In October I went away on a Writer's Retreat and made some really lovely new friends, one of which was Becca who set up and runs a fabulous sustainable initiative called Tentshare, plus the retreat was held at a fantastic glamping site near Tintern in Wales. Hill Farm aims to incorporate as many sustainable practices as possible into their business - and it is often the simple things that make a big difference - I learnt it is possible to live in a more sustainable way without overthinking it all. From making sure food waste was separated and reused, without any plastic water bottles in sight, they use as many natural resources as possible, including a composting toilet and recycled toilet paper! Their use of second hand furniture and recycled materials was inspirational and rather than being too basic, it all just added to the charm and enjoyment of the experience. They aim to reduce their negative impact with using local foods, organic food where possible, fresh produce, and delicious vegetarian dishes! They have a recycling bin for everything and I soon got used to the many simple ways to be more mindful of our over consumption.
Of course it got me thinking about my everyday life and how I can make improvements. I really enjoyed chatting to Becca and learning easy tips for how I can improve my environmental footprint! So I asked Becca to share some her own sustainability tips in a guest post on my blog .... I hope you enjoy!
Easy sustainable living tips (beyond the reusable bag)!
Michelle and I met whilst on a retreat in the hills of Tintern in Monmouthshire, Wales. We connected over a barefoot forest bathing experience. We chatted and as usual, I began talking about my passion project, Tentshare and how we offer a service where the customer gets exactly what they want while at the same time reducing our carbon footprint and supporting our local economy. I believe that living a more sustainable life doesn’t need to be a compromise but can be joyous and can even improve your lifestyle and happiness.
Michelle asked me to share some of my best ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, beyond changing from plastic bottles to a reusable water bottle or swapping plastic bags for reusable bags. This piece is a more creative look at how to make the most impactful sustainable shifts.
But firstly, why should we change what we’ve been doing for years?, We’ve worked hard for the privilege to spend our money on whatever we want. Sadly, the fact is that we are now consuming the planet’s resources faster than the planet can regenerate, and this overconsumption is contributing towards climate change. A quick look at the past can show us how we have reached this critical point of global warming. In the post-war era, the UK economy needed a boost and so the government encouraged society to spend money, which we did, in fact, we got so good at it that now we can’t seem to stop! But changing our spending habits doesn’t mean that we can’t have what we want. Here are my top easy ways to make a positive environmental impact without compromising on getting what you want.
How to love your planet and still get what you want or better
1. Reconnect with nature and improve your health
We all know that time spent in nature boosts our mood and improves our physical health, the research has proven it. The best selfcare activity is to grant yourself the gift of nature, walk, swim, wiggle your bare feet in the damp grass, and breathe in the fresh air. Remind yourself how beautiful our country is. Get outside and receive some free healing baby!
2. Batch Travel
You’ve heard of batch cooking right? I now introduce batch journeying! A great way to reduce carbon emissions is to reduce car travel. 95% of our trips in the UK are less than 5km, we can easily reduce emissions by batching our journeys. For example, on Friday morning I batched a school drop-off with a trip to the cashpoint, the grocery store, a dog walk and a visit to a friend all in one round trip, saving me time and emissions. Find out about your local public transportation services, there may be a trip that would be an easy swap by using the bus. You could also meet your friends for a ‘stroll for the soul’ instead of a shopping trip, enjoy your local natural environment, bring some cake and coffee too. Feel the freedom!
3. Spend Your Money but be intentional
Think about this, every pound you spend is purchasing carbon. Everything has a carbon cost, but some carbon is cheap, and some is expensive.
Play this game with me and tell me what you would spend your £1000 on. Have a look at the table and you can see the carbon cost* of each purchase. Now you know this information, would you make a different decision?
*These are approximate scores in terms of the number of kilos of carbon,
kindly suggested by Know Carbon.
Which letter did you choose? I would pick the fitness instructor, saving the planet and getting fit!
We know that habits are hard to break. Here are the steps to take before you buy something new.
