1. Where have you been if you haven’t made this switch yet? Carry your refillable water or coffee flask in your bag wherever you go! We’ve all done it.. you set off without it and get thirsty, then resent yourself for the next few hours as you’ve had to unhappily accept a disposable one. So pledge to make this one change today. Pop your reusable container in your bag and carry it with you every day, just as you do your keys, wallet and phone!
2. Stop forgetting your reusable shopping bags! Since the UK plastic bag charge came in, we made a vow to never buy a bag (not because of the money, but because we shouldn’t have been accepting them anyway). Like so many of the population, it gave us the proverbial kick we needed, and now you can recognise us as the ones struggling along the road with armfuls of goods balanced on top of each other. So another thing you can do is purchase a pocket sized cloth bag and keep it in your bag.. alongside that reusable cup!
3. Say no to straws! We’ve all seen the horrific videos. Is there really any more to say? Do we need a straw in our cocktail as much as a turtle needs a clear nostril? If offered one, refuse. And what’s more, give the establishment a little explanation of why. Educate, educate, educate. And if you really can’t stop sucking? Buy a metal or bamboo straw. There are loads available at minimal expense.
4. Locate your nearest zero waste store. These amazing establishments are springing up all over the country. Not only is it great fun mixing and matching and filling your containers with all the lovely plastic-free goodies, but it also supports the eco-conscious individuals trying to make a difference for their world. If you want to make one good change, divert your finances away from large corporate supermarkets, and support small, local business. For a list of some of the shops we’ve found nationwide see our list!
5. Eco-friendly beeswax wraps! One of our pet hates is clingfilm. Nasty, chemical-laced plastic that gets generously wrapped around our food, causing it to smother and sweat. Instead, beeswax wraps are an all natural, recyclable approach. Made with just pure beeswax and a dash of coconut oil, our wraps can be used over and over again, and it has even been shown that food actually lasts longer in them! Best of all, even when they do reach the end of their useable life, they can go straight in the compost and will break down completely. Purchase your set today!
6. Stop wasting food. For some reason food wasting in the UK is unprecedented. The fabulous Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall found that the average household wastes £700 worth of food every year! And that’s without the billions of pounds wasted by hotels and restaurants every day. When you think about it it is actually criminal. People are starving around the world, and growing our food comes at a cost to the environment and the creatures we share the planet with, and then we simply throw it away because an arbitrary date on the packaging tells us it has gone out of date (DON’T get us started). We really should take a leaf out of our grandparent’s book and start being more creative in our ways of utilising every last bit. At Pinniped HQ we pride ourselves on never throwing any food away, and here are a few of our favourite tips from many years of refusal to waste food.
Don’t buy so much – Cut down on your expenditure and therefore don’t get left with more than you know what to do with. We’re all guilty of greed, so practice a little restraint and hark back to the days of rationing.
Use every part of the products – If you’re eating vegetables, eat the skins. This is actually the place much of the fibre and goodness hide. Try rustic skin-on mash, and include things like carrot skins and broccoli stalks in your cooking.. you’ll be healthier for it! If you have meat, use the bones to make a broth and the juices to make a gravy. Again this is where you’ll find much of the nutrition, and if we’re going to eat animals, make sure every part was used.
Soup is super – One of THE best, if not the best way to use up odds and ends is soup. Bones, vegetables that are past their prime, few day old pasta and rice, and even fruit rinds, make excellent components of healthy soups that are bursting with vitamins and minerals.
Make use of your freezer – Staying on top of your food is important. If you have overestimated a little on the fresh veggies, or you’re going away unexpectedly, popping them in the freezer is the perfect solution. For most vegetables you’re going to cook, blanching them in boiling water for a couple of minutes first preserves them perfectly, and when you get them out again they’ll be good to go! Things like pepper and mushroom can simply be sliced and frozen immediately, then added to pasta or stir fry straight from the bag. Even milk and bread can be frozen for a later date. Remember, things last a long time in the freezer, so there’s no need to worry about use-by dates if you’ve done this. Although some things might be slightly less perfect than when they went in, it’s infinitely better than seeing them go in the bin!
Fill containers with your leftovers and bring them for lunch – It saves money. It saves packaging. It means you’re eating healthier, unprocessed food. And it’s saving the planet. What’s not to like?
7. This brings us to composting. It is unavoidable to have some amount of kitchen waste. Vegetable ends, peelings, teabags, coffee grounds and similar. In many places you’ll be lucky enough to have a collection bin. But if you have a small outdoor area, why not try making or buying your own compost bin? You can get nice compact ones which work really well for small amounts of food, and you’re left with great compost that can be used to plant your own flowers and veggies! Ideal on so many levels.
8. Switch to reusable sanitary products. For a long time it seemed there really was no viable alternative. But in light of the fact standard towels and tampons contain plastic, not only do we want to do better for the planet, but we also want to do better for ourselves. If microplastics are as damaging as we think they might be, do we really want to risk putting them inside our own bodies? Luckily we live at a time where innovative individuals are creating better products all the time. Why not try investing in period pants, reusable menstrual pads or a Mooncup? Many women say they’d never go back.
9. The humble bamboo toothbrush. Does what it says on the tin. Doesn’t use plastic. In our fight to reduce plastic waste and make our daily lives more eco-friendly, upgrade to a bamboo toothbrush without delay!
10. Pledge to be more mindful towards nature in your daily life. We are all part of nature but we can be extremely disconnected from it, especially when living our lives in cities and artificial offices. Try to spend time each day appreciating some time outdoors, and being mindful of the little parts of nature that we encounter every day. Be respectful of the animals we share this planet with, and try to leave everything better than you found it. Pick up three pieces of litter on the beach, feed the birds, or leave the car at home and walk to work. Be happy, be healthy, be mindful. Namasté.