When it comes to living in a way that reduces our own demand on natural resources, at times it can feel difficult to make an impact in our daily lives. We’re here to help show you the very opposite – that the everyday choices we make have the most impact. Thankfully, this presents us with plenty of opportunities to relate to the process behind anything we buy and lead more thoughtful lives. Remember, what you do does make a difference (say hello to our happy farmers, because of you!). You have the power to force positive change with the little choices you make (and save money along the way). Here’s how:
1. Buy local, buy seasonal
Of course, you knew this would be the first one. We’ve said it before and we’ll definitely say it again… putting thought into what you eat and where it has come from is an essential part of ethical living. Eating local and seasonal foods is one the simplest ways you can combat the energy consumed by getting food from afar, to you. Not only do you rediscover the beauty of what’ in-season fruit and vegetables are, but you also get to enjoy them at their tastiest and support your local economy at the same time.
Did you know that one sixth of what we pay for food in the UK goes on packaging? That’s a staggering £470 per household per year. And that’s not all – the more food has travelled to get to you, the more it loses its vital nutrients and the more it needs to be treated with chemicals to keep it fresh. At Farmdrop, we’re always assessing what your food comes in and introduced our Reduced Packaging option to help us all to be even more eco-friendly. It’s the online version of bringing a tote-bag to the farmer’s market: we skip the usual cardboard box and pack straight into a reusable plastic crate and none of our fruit or vegetables are shrink-wrapped in plastic (there’s no need, because it simply comes straight from the farm).
2. Go meat-free, one day a week
If you haven’t heard of #MeatFreeMonday, you’re totally missing out. It’s widely known that intensive livestock farming puts a huge pressure on the environment and the current scale of worldwide meat production isn’t sustainable. The hidden cost of cheap meat is the rapidly depleting supplies of the world’s cheap energy and access to water. In contrast, traditional small-scale farming methods – where mammals such as cows and sheep eat grass in their natural habitats alongside the growing of complementary crops – is a more sustainable option. However, we don’t need to eat meat everyday (variety is the spice of life after all, eh?), and whilst excessive meat consumption can have implications for our health, the less meat we eat, the lower our carbon footprint. Also, the gastronomic possibilities are endless, with no factory-farmed meat guaranteed. Quinoa Pizza anyone?
3. Cycle or walk around town. (Or get a hybrid.)
These figures are tough to swallow. In 2015, it was revealed that nearly 9,500 people die each year in London because of air pollution. In 2014, figures showed that UK cities will exceed EU pollution limits until 2030. Whilst ditching using a car entirely might not always be practical, instead of owning a one, why not join a car club? This will make it easier to use one only when you really need to. If not owning a car isn’t an option, go for an electric vehicle (like our Founder Ben). Better still, you can get some great walks in when you explore the city by foot and cycling is always a quicker and more reliable way to get around the city – both are also good for exercise-wise you and cheaper too (hurrah!).
4. Think twice about same-day delivery
All those dirty diesel vans running around London delivering same-day items add to the capital’s already high levels of air pollution. Consider the impact of your purchases by trying to plan ahead a little and consolidate your online ordering into one or as few orders as possible. Just picture this next time you’re stuck in traffic behind a string of courier vans. (Thankfully, our fleet of Vanimals are 100% electric and are emission-free. Phew.)
Electric Vanimal Twiggy gets to know the pigs at Park Farm in Kent.
5. Go retro and embrace secondhand clothes
Remember the mantra ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’? When it comes to clothes, the best thing you can do is to reuse, reuse, and reuse. Avoid adding to the landfill pile by buying secondhand clothes, wearing the ones you do have for as long as possible and hold back from buying brand new clothes frequently. Textile production also consumes huge amounts of water and energy. To minimise the negative impact, buy better quality clothes, less often and do your research on brands who are transparent on the production of their clothes.
6. Say no to standby
Did you know leaving your electronic gadgets and appliances on standby consumes power, even when they’re not being used? The biggest culprit that uses the most amount of electricity (and in turn money) when on standby is the wireless electric router, costing an average of just over £20 a year. It’s estimated that an average household will spend up to £80 a year powering appliances left on standby and not in use. So switch off that router, printer, monitor, charger and set-top box (to name a few) before bedtime. Which leads to…
7. Get an energy monitor
A good route to cutting the amount of energy you use at home is to simply be more aware of your energy habits – that is, how much energy you use on a regular basis. It’s clearer to see the difference having items on standby, having multiple appliances on or even having more people in the house can make when you’ve got an energy monitor telling you (and it can even be a little addictive watching the figures change). According to the Energy Saving Trust you could find you energy usage drop by between 5 and 15% in the first year of using one, which could be a saving of £25 to £75 on a £500 bill.
8. Repair instead of replace
Ah YouTube. You sweet, free, and easy-to-access compendium of videos demonstrating how-to-fix-things-you-thought-impossible-to-fix. From replacing seals on white goods, to tips on how to sew a fraying hem, equip yourself with few tools and knowhow and you’ll save money on replacing things as well as ease your environmental impact of buying new things. It’s a win-win.
9. Line-dry your clothes
Tumble dryers are one of your home’s most energy-hungry appliances. Go old school and line dry your clothes when possible. It’s certainly not sexy, but make sure to regularly clean out the lint tray in your machine, as this affects its ability to expel damp air. When buying any domestic appliance, check out its energy rating label and lifespan by swotting up on consumer reports. Taking good care of your white goods and repairing them along the way (rather than buying anew).