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50 simple ways to build your life greener

Expert tips on how to be kinder to the planet from cooking and cleaning to mode and finance

Clean up your kitchen

Love your leftovers
Look at what essentials you’re binning.” Chefs talk about what to do with carrot crowns or whey from cheese, but that’s not where we need to make changes ,” says Feast food novelist Anna Jones.” It’s the milk ran down the submerge and stale dough- its consideration of this agenda item we don’t made as much value on .” Jones rips up bread to freeze for instant croutons, or whizzes it into breadcrumbs for adding to croustades, pastas and salads. If oats have ever stimulated into porridge, follow Claire Thomson, chef and author of The ArtOf The Larder( Quadrille, PS25 ), and substitutefor some of the flour and liquid in food dough.

Treat ” food waste ” as ingredients, says Ollie Hunter, chef and author of 30 Easy WaysTo JoinThe Food Revolution( Pavilion, PS14. 99 ).” It’s easy to turn it into something else; aquafaba( chickpea water) can be made into a vegan mayonnaise; fry squash seeds in oil and disperse with salt for a snack; gash courgette stalks into penne influences and concoct like pasta. You got to find creative ways to use everything up; consuming nutrient is down to a lack of imagination .”

Use tech for good
Apps are taking the fight to food waste. Olio connects neighbours and neighbourhood retailers so surplus nutrient can be shared; Too Good To Go enables coffeehouses and restaurants to sell uneaten snacks at reduced rates; while Farmdrop connects you with sustainable local farmers. To recycle kitchen scraps, find neighbours with a compost bin( or chickens) at sharewaste.com.


Shop little and often
A lot of debris comes from doing large-hearted shops, putting two-for-one ” bargains” in the trolley and buying on echo rather than planning banquets.” I’m always clear about what we will eat at home and when ,” says Skye Gyngell, chef and founder of Spring in London, which extends a” scratching menu” employing squander. She browses little and often, supported by a accumulation cupboard of wholegrains, olive oil, vinegars and mustards to bolster meals.” Working out what various kinds of cook “youre gonna” is also useful ,” says Jones,” then change engineer how you browse. There is no point do a weekly shop if you like to decide what you’re going to make for dinner at 6pm, like me. I patronize in small increments, and I find I waste less this way, extremely .”


Buy half your food locally
The shorter the food chain, the less waste created before it contacts your kitchen. Hunter subscribes to buying 50% of nutrient originate within 30 miles of where you live.” It’s an achievable person ,” he says, specially when producers, such as
Hodmedod’s in Suffolk, are reviving homegrown pulsates including British lentils, quinoa, carlin peas and fava beans( which Hunter ferments be transformed into miso and soy sauce ). The nutritional evaluate of fruit and veg lasts for only a short period of time, lends Gyngell, so how far your meat has jaunted matters.

Pick your own
” Foraging solves many problems ,” Hunter says.” You’re getting into the countryside, participating with nature and the community, and determine meat that has a different flavour .” Start with herbs, grass, berries, wild garlic and, a favourite of Hunter’s, nettles (” They’re so underrated “). Use to garnish pies, in risottos and soups; wear gloves to avoid bites and cleanse exhaustively in salted water. Ensure foraged parts are identifiable before eating- check woodlandtrust.org or wildfooduk.com.

Switch your flours
Crops can’t be grown every year in the same soil without ousting nutrients taken by the floras, and switching the flour you use can help.” Spelt or wheat is often grown in rotation with rye and clover to supersede lost nitrogen ,” says Hunter.” Eating rye supports the farmers’ rotation; I use spelt and emmer flour as an alternative to wheat because they have similar baking owneds, while being beneficial to the soil .”

