Sustainable Living

12 Quick Sustainable Wins for the New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

How was your Christmas?
And how are you feeling about the prospect of a whole new shiny year ahead?

I’m excited to be gearing up for A Make Do and Mend Year and helping to support and resource as many people as possible to make smalls changes so that they live more sustainably.
But before we dive into that, here are 12 ‘quick wins’ that you can implement ASAP to get your sustainable 2018 started with a bang!


1) Making Do
Pick an area you want to focus on – it could be food, or clothes, or maybe even your craft stash.
Do a quick inventory to take stock, and then set yourself a challenge of how long you can ‘make do’ and not shop for – you could aim for a month of only shopping for fruit/veg/milk, or how about year without buying any new clothes (I did this in 2016 and it was a real eye-opener!)

2) Food
Do a stock take of your cupboards and fridge, and put together a meal plan for the week. Think about how you can use up any leftovers, or cook cannily – for example if I’m making a white sauce, I will always make double and then use it again later on in the week.

3) Family
If you have school aged children, then you will undoubtedly face the challenge of birthday parties and what to take as a gift.
This is my ultimate quick win:
Take a 100g bar of fair-trade chocolate and melt, then use a teaspoon to dollop chocolate onto a baking sheet and smoosh it out into giant chocolate buttons. Add sprinkles to the top and leave to set, then package up in a cleaned out jam jar (there might even be some spare, for testing purposes, obvs…!)

4) Clothes/Fashion
Set aside some time to go through your wardrobe. Make 3 piles: one of the keepers, the things you love and wear again and again; one of anything that no longer fits or that you no longer like (to go to the charity shop); and one of anything that needs mending and repairing.
Look at what you have and think about how you can mix and match different combinations to give you ‘new’ outfits.

5) Mending and Repair
Get a box and put in it all those things that are scattered around the house that need mending.
Then tackle just one – you will be amazed how little time it takes you and will wonder why you put it off for so long!

6) Home
Could you swap your energy supplier for a renewable tariff?
It always feels like a very intimidating thing to do, but is actually a really smooth process (in my experience) and is one thing you can do that really will make a huge difference to your carbon footprint, all in less than half an hour!
Check out Ecotricity or Good Energy if you’re in the UK.

7) Plastic-free
The big three single use plastic bad guys are plastic bags, plastic bottles, and straws.
And they are so easily combatted!
Make sure you have your re-usable bags, your re-usable bottles, and either just ditch the straws, or check out some of the alternatives (you can get bamboo, stainless steel and even glass straws)

8) Travel and transport
Have a car free day – take public transport, bike or walk.
Could you commit to one car free day a week?

9) Zero-Waste
Take a peek in your bin – what makes up most of it’s contents?
Is it food waste? Is it plastic?
What ONE thing could you do to start to make progress on it?

10) Body and Soul
Ditch the body moisturiser, the night time cream, the day time cream, the aftershave balm (all in plastic bottles) for one magic solution – coconut oil!
But be aware, not all coconut oils are created equal, and some really aren’t especially stainable – I use this one from Lucy Bee. 

11) Celebrations
With Christmas just gone, it might feel a little strange to be gearing up for it again already, but don’t ditch those Christmas cards – cut them up and make them into gift tags or cards ready for next year. Just think how smug you’ll feel next year when you pull them out all ready to go!

12) Community
How and where can you find the support that you need to keep you motivated and to keep you going?
Lots of you will already be in my big A Make Do and Mend Life FB group which is a brilliant resource and a great place to connect with like-minded people.
For anyone who would love a bit of extra support and all the resources they need in one place, my new membership community, A Make Do and Mend Year, might be what you’ve been looking for.

Phew! That turned into a bit of an epic blog post – don’t feel overwhelmed and try to do ALL the things today!
Pick ONE thing to do today, and schedule in the others over the next few weeks. The key is to chunk it all down and keep taking baby steps forwards.


PS. I’m holding my first ever webinar on the 5th January at 12.30pm (GMT) all about how to “Make 2018 your most sustainable year yet” – it’s totally free and I’d love you to join me! (If you can’t make the date/time, do register anyway and I will be sending out the replay as soon as it’s available).
You can register here.

PPS. Have you got your mitts on my  “A Make Do and Mend Year” Planner – it’s a free resource I’ve put together to help you think about, plan and take action on, the things that you want to change in 2018.

 

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