1. Reuse, repair, recycle to reduce landfill
Small choices make a big difference. Where possible, choose vegetables that come loose rather than in plastic wrapping. Hold on to your washing up liquid bottle and refill it at a zero waste shop. If something breaks, see if there’s a YouTube tutorial on how to fix it before replacing it.
When you do need to throw something away, look for the triangular recycling logo on the packaging or label, clean if necessary and put it in the appropriate bin. Remember: clothes and shoes can also be recycled.
2. Wear ‘pre-loved’ clothes; make your wardrobe last
Platforms such as eBay and Depop are stuffed with ‘pre-loved’ clothes and shoes that have plenty of life left in them. If you have children, you could try The Little Loop, a clothes rental service and Starling business customer.
For new items, aim to buy the best quality you can afford so it will last longer; it may be cheaper in the long run. If you no longer wear an item, extend its life by passing it on to a friend or donating it to a charity or clothes bank.
3. Choose eco-friendly products
Lots of businesses are doing what they can to be more sustainable and offer customers eco-friendly alternatives; most that do will explain this on their website or packaging.
There are many examples amongst Starling business customers - The Good Brush Company sells bamboo toothbrushes.
4. Green your money
There are a number of financial services companies in the Starling Marketplace that offer sustainable financial product and service options. PensionBee offers a fossil-fuel free option for pensions, while Wealthify has several ethical investment plans for customers to choose from. As always with investments, capital is at risk. The value of your investments, including pensions, can go down as well as up, and you could get back less than you put in.
5. Walk and cycle more
If you can, walk or cycle. This also goes for people running a business. For example, Starling business customer Grōni operates a ‘Peddle and Paint’ scheme - their decorators keep kit in a cargo bike and cycle to their York clients.
6. Drive electric
If you’re going on holiday, why not see if you can rent an electric car to help cut down on your emissions? Or if you’re travelling between London and Edinburgh, have a look at Lumo, an electric train service.
7. Throw away less food
Plan meals and buy the right amount of ingredients, incorporate leftovers into other meals and bring older jars to the front of a cupboard before adding new ones.
Those living in London could also volunteer for The Felix Project, an organisation that redistributes surplus food to charities and schools to reduce food waste and food poverty. Alternatively, see if you can volunteer at your local food bank.
8. Eat more plants
Food production is responsible for more than a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gases. Most of these carbon emissions come from the deforestation associated with feeding livestock. That’s why it can be more sustainable to eat a vegetarian or vegan meal, rather than one that includes meat, even if that’s just one meal a week.
9. Eat seasonally
Where possible, buy fruit and vegetables from a farm shop or greengrocer and ask what’s in season. If you’re shopping in a supermarket, look at the label to see where the produce has come from and aim to reduce food miles. You could also pick up a recipe book organised by the season, for example The Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones.
10. Speak up
Whatever small steps you take to reduce your impact on the environment, tell your family and friends about it. You could end up inspiring them to follow your example.