Befriend a killer
” There is no around it, chewing flesh sustainably requires a little more effort on our proportion ,” says Fergus Henderson, chef and godfather of nose-to-tail eating. His firstly pattern is to ” hug” your killer:” Support them and ask questions- they are your way in to a positive afford series. They will too give you access to the insides and members, such as kidneys, shanks, feet and glands, which offer so much more possibility and flavour than the fillet .” Whole-animal eating is not about blood and guts, but” regarding the animal enough to realise that, if it has died for you, the least you can do is make use of every side “.

Compost on the go
Compost isn’t just for the plot- think about reducing your food waste when you’re on the go, very, says Lindsay Miles, whose book Less Waste, No Fuss Kitchen: Simple Steps To Shop, Cook And Eat Sustainably( Hardie Grant, PS12. 99) is out in June.” A reusable coffee cup makes a great impromptu container for your lunch scraps- take apple cores or bread layers residence to compost .”

Plan ahead
Make the most of seasonal gluts and continue veggies in lubricants, vinegars, chutneys, ketchup and marinades, or freeze them.” Blitz and freeze tomatoes in containers for passata all year round; do kimchi from cauliflower stems and buds; call beetroot in jams, vinegars and lubricant, then chop husks and leaves to surface pastas, pizzas, curries and dal ,” says Hunter.

Minimise parcel
Look for liberate fruit and vegetables, and take your own receptacles to shops and groceries.” If you are buying boxed food ,” says Miles,” look at where the produce comes from and try to choose the more neighbourhood option- oat milk from Scotland will have a lower carbon footprint than almond milk from California, even if they have the same packaging .” The most recyclable plastics are PET, are available in sips bottles and return punnets, and HDPE, in milk bottles and cereal box liners; so if you can’t escape it, go for these, then reuse or recycle what you can.

All light-green on the dwelling front


Reduce your rinse
Erin Rhoads’
Waste Not Everyday( Hardie Grant Books, PS10) points out that” the majority of the environmental burden caused by fashion happens after we take the clothing home: 82% of the force a clothe will use is in the washing and drying we do each week “. Rhoads advocates spot-cleaning, and neutralising flavors with a spritz of diluted vodka or lemon juice.

Clean with castile
By making cleanse products( from polish to cleanser) you can reduce the amount of plastic enrolling your dwelling and high levels of harmful VOCs( volatile organic combinations ), such as formaldehyde, that are liberated.” Of all the dark-green cleaning parts I use, liquid castile soap is by far my favourite ,” writes Jen Chillingsworth in Clean Green( Quadrille, PS7. 55 ).” Originating from Spain, castile soap was traditionally drawn with pure olive oil, but is now more commonly produced by mixing vegetable oils such as hemp, avocado, jojoba and coconut .” For a simple, multipurpose kitchen spray, add 50 ml of castile soap to 800 ml tap water in a spraying bottle. Add a few drops of crucial lubricants( tea tree is antibacterial ). Spray and mop with a clean cloth.


Go for plastic -free personal upkeep
There is a world of waste-free sanitary protection to explore, and Chillingsworth proposes buying a
reusable tampon applicator.” The reusable version fits every sizing of tampon, is antimicrobial and easy to insert. After use, give it a wipe, clean and return to the storage box that are appropriate in your handbag. Sterilise in hot water between points .”

Recycle as much as you can
” Most major supermarkets provision plastic recycling accumulation degrees in store for stretchy plastic( such as frozen food crates, carrier bags and bread crates) which is generally can’t be recycled from home ,” says Helen Bird, plastics expert at authority garbage advisory body Wrap.

TerraCycle rescues hard-to-recycle waste that is not processed by councils. It has free national recycling programs and likewise sells zero-waste cartons, which you can fill with the majority non-hazardous , non-recyclable and non-organic waste, and return for recycling. Search its website for a scheme near you, or set one up.

