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12 simple ways to be more eco-friendly this new year

  • by Jacqueline Smith
  • 4 min read

12 simple ways to be more eco-friendly this new year

Our purpose at nookary is to make ‘eco-friendly easier'. When we started out, we did a lot of market research on how to tackle the challenge and learned that one of the underlying barriers for people was the fear of failure; whether that manifested in worries about not knowing where to start, a worry about not being perfect overnight or a belief that their individual actions won’t make a difference.

I don’t think culture today helps either, there never seems to be a right answer and there’s always someone telling you you’re doing it wrong – "go vegan", "only source locally", "never buy plastic", "always shop organic". A lot of these things are impossible to do concurrently, you’re forever having to make compromises and there’s forever someone telling you you’ve made the wrong choice.

Our generation has got a monumental challenge on our hands to lower our impact on the planet, and the size of this challenge only compounds the anxiousness and leaves us feeling demotivated (at best).

Here’s a prompt to ignore the noise and just start making small changes today, and accept that you’ll learn the way that’s right for you as you go.

Simple ways to start being more eco-friendly 

To help, we’ve collated 12 easy things you can do to be more eco-friendly; you don’t need to do them all or do them perfectly, this list is designed to inspire rather than instruct. Why not pick a new one each month and decide on what your version of it might be, and just think of the changes you'll have made by this time next year. Do let me know how you get on, or what we're missing from the list!

1. Follow eco-friendly social media accounts

Start off easy - follow some eco-friendly social media accounts that resonate with you and learn from them, ask them questions and start trying things they suggest. Here are some of our favourites @earthrise.studio@get.waste.ed@thinking.threads, @easyecotips and of course us @nookary

2. How to reduce your household waste

Take a mental (or physical!) note of what you’re popping in your bin each day. Can you make swaps to reduce your waste? E.g. buy reusable bottles, or swap out a regular supermarket item to a plastic free packaging version such as loose fruit and veg or sweet treats in paper vs plastic packaging.

3. Make more considered purchases

Ask yourself these questions each time you make a purchase:

  • Do you really need it?
  • Will it last a long time if not?
  • Is it reusable?
  • Can it be easily repaired?
  • Could you find it second-hand?

    4. Swap to refills

    Start swapping out your household toiletries and cleaning products to refillable ones, like our refillable Probiotic Cleaning products. You don’t have to do everything at once, just swapping out one item at a time when things run out is a great place to start.

    5. Shop seasonally 

    Buying apples, pears and your root vegetables in the winter, and your strawberries, asparagus and tomatoes in the summer. This is just how our grandparents shopped as they only had seasonal veg available to them, and they managed just fine! Here’s a great guide to explore seasonal fruit and veg in Europe that we found from European Food Information Council to help. 

    6. Shop locally

    Buying fruit and veg from the UK or buying dairy and meat from local farms is often a great way to lower your carbon footprint and support local businesses at the same time!

    7. Reduce your food waste

    Plan meals ahead a bit more so that you have just the right amount of food and reduce your food waste. Casseroles, soups and smoothies are a great way to use up any leftovers.

    8. Compost

    Inevitably there will be some food waste so why not start composting. Breakdown of organic matter like food in landfill is a big contributor to greenhouse gases, in particularly methane which is 15 time more potent than Carbon Dioxide. More and more councils are offering kerbside composting, however if yours doesn’t, here’s a guide to setting up a compost at home from Better Homes & Gardens.

    9. Switch to a green energy supplier

    Check whether your energy supplier is using renewable energy and are they investing into sustainable energy? Ecotricity, Green Energy UK and Good Energy are among the greenest energy suppliers in the UK. While Ecotricity is more expensive than the average, they were one of the first eco challengers to the market so they’re a brand that continue to have my support. Scottish Power, EDF and NPower are ranked among the worst energy suppliers in the UK for their energy fuel mix. Ethical Consumer have a very comprehensive guide on Ethical and Green Energy Suppliers.

    10. Check where your bank invests its money

    Similarly, check where your bank invests its money. Some banks have a policy of investing in greener industries and technologies, such as Triodos, Nationwide and Monzo. Most of the big high street banks in the UK are still investing heavily in fossil fuel, such as Barclays and HSBC. Tiny Eco Home Life has a good article to guide you through your ethical UK banking options if you are looking to switch. 

    11. Get a reusable cup

    If you’re getting out and about a lot more, why not invest in a reusable coffee cup like KeepCup.

    12. Reuse what you've already got

    The last one is going to be an easier one and is as much of a mindset than an action. It’s all about reusing what you already own, it’s one of the most eco friendly things you can do. There’s no need to do a complete overhaul of everything you own with more eco-friendly options, but when you need to buy something new #buylessbuybetter. 

    Just remember, it’s not about striving for perfection, just try to make small changes, they’ll add up to huge changes over time and you’ll learn so much as you go. 

    You’re doing really well, keep going! 

    Please do let me know how you get on, or what we're missing from the list!

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