes of lions and wild cats... but more of tortoises etc. A fair few are live streaming from some of their enclosures so we can still check in on our animal friends. Check out these links to zoos and aquariums around the UK who are doing live streams of the animals.
While you are online enjoying this virtual visit to the zoo, please consider donating a few pounds to help keep these guys going. Edinburgh zoo stated they spend £55,000 a month on food for the animals, which of course will be a lot harder now that they are closed. So please, if you can, consider donating, sponsoring an animal and joining as a member on these sites for some extra perks and help the animals. Every £ helps.
https://www.chesterzoo.org/ - Live enclosures, Connect with nature at home resources and teaching.
https://www.marwell.org.uk/zoo/keep-in-touch/webcams - live streams on the flamingos, lemurs, giraffes and penguins.
https://www.folly-farm.co.uk/webcams/barn-webcam/ - keep an eye on the goats and sheep as well as the new lambs in the barn.
3. Make something; produce bags, reusable bowl covers, sandwich bags
Making your own or DIY can be a fun way to pass time and even learn something new. Grab that sewing machine, needle and thread, knitting needles or even glue and get ready to do some DIY! Plastic bags and clingfilm are everywhere and have a lot of different uses, but there is a way to make it more environmentally friendly. Make your own produce bags for that fresh loose fruit and veg at the store (instead of using the plastic bags provided) and make some bowl covers instead of clingfilm! They are both really easy to make and Pinterest has plenty of tutorials for you to follow along to.
Just be careful not to use a heavy material if you are to use the produce bags in supermarkets as their scales don't have the 'Tare' function meaning you'll also pay for the weight of the bag. But if you are shopping in zero waste store (like Scrapless) or a market or something then this isn't a problem. Just be mindful about where you will use them when choosing the material. But if it is not a problem then even old clothes you no longer wear or old bed sheets will work like a charm.
4. Repair something
One way to help the planet, and save money, is to repair what you have rather than constantly buying new. Take care of what you have and fix it up. We have somehow steered away from buying things for life and repairing them when needed to. Manufacturers design their products now to be used a few times and then thrown away. That's why those £0.50 flip flops from Primark never last a week, or your IPhones battery lasts about a year.
You probably have a pair of jeans in the back of your cupboard that needs a new button sewn or has a rip in the crotch that needs mending. Now is the perfect time to break out the needle and thread or screwdriver/drill and get to fixing. No better time like the present, and I really mean that. The internet is there if you need help, and we have endless time so if you mess up it's not a problem. Give it another go.
And if you really can't figure out how to fix it, just keep hold of it for when everything gets back to normal and take it down to a local repair cafe. There is one in Burgess Hill at the Salvation Army and one in Horsham, both of which are on Facebook if you want to give them a follow and keep up to date with what they are doing.
Luckily, local takeaways are still up and running. Most in Burgess Hill are anyway, or have at least adapted to keep providing in this uncertain and weird time. It is great to support these local businesses at this time and I 100% support it. But it is pretty terrible for the environment. All that wasted plastic... very much a single-use plastic party. Perhaps have a search around to those that are using compostable packaging, or at the very least recyclable plastics. Request that your food be delivered without the cutlery, napkins and bags if possible. It may not be possible which is absolutely fair enough. But if you don't ask, you don't get and in this case, it is for the sake of the environment.
6. RE:Use and Re:Make
You are stuck inside so why not channel your inner DIY Queen/King and figure out how to reuse some of your stuff. Maybe you can reuse (clean) milk cartons into elephants or different art projects. Turn old table cloth/cover things into new bunting. Or see above and make produce bags/ bowl covers out of old clothes/ materials. Or, if you really want, grab those power tools and scrap wood and turn it into something.
DIY is fab for taking your mind off of everything going on and a great way to spend all this extra time we all seem to have now.
Pinterest is your best friend for this so check it out!
7. Buy recycled toilet paper
It seems that toilet paper is all the rage right now and seems to be sold out EVERYWHERE! The average person uses 100 rolls of toilet paper every year, that is 384 TREES in ones lifetime (5). Times that by the global population... that is a lot of trees being cut down. Thankfully, recycled toilet paper exists. and no, it is not as gross as it may sound.
Why not check out the recycled toilet paper next time you're buying... It will help with the above facts and if you go with the likes of Who Gives a Crap, 50% of their profits go to building toilets around the world which is fab and you get a big ol' box full which will last you a while. Once Scrapless is open we will be stocking recycled or bamboo toilet paper, all without the plastic and packaging.
8. Learn something
I have seen a lot of people using this time to better themselves, whether that be through trying a new form of exercise, meditating , finding new hobbies or learning something new. Why not binge-watch Blue Planet and BP II, read some Nat Geo articles or find an interesting Ted Talk. All are free to do and gives you the opportunity to learn more about this incredible planet we live on. Dive deep into a topic you are interested in and learn those fun and unusual facts you can tell your friends once we are out and about again. It is a great distraction and a great way to get inspired. Who knows, it may lead you somewhere great.
Stay Safe, Stay Home, Stay Scrapless x