6 Ways to be more sustainable in your daily life

Be the change you want to see

Is it just us or did it feel a bit like Covid was the planet’s way of telling us to go to our rooms and think about what we’ve done?

Staying at home made us realise that big environmental change (less smog over the city, clear water in the Venice canals, wild deer freely roaming east London streets) is in fact the sum of the small, everyday actions we all make.

So in addition to embracing a slower pace of life post lockdown (see our pandemic positives piece for more on that), let’s take forward what we’ve learnt to reduce our individual and collective carbon footprint.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

If you are a caffeinated contributor to the 95-million cups of coffee drunk in the UK on a daily basis then your sustainable thinking should start as soon as you consider your morning brew. Having a reusable keep-cup not only means you’re legible to delicious coffee discounts (across Get Living sites and beyond), a reusable cup = fewer greenhouse gas emissions and less plastic waste.

While Greta Thunberg marches to UN climate summits, we mustn’t consider our own lifestyle tweaks as feeble. We know it takes oceans of fossil fuels to make and ship single use plastics, we’ve seen the horrors of plastic filled oceans and beaches, we know plastic terrorises our wildlife and then takes 500 years to biodegrade (up to 500-years for a plastic bottle and 20-years for a plastic bag) – so do we really need that bottle of water, when there’s clean water coming out of our taps?

Let’s consume as wisely as we can. ‘Throwaway’ toothbrushes/razors/plastic coated cotton buds – there’s plastic-free alternatives for all of these.

Savvy beauty and lifestyle brands have been rethinking product packaging too, choosing glass and aluminium alternatives and offering refilling solutions. Refilling your favourite beauty products instead of purchasing a new one can save up to 70 per cent CO2 emission, 65 per cent energy and 45 per cent water. See brands like Olay, Ren, Rituals, L’Occitane, MAC, Charlotte Tilbury (to name a mere few) while The Body Shop are trialling ‘refilling stations’ in some of their stores.

Every little really does help.

One of our favourite beauty brands, Haeckels says NO to plastic. 

It’s fashion, Brenda...

Fashion is accountable for £28 billion of the UK economy but it also produces greenhouse gas emissions of 1.2bn tonnes a year, which is larger than that of international flights and shipping combined. More than 60 per cent of fabric fibres are synthetics, derived from fossil fuels, so if and when our clothing ends up in a landfill (about 85 per cent of textile waste goes to landfills or is incinerated), it will not decay.

In the April issue of Elle, Fashion Editor Felicity Kay told us, ‘The coolest thing you can do right now is have a more conscious approach to fashion and I’m definitely proud of wearing the same items repeatedly,’ admitting that a slip skirt she bought in the M&S lingerie sale for £2 (that she styles with oversized men’s shirts) is one of the pieces she gets complimented most on – and then there’s the trusty men’s blazer she’s been wearing for 6-years, ‘ If I can’t get 8 outfits out of a piece of clothing, I won’t buy it.’

While some brands try to serve up more ‘conscious’ clothing collections, the adage ‘buy less, buy better’ should speak to us all. Read Laura Bravo’s brilliant account on breaking up with fast fashion, let’s bring back the joy of snaffling out sartorial gems this ‘Boot Sale’ season,  and when buying new let’s shop as wisely as our budgets allows.

Stella, continues to fly the eco fashion flag. Stella McCartney SS20

Step to it.

With 162-km of protected cycle lanes across London plus the multi-million-pound Beelines project in Manchester ‘offering up ‘Dutch’ style walking and cycling lanes’ there’s no better time to GET ON YER BIKE. Think outside the sweaty commuter box and choose a bicycle or your own feet as your daily means of travel. Summer sunshine, free exercise, guaranteed endorphins, plus it costs nada and it’s not detrimental to the environment.

In a bid to being more mindful – starting your day with a stroll is the perfect way to align your thoughts, clear your head and mentally prepare you for what lies ahead. Once your thoughts are in order, you’ll feel calmer. Look at the sky (watch out for the cyclists and traffic, mind) – what are you grateful for? No, really – try it.

ALSO, DON’T MISS: Get Living has partnered with Pro Bike Services to offer free bicycle health checks for all East Village residents. Pro Bike Services will be available on the last Wednesday of every month between 6pm – 8pm, outside the Welcome Office on Celebration Avenue. Just bring your proof of address.

Lunch, like a boss.

A positive from lockdown? The rediscovered art of lunching. It’s amazing how inventive you become when hunger strikes and you’ve got to create something edible from the remnants of your cupboard/fridge. 31-ways with the humble chickpea – who knew? And my oh my, how delicious (…maybe we need to run a recipe feature so you can see for yourselves. You’ll never buy pre-made hummus again).

We digress.

The health benefits of tasty leftovers or a rustled-up wrap/store-cupboard-pasta over a pre-packed sandwich are endless, not to mention cost effective, then add to that the avoidance of said sandwich packaging too.

As we navigated lockdown lunches, even our over-ripe bananas were whisked into Instagram-able cakes.

Less haste, less waste.

One of the things we can take from Covid-hell:  shop smart and lunch smarter.

Get Plogging.

Blogging, is like so last year. Forget self-celebration (SNORE), woke kids are plogging. Plogging, involves jogging, hiking or walking, while picking up litter from the city’s parks or streets as you go – in teams – like a loud and proud eco-army.

It originated in Sweden in 2016 (they call it plocka upp), and it’s as beneficial for the health-conscious as it is for those concerned about our environment, burning around 600 calories per hour and working your core, arms and glutes. Get involved, and stay in the loop with Plogolution.

The bees-knees.

Did you know that if every bee on earth was to die today, the human population would have just four years to live?

Bees are essential to the environment because we rely on them and other insects to pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables. But bees are under threat and without them so is our food and economy.

SOO… This summer we brought in beehives at East Village and some of you are going to be the beekeepers! We want E20 to be a bee-friendly community, so we’re looking for residents who are keen to be trained to help care for our beehives in Victory Park. We are hoping that will have our first pot of East Village honey by summer 2021! If you are interested in volunteering and becoming one of our official Bee Keepers, please contact Keir Wilson at East Village management