Easy ways to be more eco-friendly

·3-min read

Protecting the environment and living in a more sustainable way are two of the biggest topics affecting society at present.

But apart from adopting a plant-based diet and wearing clothes made from ethically sourced fabrics, what else can we do to play our part?

Paul Moore, managing director of If You Care (buyifyoucare.com) and non-exec director of the Organic Trade Board, has some other simple suggestions for greener living.

Buy eco-friendly dishcloths

Sponges made of a mix of pure cotton and cellulose can be used, and then washed, over and over again without degrading.

"Cheaper ones tend to lose their quality quickly and need to be disposed of sooner," he noted. "At the end of their life, quality cotton-based cloths can be home composted so don't add to the problem of artificial fibres and micro planktons."

Reuse kitchen foil

Kitchen foil is expensive but people tend to use it once to cover food and then throw it away.

"One brilliant hack when you're baking food in the oven is to put parchment paper over the dish then place foil on top. This prevents the foil from getting dirty, which means you can use it again and again! The parchment paper can then go into the compost bin, which is better for the planet," advised Paul.

Start composting

If you don't already have a compost bin, it's definitely worth considering as it will also save a lot of food going to landfills.

"You could use really space efficient Bokashi composting digesters that will compost cooked foods without the smell and turn them into the most amazing and powerful liquid fertiliser," the expert shared.

Buy seasonal

If you are going to head to the supermarket to buy fruit and vegetables out of pure convenience, try to buy seasonal wherever you can.

"Foods that are not in season can often have a huge amount of air miles associated with them and are usually very expensive. For example, buy strawberries in the summer when they're not only cheaper and grown locally but also much tastier," he said.

Make meal plans

If you eat meat, the much cheaper and more environmentally friendly option is to invest in a whole chicken or joint of meat.

"You could cook this on a Sunday and make a roast, then the leftovers can be turned into various meals for the week such as curries, pies or casseroles. The bones and carcass can be boiled with carrots, celery and onion to make a delicious stock which can then be used as a base for a delicious noodle soup," Paul recommended.

Stay cool when washing

Many people assume hot water is the key to keeping clothes and dishes clean when washing.

"But cleaning enzymes from washing liquids, powders and tablets are actually destroyed at high temperatures," he revealed. "These enzymes work best at body temperature, so try a cooler setting when using your washing machine. Once you've washed your clothes, consider ditching the tumble dryer too, as these suck up a huge amount of energy."

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