Use what you have
The most eco-friendly item is an item you already own! Keep everything out of landfill for as long as possible. If something breaks, fix it or get it repaired, there is probably a local repair café near you. If it can’t be repaired, then perhaps it can be repurposed? There are so many creative ways to reuse! Before you chuck it, ask yourself, can I repair, reuse, repurpose or give it to someone who would love and use it? Play the game ‘lets keep it out of landfill’ you’ve got to be in it to win it baby!
Repair what you wear
Rent or Borrow
Try before you buy and borrow from a friend or neighbour, decide if you like it before you buy the item. There are so many rental sites now, consider that you have access to everything you want but you don’t have to buy new! For instance, a glamping holiday might require a beautiful bell tent, or a family event might need a gazebo. Rent them, then hand them back, saving money, storage space and get access to exactly what you want!
Tentshare - list your tent or rent a tent
Rent my - rent anything from anywhere
Kar share - rent local cars from your community
Why not swap items with your friends or neighbours, swap perfumes with a friend for a week? Hold clothes or toy swap coffee mornings. Swap a strimmer for a hedge cutter for an afternoon. You can even swap skills, do an hour of bookkeeping in exchange for an hour of gardening.
Kesero - skill sharing
Buy pre-loved and local
Spend your money in your local area. Choose independent and local shops and or a farmers market. You are supporting family businesses, reducing your travel and directing your wealth directly to your community. It may cost a bit more money, but you know your money is working hard to reduce carbon emissions and lit is a good way to look after your environment.
Used and loved - second hand made simple
Next time, think before you buy new! Buying new should be the last resort. If you must make a purchase, choose a high-quality item that will last and be used repeatedly. Remember swapping to reusables can drastically reduce your household waste.
If you buy a good quality item, you can always make some of that cost back by renting it out and sharing it with others.
4. Talk about it
Tell your friends, family and colleagues all about your top sustainable living tips. As you make these changes, you may notice that spending money intentionally is more satisfying and enjoyable with no guilt! You are just trying to save the planet, right?! Share these planet-friendly spending sprees with others and inspire them to make these positive changes in their lives.
5. Have fun educating yourself
There are lots of apps and websites that help us to make carbon-reducing changes. Personally, I love Giki Zero, it’s fun and simple to use. The app works out your current carbon footprint, and then suggests personalised steps to reduce your carbon footprint. As you make the changes your carbon footprint improves. You can also connect with other households and make it into a fun competition (beware it can get slightly addictive)!
Bank Green - sustainable banking
Zero Giki Earth - carbon calculator
So, in summary, keep spending and enjoying yourself, but just be more discerning about what you spend your money on. Experiences, education, and services are a much better way to direct your money towards rather than buying stuff. If you do have to buy stuff, be thoughtful about the carbon cost. I have created a printable infographic to remind you to begin to disrupt the ‘want, buy’ habit.
A little bit about Tentshare
Tentshare is an online community-led, tent matching service. The service offers tent-sharers the opportunity to make money by renting out their tent or save money by renting a tent from a local tent-sharer. The Tentshare mission is to encourage more people outside, reduce the strain on the planet's resources and create a sharing community.
Becca from Tentshare
Follow Tentshare on Instagram
Thank you so much Becca, I love these tips and I will certainly be working hard to include more of them in my day to day life - it is possible to live a more sustainable lifestyle! I think the 'rent or borrow' is a really easy way to take a more sustainable approach. I plan to try out some of the fashion rental services in the coming months and blog about my experience. I know I waste a lot of money buying 'stuff' and I absolutely need to get better. I had to clear out our log cabin recently to make space for our business to move back in for a few months and I was horrified at how much I'd kept that I really didn't need. I was able to sell lots of Facebook Marketplace and make some cash for Christmas (which this year has been more about making memories rather than buying - yep you guessed it - more stuff). Anything that I couldn't sell, I then took to my local charity shop where I am always impressed with the amount of furniture and larger items they offer for recycling and reuse.
How many of Becca's sustainability tips are you already doing and what is the most significant change you could make? Do leave a comment below!
Disclaimer: this is a guest blog post but I have not been paid to share it, it is a personal collaboration!
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