WILD fires and flash floods have made many of us panic about climate change.
Joel Cooper shows how we can do our bit to help…simply by changing how we shop.
FOOD travels 50 per cent further than it did 20 years ago in the UK. So you reduce the carbon footprint of your fruit and veg by up to seven per cent when you buy locally. You will also reduce it by walking or cycling to the shops.
DITCH PLASTIC BAGS
WHILE brands such as Primark use paper bags, many still use plastic carriers. Skip spending 10p a time and carry a foldable, lightweight tote bag instead. This one from Monki is £6, comes in eight prints and is made from organic cotton which is responsibly sourced.
FROM vintage clothes and toys to antiques and homeware, you can find hidden gems in your nearby charity shop or on apps such as Depop, meaning less goes to landfill. Charity shops reuse or recycle 90 per cent of donated clothes so donate, too.
PREPARE, WRITE LISTS
WE’VE all been there — picking up a bargain buy we could live without. But 71 per cent of us throw out impulse buys. Eliminate that waste by making a shopping list and sticking to it. Cut waste by planning meals in advance so you know what you need at the supermarket and make fewer trips.
THE Freecycle Network you can find at freecycle.org allows people to list things they no longer need — so others in their area can have them for free. You can pick up a chest of drawers, sofa or even a TV for nothing.
RECYCLE MAKE-UP EMPTIES
SUPERDRUG has introduced recycling stations in stores. You can bin mascaras and lipsticks guilt free. Brands such as Mac and Lush have similar schemes, with the incentive of free products. Better still, take empties to be refilled at Fenty.
BUY MULTI-USE ITEMS
PICK up multi-use products to reduce waste, like Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps, which have 18 uses. The almond liquid castile soap at £8.79 for 237ml, from Holland & Barrett, is fair trade, made with organic oil and can be used as a shower gel, laundry detergent and to clean make-up brushes.
USE THE 30-WEAR RULE
THE average item of clothing in the UK is only worn seven times and thrown out after 2.2 years. When buying a new item, ask yourself if you would wear it 30 times. If not, it’s not for you.
TRY BAMBOO LOO ROLL
TOILET rolls made from bamboo are much more sustainable than traditional ones, which account for 15 per cent of deforestation. Order from whogivesacrap.org, which gives discounts for bulk buys and donates 50 per cent of its profits to improve sanitation in the developing world.
BUY TO STOP FOOD WASTE
MANY retailers including Costa, Pret and Morrisons have signed up to the Too Good To Go app, which lets you buy food that would otherwise go to waste. Websites such as starbargains.co.uk let you buy food close to its best-before date too.
HIRE toys from whirli.com. With subscriptions from £9.99 a month, you receive tokens to trade for toys. Similarly, use sites such as HireStreet to rent outfits, with dresses starting at £6.
WHO says you can’t be eco-friendly in the bedroom too? This biodegradable vibrator — the Blush Novelties Gaia Eco — is made from starch-based bioplastic. It is good for the environment and for the purse strings, at just £11.99 from Amazon.
GO FASHIONABLY GREEN
THE fashion industry accounts for ten per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 20 per cent of waste water. Look for sustainable ranges such as Conscious by H&M, but do your research. For instance, vegan does not mean sustainable, it just means the materials have not come from animals, but they could be made from plastic or oil.
HAVE A DELIVERY DAY
HAVING multiple shopping items delivered on different days increases your carbon footprint. Get all your items from one site delivered on the same day. Amazon Prime members can set up a day on which all orders placed during the week will arrive at their door.
BUY SHAMPOO BARS
THESE cut the need for plastic bottles and come in recyclable packaging. They use less water to make, as most liquid shampoos are 80 per cent water, and they last longer. Try Foamie’s coconut shampoo bar, £6.99,Amazon.
CLICK AND COLLECT
MOST emissions from online deliveries come from the “last mile” to your home. You can look at whether the company you have ordered from uses a bike courier for the last leg, or get your product delivered to the nearest store and walk or cycle to collect it.
SIZE THINGS UP
THE most annoying thing about ordering clothes online? Finding your item doesn’t fit. Many of us now order multiple sizes as a solution. The result is 30 to 40 per cent of orders are returned and 20 per cent of those go to landfill as they are not resellable. Look for sizing information on the site and learn your measurements.
READ THE LABEL
CLOTHING is one of the largest contributors to microplastic waste, which takes hundreds of years to decompose. Watch out for materials such as polyester and nylon and opt for natural fibres such as linen, or buy from sites including gym- wear brand wearetala.com, which uses recycled materials.
SHOP CARBON NEUTRAL
MANY brands are offsetting their carbon footprint by doing things such as planting trees to suck carbon from the atmosphere. Levis, Nike and Ikea are reducing their footprint. M&S is carbon neutral — meaning zero net emissions.
TRADE THINGS IN
IF you need to buy new, look for retailers with trade schemes. For example, at Schuh you can trade in your old pairs of shoes via the Sell Your Soles scheme and get a £5 voucher. Donated shoes are recycled. At Arket, you get a ten per cent voucher for unwanted outfits.
DON’T BE A PERIOD PAIN
SAY goodbye to tampons and sanitary towels and invest in a menstrual cup, like OrganiCup, £19.95, at Holland & Barrett. It gives 12 hours of protection. Or try period pants — comfortable, machine washable and you can wear them all day. Try a ribbed cotton thong from Flux Undies for £5.95.
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