Look after your electrical appliances
The Restart Project is a social firm that aims to fix our relationship with electricals and electronics. Cofounder Janet Gunter says the first step in keeping household appliances for longer is regular cleanup.” By simply scavenging and maintaining your white goods, laptop or mobile, you are able to prolong their own lives .” Restart operates a nationwide system of skill-sharing workshops as well as promoting a directory of commercial repair alternatives in London.( See also repaircafe.org for happens in your locality .)” If we don’t have access to spare parts ,” says Gunter,” these appliances will be thrown away, which has a huge carbon impact .”

If your electrical gadget really is beyond repair, Rhoads indicates you” call the manufacturer or company of purchase to see if they will take back components or packing for reuse or recycling “. Not all benevolence patronizes consent electrical parts, but the homelessness charity Emmaus abides running components. These are researched before being resold, which clears it a good place to purchase secondhand electrical goods, too.


Create clean breeze
” You can never have enough house floras ,” says Oliver Heath, who runs a sustainable building practice. Certain floras are best for certain chambers:” Mother-in-law’s tongue gives off oxygen at night, which attains it best suited to the bedroom .” According to Chillingsworth, serenity lilies and boston ferns prosper in areas with high humidity and can reduce the mould spores in the air, acquiring them model for bathrooms; bawling figs ought to have found to be the best plant for removing formaldehyde liberated from carpets and furniture, moving them good for living areas.

Change your shower head
” Investing in an aerated shower foreman will make a significant difference to intensity and water intake ,” says Brian Horne at the Energy Saving Trust( EST ). They inject air into the water stream, limiting irrigate practice.” A water-efficient shower head could save a four-person household PS7 0 a year on gas for ocean heating, and a further PS1 15 on water invoices if they have a meter ,” says Horne.

Opt for dark-green force suppliers
There are” shades of dark-green” when it comes to choosing an energy supplier, says Horne. The EST determined four suppliers who clearly listed the renewable sources of their force on their websites last year: Green Energy UK, Good Energy, Ecotricity and Octopus Energy.” But simply because you’re on a green tariff, it doesn’t mean you should stop worrying about how much force “youre using” ,” says Horne.

Practise eco-driving
Research by the RAC Foundation has found that eco-driving leads to safer, cleaner and more affordable travels. Regular vehicle upkeep improves ga efficiency by as much as 10%. Before a long journey, check tyre influences( tyres underinflated by a quarter can cause a 2% increase in fuel consumption ), remove unused roof racks and chests, and don’t overload the car( every additional 45 kg increases fuel economy by 2 %). At less than 40 mph, it’s more fuel-efficient to open a window than application air conditioner. Turn off machines for waits of more than one minute( 5-8% of fuel is devouredwhile idling ), and shunned sharp-witted acceleration and heavy braking: aggressive driving can greatly raise ga consumption.

Draught-proof your dwelling
One of the cheapest, most effective ways to save energy and money at home is to draught-proof windows, entrances, letterbox, fireplaces and loft hatches, says Dr Sarah Price, head of building physic at Enhabit, a consultancy specialising in low-energy design. Done professionally, it expenses about PS200, or do it yourself with commodities such as Gap Seal.


Buy vintage furniture
” Reusing furniture is the best thing to do, and so much more fun than buying brand-new ,” says Nicola Harding, founder of interior design studio
Harding and Read.” Secondhand pieces come with interesting tales and force you to think creatively, and give you have something far more unique .” To hinder mileage down, start at your neighbourhood auction houses and charity stores( the British Heart Foundation has dedicated dwelling accumulates and a free collection service ), will be monitored by a targeted trawl through Freecycle and Facebook Marketplace.

Optimise your white goods
According to independent vigour likenes assistance U Switch, the cost of running your fridge and freezer is equal to about 7% of your total power invoice( they are one of the few household energy designs that are on all the time ). U Switch recommends replacing your fridge and/ or freezer if it is over 10 years old. Even if it’s working, the cost of a brand-new example will be made up for in energy savings over the years. Keep your fridge at 5C or less( most are remain at about 7C, which intends meat will go off sooner) and ensure there is a 10 cm chink behind your fridge to let heat flow away easily. Make sure the seal is strong- if it can’t grip a piece of paper when closed, it could be letting in warm breath, shaping it work harder.

