Back at it again with another one of these posts! I had some remaining points in my original documents about clothes recycling but I also uncovered a very, very old video outline involving creative ways to be better to the environment! So, here we all go!
- Old and damaged DVDs or CDs are actually really useful for turning into a DIY mobile to hang around vegetable gardens. They’re great at attracting bigger birds that will scare smaller birds away, leaving more critters in your soil to keep your veggies healthy!
- Linked to above, any discs you no longer use then means you have a box free. I think they’re recyclable, but you can also use them as back ups in case you break another box, or you’re feeling retro and are burning things onto discs and need something to keep it in.
- If you’re an avid gardener, reusing plant pots in a must. You also need to try and cover the holes in the bottom with something that will still let the water out… how about a little bit of cardboard or paper you were throwing out anyway? This also makes it easier to plant into the ground when they’re ready.
- I don’t see too many people doing this anymore, but instead of buying wrapping paper (which can often not be eco-friendly) use newspapers or magazines as makeshift wrapping paper for presents. You can customize it further with your own drawings! Last Christmas, we got rid of wrapping paper entirely and just used pillow cases! We all have pillow cases we can use!
- If you have any fruit trees and live near a wooded area, any of the old and half eaten fruit would be good to gather and throw out into the trees. You’ll feed the animals too shy to come out, save yourself from gross rotting fruit that also attracts wasps, and possibly help fertilize or grow some new trees. (we all know we could do with some more trees about…)
- This one is for people with plants: drinking water is super important for people in general, but if you or any guests don’t finish their glass or bottle (tsk tsk) use that to water your plants. Helps save a little on your water bill. If it’s easier, collect it in a watering can first and water all your plants in one go. If you have outdoor space, maybe see if you can get a rain collector, perfect for watering plants.
- I know bottles are hugely controversial, but I’m aware many people still buy plastic bottles. Water or fizzy drinks, if you do buy some and like to grow your own plants (or are dreamily thinking about starting) I’ve heard they’re good to use for growing plants outside. They can be like mini-greenhouses keeping the warmth and moisture in, but also great for fending off little buggers like squirrels, they’ve murdered many of my oak tree saplings in the past.
- any really old ratty clothes, reuse into cleaning cloths or take to local clothes recycling bin. Some people also used them as make-up removal cloths too, this is something i have been thinking of doing.
- You can also turn ratty clothing items into dog toys! Perfect for Christmas or Birthday presents for pets, I’m sure you can adapt them into something suitable for cats too.
- give on or sell on good quality clothes you no longer wear or want, I use Depop, Vinted and Facebook Marketplace. More tips on this, check out my blog post here.
- customise clothes you no longer love, make it into something you will wear again
- ‘vegan’ shoes aren’t as great as they are marketed to be. Mainstream vegan shoes are purely just plastic. If you really feel you cannot wear animal products as clothing, look into a more natural vegan clothing/shoe brand because animal product clothing is actually better for the environment over all. Just depends on which side you stand on with this issue. (vegan leather, polyester, faux fur are all plastic) leather boots will also last years if you take care of them, whereas plastic boots will last maybe a year.
- Take things you don’t want to the charity shop (check where the money goes and the charity’s beliefs before donating, like I personally wouldn’t donate to a charity that has been vocally anti-LGBT like the Salvation army) or to some kind of local jumble sale to raise money for your area. You can do the same with non-clothing items as charity shops and jumbles have many items up for sale.
- You can also look for specific charities to donate your items to. I’ve been donating a lot of clothes and spare hygiene products to a local homelessness charity. I’ve also read there are a few charities that you can donate things like make-up to for victims of domestic violence or to women’s shelters. It’s mostly shopping around to see what cause you’d like to help with your spare things. A lot of them will also let you know what they are in need of if you’re not too sure. If you’re looking to fundraise, lots of charities accept printer ink cartridges or used stamps!
Besides all this, if you have some money you’re looking to donate or invest into something that will help the environment maybe have a look into kickstarters by people inventing really cool self-sufficient technology to help clean up our planet. Or even write a letter to your local MP about wanting them to make more of a difference and list some suggestions. Even organising a group of people to go litter picking can be helpful.
Anyway, that’s is from me. I’ll continue to post these and I’ll eventually get to a more detailed one on how we can put the pressure on our government and big corporations to start making a change.
Check out part one to this post here.
Check out these organisations for all things ethical clothing!
The Better Cotton Initiative
Labour Behind The Label
The Clean Clothes Campaign
Black on Black
Climate in Colour
So, this is a list post with some ideas of what we all can try to do to help the environment within out own houses.
