You know by now that I’m super conscious of the damage we are doing to our planet, and constantly striving to reduce my impact on the environment (unless it’s a positive one!). I love discovering new products and ways to swerve more commercial products or ways of doing things which - it’s becoming clearer and clearer - use up devastating amounts of energy and/or resources. Wherever possible, I opt for sustainably and ethically produced goods, ideally made with limited or no packaging, and made from either recycled, recyclable or biodegradable materials that won't stick around on our planet or disrupt our atmosphere for decades after we’ve disposed of them.
As with many things, there is so much to learn, and there are endless new products and methods to discover. That’s why, this Earth Day, I asked some of my friends of whom are on their own sustainability journeys, to share some of their favourite or recently-adopted eco-friendly life hacks. I am constantly finding new inspiration and discovering new things to try in order to do my bit, and I hope that by sharing several stories from people at different stages on their own sustainability journeys will inspire you to try at least one or maybe even all of them.
Happy Earth Day 🌎#ProtectOurSpecies
Millie Mackintosh, model, entrepreneur & author
How do you make an effort to reduce your impact on the planet on a daily / weekly / monthly basis?
1. I use eco-friendly cleaning products (I’m currently loving Method)
2. I recycle
3. I use food storage boxes rather than cling-film in the fridge
4. I always carry a metal or glass water bottle to avoid buying bottled water in plastic or single-use glass
5. I’ve stopped using plastic cotton buds and straws
6. I have a keep cup for take-out coffee
7. I like to buy clothes from brands that used recycled fabric
8. I only eat meat once a week and am eating a lot more plant-based in general
Cora Hilts, Founder of Reve en Vert
What’s one of the most important pieces of advice you would give to someone trying to make more conscious and sustainably lifestyle choices?
My two tips for living a more sustainable lifestyle are to educate yourself and to look outside of your own personal desires a bit more. Educate yourself with reliable news stories, get interested in science, watch things like Conspiracy and David Attenborough’s Our Planet. You will likely find yourself wanting to change rather than thinking of it as something taxing you have to do. And think of personal desire secondary to our collective needs - it’s just one Evian for my yoga class, it’s just one steak I am craving, it’s just one jump in the car. We are all contributing to this massive problem of pollution and emissions, so either think ahead or go without from time to time - it won’t hurt you, and it certainly won’t hurt the planet.
Eva Ramirez, wellness & travel writer
What’s one recent change you’ve made in your routine to reduce waste?
I’ve become a lot more conscious of food waste recently, and I’m far more conscious about not letting things like a bruised plum or bunch of wilted parsley - which I would have otherwise thrown out - go unused. It’s made me a bit more creative in the kitchen, and my food processor and slow cooker have certainly got more action (I’ve been making pestos, soups and vegetable curries where wilted ingredients get completely disguised) and I feel a lot better about the food I’m eating too. I’m also using my freezer a lot more to avoid things going off and to waste - something my grandma is particularly proud of!
Caroline Deisler, plant-based fitness blogger
1. Eating a plant-based diet has so many environmental benefits and it motivates me even more to promote that lifestyle. I feel more connected to our wonderful planet than ever before and love the feeling of eating a colorful diet that doesn’t involve any cruelty.
2. Other switches I made to reduce my environmental footprint is to get around by bike instead of Uber! I feel so much better as well, getting some fresh air instead of being stuck in traffic. :-) I‘m also really trying to cut down my plastic consumption 🙌🏼 I now have reusable shopping bags, reusable fruit & veggie bags for the fridge and got a water filter installed under the zink to stop buying plastic bottles.
+ I will also launch my swim line @caroswim_ this summer and put a big focus on sustainability. All materials are eco friendly, either partly or fully made from recycled materials and the packaging involves no plastic as well which I‘m really happy about. :-)
Melissa Hemsley, chef and author
What’s your favourite go-to recipe to use up ingredients on their last legs, to avoid things going to waste?
An easy and delicious way to clean out the fridge, not waste food and make something great for a breakfast / packed lunch / snack is to do a "Friday Frittata" . Anything goes, you don't even need to chop anything, sometimes it's grated onion, carrot and cheese, sometimes I just tear up the ends of soft herbs like basil or dill and the last of the limp rocket. It's always different, always delicious and it's about 5 minutes of effort.
Madeleine Shaw, author & blogger
Can you share your top 3 favourite eco-friendly tips?
1. Picking up the odd fruit & veg - As well as local markets, lots of big supermarket chains are now putting on display loose and often mis-shaped fruit and veg! These poor little guys normally become waste, so I like to pick these up and make a veggie hot pot with them, where it doesn’t matter how they look.
2. Turn on Aeroplane mode - I feel like my phone is always dying on me, and before it does, I need to urgently put in on charge. But, I've consciously tried to start putting it on aeroplane mode to save the battery and save electricity. A small change, but it means I get some time off of my phone and also helps lower my carbon footprint.
3. Who am I ordering from? - I have started to be more conscious about the companies I order stuff from, whether it's food, clothing or toys for Shay. I like to look at their values and also how they wrap and package the products that get sent to me. There are so many choices online for buying stuff, and it only takes 5 more minutes to find a more sustainable company for the things you need.