Let the garden-variety grow

Photographer: Aaron Tilley. Set design: Rhea Thierstein, aided by Isabelle Dodd


Buy local buds- or flourish your own
About 90% of the flowers sold through UK florists, supermarkets and wholesalers
are imported, principally from the Netherlands, but they are also flown in from countries as far away as Ecuador, Colombia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Reduce your floral air miles and find a neighbourhood supplier through flowersfromthefarm.co.uk, a co-operative of small independent flower growers.

Alternatively, develop your own flowers to bring indoors. Gardener Sarah Raven intimates going for” annuals who the hell is cut and come again: picking above a duo of needles and the flora will spring back and make more blooms- and keep on doing so as long as you impede picking “. Sow cosmos, snapdragons, zinnias and rudbeckias on a sunny window ledge in March, bowl on and flower out after the last frosts.


Encourage bees
Honeybees visit only one type of flower in any one foraging trip, says Sarah Wyndham Lewis, columnist of
PlantingFor Honeybees: The Grower’s Guide To Creating A Buzz.” This is called’ bud accuracy’ and is what reaches them such effective pollinators. So flower huge clumps or’ impetus’ of single species and optimise each of the bees’ errands .” Think swathes of catmint, province scabious and hyssop.” March to September are the key months for honeybees- they will fly whenever the temperature is above 10 C, even in wintertime, so early- and late-flowering weeds are specially valuable ,” she says.

Spend less, prop agate more
Your own story is the best garden centre there is: collect seed, learn to take shortens and partition weeds to inventory your own backup nursery. Gaps can then be filled with home-propagated stock flowers. Increase what does well in your plot to build a healthy community of floras. If you do go shopping, investigate a plant’s natural habitat to reduce disappointments.

Lock up carbon
In The Garden Jungle, Or Gardening To Save The Planet( out in paperback 2 April, Vintage, PS9. 99 ), Dave Goulson explains that although many gardeners don’t have area for big trees,” The basic convention is that the more vegetation “youve had”, the more carbon you are storing .” So the fuller the implant in your garden, the very best, even though it is verges on overgrown. Don’t be too tidy, either.” Log slews also lock up carbon for as long as it takes them to disintegrate, which can be many years .”


Let the grass originate
Letting your grass proliferate longer between gashes not only saves petrol or electricity, and therefore reduces carbon dioxide emissions emissions, but also fosters more wildlife into your garden-variety. Longer grass is more drought-resistant, more. Try cutting every three or four weeks and let dandelions, daisies and violets bloom in springtime, will be monitored by buttercups, clovers and selfheal in summer.

Encourage hedgehogs
Hedgehogs have a voracious craving for pests such as caterpillars, slugs and snails. They need easy access in and out of gardens, say Helen Bostock and Sophie Collins, columnists of
How Can I Help Hedgehogs?( Octopus, PS14. 99 ). They recommend that neighbours get together to arrange hedgehog holes between gardens.” This is simply a puncture cut into the bottom of a barrier- it should be around 13 cm high-pitched and at least as wide, preferably in a sheltered corner .”

Reboot your wardrobe

Set a forbid
If a year without buying anything brand-new seems too big a challenge, try a few months, or buy exclusively secondhand. Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age, follows the” 30 wears ruler “: ask,” Will I wear it at least 30 experiences ?” before buying.

Find a secondhand that works for you
Opting for vintage or secondhand is one of the easiest ways to shop sustainably, but while some devotees will extol the virtues of rifling through monstrous depots, this approach is not for everyone. Thankfully, there are other styles. Smaller accumulations with a curated assortment may not offer fairly the same agreements as a car boot marketing, but they can be less intimidating. Many, such as Paper Dress Vintage or Cow, also have websites.


