Putting my money where my mouth is - my sustainable living pledge for 2020
In the years P.C. (Pre Covid), my eco mindset was in line with most. The occasional fairtrade approved purchase, farming out old smartphones to friends and family and sticking to the recycling collection every Thursday morning when the bin men rock up to take away the week's rubbish. But beyond that, I didn’t really feel the need to do much more. Even with the extra awareness generated by Greta Thunberg, the London marches and the constant press about the impending eco apocalypse, it felt like a movement that was happening somewhere else. A detachment as I was too busy with work, life and keeping up with all the increasing demands that come with family and forties.
But that’s changed. With time (3 weeks of furlough), and being at home for almost 2 months, it’s been any eye opener to see just how much one person can do to improve their impact on the environment. It’s also been inspiring to see what a growing number of tech brands I've known and worked with are doing to improve their sustainability.
Rather than just writing about the latest initiative, eco tech product and channel news, I wanted to share what I will try to accomplish in 2020 and beyond. It should give me an inkling of the challenge faced by brands today that want to do better whilst maintaining what’s most valued by most boards and shareholders - profitability.
It’s good to acknowledge what you are already doing (accidentally or intentionally) to support a more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. There are 3 things that we already have in place:
Car free - we’ve not had a car for 2 years now and use public transport for the school run and getting around (we live in the London suburbs). Uber of course for late night trips and the inevitable train cancellations. There are definitely times I wish we had a motor (especially when it’s pouring with rain) but there is of course the electric option.
Plants - when we moved into our house 5 years ago, there was very little in the way of planting. Now we have a garden full of plants and a much friendlier habitat for wildlife. It’s also encouraged the children to take an interest in nature, learn something and grow their own plants.
Slow fashion - more through stinginess and an aversion to high street clothing stores but I don’t buy often, repair as much as I can and when I do shop, it’s usually from a charity shop or independent label.
My Sustainable Pledge - Steps to a Greener Life
1). Reduce the amount of plastic coming into the home
Not all plastic is evil but it's time to cut out the unnecessary packaging that makes its way into the shopping basket. From buying loose fruit and veg to switching to refill options for big plastic products such as washing and dishwasher tablets, there are some quick wins to be made.
2). Support more eco friendly companies
Hand in hand with the above initiative, there are some great companies offering more environmentally friendly products to replace those that you may buy at the supermarket.
Washing & dishwasher tablets - smolproducts.com
Deodorant - wearewild.com
Smartphone covers - pelacase.com
Food storage - bowercollective.com
(Plenty of other options out there but these are just some that I will be trying)
3). Get to know & support local sustainable initiatives
From mapping out local recycling points for batteries, clothes and other items that might otherwise end up in the bin, to checking out freecycle programmes and 'fix it' meet ups, there are plenty of resources to tap into that don't cost money and can make a difference.
4). Switch to a green energy supplier
There are some interesting alternative providers in today's marketplace that are working with 100% renewable energy sources and competitively priced vs the big players. This recent article from T3 on the 'best green energy suppliers' will make the job all the easier :)
5). Review and upgrade to more energy efficient home appliances
We have a number of appliances that are on their last legs and under normal circumstances, purchasing decisions would be price led. Instead, I will buy based on energy efficiency and green credentials.
6). Reduce Home Energy Consumption
What device or appliance is consuming the most energy? What's plugged in, not in use but using power? Find and install a smart home solution to monitor energy consumption. Explore solar powered solutions for charging phones, tablets, laptops etc...
7). Improve home heat retention
The toughest pledge cost wise but our terraced house leaks heat through old sash windows and a creaky lean to conservatory. Big wins but big costs...
As we are all currently subject to a slower pace of life, it’s easier to allow time to consider greener alternatives but when life starts to speed up again (which it will), the temptation is to give in to convenient, loyalty point accruing products and that’s when the hard work will really start.