Olivia Crighton, founder of Glasshouse Salon
Can you share some simple tips for anyone wanting to clean up their beauty and hygiene regimes? And any other habits you’ve adopted and would like to share?
When it comes to my beauty cupboard, I’m a big fan of using Yoni’s plastic free and 100% organic cotton tampons. The material is designed to biodegrade after use and is free from the potentially harmful chemicals included in traditional feminine care products.
I have also recently started using the OrganiCup. I learnt that the average woman uses up to 11,000 single use tampons in her life, so this is a great way to significantly reduce bathroom waste.
I’ve also swapped my toothbrush for a bamboo Truthbrush and have been using beauty products that are packaged in glass, paper or aluminium as much as possible.
I’ve followed a plant-based diet for many years now, but recently I have been making the extra effort to cook more at home and avoid processed and packaged foods to minimise packaging and lower my carbon footprint. I think it’s important generally to consider the environmental output of the foods you eat, choosing to opt for locally grown and organic produce where possible.
It’s difficult to avoid buying all the sweet children’s outfits I come across for my daughter, but I really feel the fashion industry’s carbon footprint and nasty bi-products that contaminate our oceans cannot be ignored any longer. I try to minimise the number of new outfits I buy and opt for second hand options whenever I can. When I do buy a new piece however, I’ve found that buying higher quality items from more sustainable materials last longer, helping me to buy less overall.
For any new mums, I’d also recommend looking into alternatives for basic baby items such as reusable, washable and biodegradable nappies, and biodegradable baby wipes. Traditional nappies can take up to 400 years to decompose and can contain harsh chemicals that could be bad for baby and for the environment too.
Genevieve Gralton, founder of Underbares
Tell us what it’s like running an ethical, sustainable brand, and any personal daily habits you’d like to share on reducing waste and avoiding single-use items:
In my personal life, I intentionally avoid purchasing single-use plastics by always carrying a bag with me for groceries, a S'well bottle, and, if picking up food on the go, avoiding any extra packaging or plastic silverware! For my business, Underbares, all of our packaging is either created from recycled materials, biodegradable, or full recyclable. There's a lot of waste in the world--I don't want to add to it
Zanna Van Dyke, fitness blogger
What’s one major change you’ve made recently in a conscious effort to love and care for the Earth, and how can we all do our bit to keep our immediate and local natural surroundings thriving?
The main change I have made is raising my awareness of our impact on the natural environment in day to day life. If I see trash in nature, I pick it up. It is as simple as that. Removing plastic, glass or cardboard from the natural environment helps reduce the risk of it impacting wildlife and causing further damage.
Sjaniël Turrell, natural make up artist
I think the most effective change I’ve made over the last while was making the decision to start using only reusable wash cloths instead of wipes for changing nappies at home and only using wipes (biodegradable of course) on the run. I’m busy and exhausted most of the time so I would love to be one of those mums who only uses rewashable nappies, but as a freelancer without a nanny or cleaner I have to be realistic about what I could manage from day to day. Using washable cloths instead of wipes at home has changed my wipes usage from 3-4 packs per month to about 1 pack every 3 - 4 months - it’s one small change but I was amazed at how much of a difference it made!
Secondly, I have started using balm and oil cleansers to remove makeup with an organic cotton muslin that I can wash out after each use - I do this before washing my face with my favourite gentle cleanser from Twelve Beauty. This has saved me on using copious amounts of disposable cotton pads which I couldn’t live without before.
These aren’t massively life altering changes but I believe if we all make these small doable changes our collective choices have massive implications on positive impact for the earth. It’s about numbers of people making changes, not numbers of things for one person to change.
What are some of your favourite eco-friendly swaps you have made over the years?
Firstly, stopping eating red meat - after a while I didn’t even miss it, I actually started to feel healthier and got my iron from sources like veggies, nuts and seeds. Secondly, bringing my reusable coffee cup everywhere I go - it even gets you money off in shops. Thirdly, using reusable makeup remover cloths which you can wash after use and re-use. And finally, always bringing my own tote everywhere, where, again you save money not having to pay for a plastic one! It’s about making little steps yourself that make a huge difference, and if we all did several small things, there would be a real change!
Pauline Hansen, Founder of Pama London
You make gorgeous activewear from natural materials. What’s something you’re particularly proud of or excited about this year?
I’m super excited to be working with Econyl which is going to be one of our newest fabrics used in our leggings and bras. It’s made out of plastic waste from the oceans, meaning it not only recycles plastic waste, but also contributes to cleansing the oceans too! Our new Moon & Stars collection is all about cleaning up the oceans and preserving it. The products are also all recyclable, creating a circular economy for the journey of our clothes. I believe people should buy more clothes made with fabrics like Econyl, and that would be my top tip to anyone wanting to make positive changes to their habits. Buy less clothing and other things made from synthetic materials, and more
Pip Roberts, Yoga Teacher
What ‘s your favourite life-changing adaptation been in your daily routine?
Ditching pre-made / shop-bought mylks. Environmental reasons go beyond the impact of cattle farming and back to the single use plastics we use for milk, so I am making an effort not to use tetra-packed mylks.
I blitz up vegan milk (my favourites are oat (so cheap!) and black sesame), in the vitamix each morning, storing any left over in the fridge in glass bottles for later.