Shop in person- and alone
That said, patronize in person- specially if you walk there- is usually greener than online. Clothes shipped across the world have a significant carbon footprint, and often come are available in plastic. You are also less likely to return things you have tried on.

It can help to ditch your best friend.” When you ask a friend if you should buy something, you already know the answer will be yes ,” writes Lauren Bravo in How To Break Up With Fast Fashion( Headline, PS12. 99 ).” It’s an unwritten rule of sisterhood .” Think of it as the brand-new form of not departing supermarket patronizing when you’re hungry.


Choose information wisely
Some cloths age better than others; the Guardian’s styling editor, Melanie Wilkinson, recommends looking for leather when patronizing secondhand. Leather jackets, shoes and loops last-place for years and often appear and feel better formerly they have been worn in. The environmental impact of denim- another sturdy fabric- symbolizes jeans are too best buy secondhand.

Unsubscribe and unfollow
” If someone wants to quit fast pattern, I recommend unsubscribing from all the emails ,” says columnist and fad consultant Aja Barber.” A brand that is constantly introducing brand-new produces might be sustainable in name exclusively. Sending emails and pressuring consumers to buy, buy, buy is not sustainability- that’s fast manner .” The same runs for influencers and labels on social stages such as Instagram. Deleting fast-fashion shopping apps is helpful, too.

Get swishing
Clothes barters- known as swishing- are one of the greenest ways to refresh your wardrobe. They volunteer recognitions based on the value of the items you bring, which can be swapped for items brought by others. Avoid trends and hunt for quality portions you’ll wear for years. Find one near you at

Learn to mend


Make your robes fit
Layla Sargent, founder of
The Seam, an internet site to connect you with local tailors, seamstress and sewing artists, says:” If it doesn’t fit well, you’re never going to wear it. Even by making use of trousers just the claim duration, or adjusting a waistband somewhat, we will be inclined to wear them more .” The service is currently merely in the London area, but coming to Manchester and Birmingham this year. Meanwhile, start with your local dry cleaner.

Learn how to hem on a button
How numerous shirts and casings do you continue unworn at the back of your wardrobe because they are missing a button? Sewing on a button is a simple skill that everyone should have. There are lots of online seminars; try one by the environmental activist Wilson Oryema for Fashion Revolution.

Make your own apron from a duo of old jeans
Turn a duet of old jeans into a denim effort apron by unpicking the inside leg seams and sewing them together. This is one of many hackers from The Great British Sewing Bee’s book on Sustainable Style( Quadrille, PS27, be issued on 26 March ).

Darn your socks
” Once “peoples lives” science, darning has bounced a generation( or two ),” says Emma Mathews of Socko( socko.shop ), which does socks from repurposed wool.” But we can learn a lot from the road things were done in the past .” Sew small-minded loping sews up and down the area around the hole and then turn the restore around and stitch horizontal to them, knitting the thread together until you have dealt the hole. Highly therapeutic.

Primp your managers
This is a thriving service industry. Grael in Liverpool is a small business that specialises in clean” begrudged footwear”, provide cords cleaning( PS3 ), a late cleanse( PS15) and the scrupulous premium packet from undersole to insole( PS35 ). Meanwhile, Jason Markk offers premium shoe care from chapters in LA and Carnaby Street in London, where your tutors will be brought back to life by the brand’s sneaker-care technicians.

Give the shower a makeover


Recycle in there
While 90% of us recycle our kitchen waste,
we recycle only 50% of our attractivenes package– probably because our recycling bins are currently under kitchen. Joseph Joseph makes an attractive split-waste bathroom bin for PS20. You can reduce what ends up inside further by switching to prohibit soaps and shampoos( I adoration social endeavor Beco, from PS2. 50 at Co-op, Boots and supermarkets) and plastic-free handwash such as Soap Co( PS1 9, 300 ml, or PS110 for a whopping 5l biodegradable receptacle that should last a year ).

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Read more: www.theguardian.com

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