DISCLAIMER: I have a lot to say about the recent news that came out about global warming becoming irreversible in the next 12 years and how this is completely on the 100 companies who contribute over 70% of pollution and I will eventually write about this somewhere or somehow. But todays post is just for people who want to improve upon their own personal impact on the environment.
(I’d appreciate it if people didn’t get aggressive in my comments about this, because I am aware and am gathering research to write a useful post regarding the 100 companies, so please just enjoy this for what it is)
Ways to start helping the environment
- buy less meat, milk, cheese, and butter. Buy more locally sourced seasonal food. Throw less away (eat your left overs another day or meal prep) or start compost.
- Drive electric cars, walk or cycle.
- Public transport over driving. Trains, trams, busses, coaches. Try to take these over planes as well if you can.
- Use video conferencing over traveling long distances for meetings. (becoming more popular now, let’s hope it stays that way)
- Use a washing line or hanger over a dryer. Maybe even hand-wash some items over using a washing machine, or use a lower heat.
- Insulate your homes.
- Solar panelling. It will also save you money in the long run.
- Reusable water bottles, try to avoid plastics particularly ones you aren’t capable of recycling. (Found out recently there is an app called ‘Refill App’ which shows you where you can refill your water bottle around the UK)
- The ‘Refill App’ is quite new so there are not many taps everywhere, but if you’re looking for a project, I think it is possible to set up a tap in your local area and put it on the map! Look into it!
- Reusable canvas bags (again, avoiding purchasing plastic and buying something that is strong enough for all kinds of carrying uses, easier to fix if they do break!)
- Reusable straws, best to try and buy from a small, and eco-conscious business than amazon. Amazon is literally killing the planet. Straws come in a range of styles, materials, and sizes so shop around.
- Using cloth instead of paper towels (particularly for kitchens or bathrooms within domestic housing)
- Reusable coffee cups (most cafes now give you a discount for bringing your own cup so you’ll also save money in the long run)
- Plant trees. Even just one in a pot in your garden. They take a long time to grow so by the time it is big enough, you can find a more permanent spot for it. Maybe see if there are local schemes that will take the tree. Maybe work with a school.
- Growing your own produce, anything you can. It’s understandable you may not be able to have a full garden due to housing or work life, so have a google to see what plants you could easily take care of that could add to your cooking. Lots of people have small herb gardens as a start that are easier for small housing situations.
- If you buy any cans that are linked together, make sure you at least cut up the plastic holder so that it doesn’t entrap and kill sea animals or birds.
- Reuse scrap paper for writing notes, i.e. shopping lists, before you then recycle the paper. You can also put scrap paper in compost heaps if you have one. (Recycling in the UK is very hit or miss and they may not accept all kinds of paper but you can put any of them in the compost)
- Turn as many letters into email subscriptions (bank statements and bills are the main ones)
- Unplug electronics when you’re not using or charging them
- Where you can, if you have extra food, create new meals for yourself (and anyone in your household) or if it’s possible, give your leftovers to someone not as well off as you. There is a lot of food waste in the world that could be feeding poor and starving families, or people on the street. If you know anyone struggling and you have some food spare, give it to them or search for your local food bank. I recommend looking into Sean Roy Parker who is part of the Brixton Pound Cafe, the only pay-what-you-can cafe using surplus food!
- Self check-out and supermarket check-outs now give you the option of printing your receipt, maybe choose to not, or some clothing shops only do email receipts now.
- Reusable food storage. Good quality Tupperware, jars are good for holding all kinds of food items, thermos for hot food or drink on the go. Splashing out for some quality items can lead to savings overall, invest in something you will continue to use and enjoy. Lots of people have been buying bamboo knives/forks/spoons for their lunches but… you already have cutlery at home, just use that?
- Going to a library and signing up. It’s better if you prefer reading from a physical book because any books you read can then be read by others, it’s also much cheaper. Sometimes libraries have to get rid of some of their stock so you might even be able to pick up some books for keeps for free or cheap. Some libraries have tonnes of online resources that can be really helpful for work or learning something new, and tend to have magazine subscriptions. Save tonnes of money and trees!
- Replace paper napkins with cloth ones (Christmas etc.)
- take empty printer ink cartridges and dud batteries to local specialised bins. (these are at super markets most of the time but also some charities accept ink cartridges for raising funds too)
I hope my list has helped someone think of something new to try. These aren’t for everyone and you don’t HAVE to do any or all of these. My aim was just to inspire and open up possibilities for people who want to be more proactive.
Leave any of your tips in the comments below, I’d love to read them!!