Earth Day 2021: Simple, sustainable changes that you can make at home for a better planet
When is Earth Day?
Earth Day is celebrated on 22 April across the world. It started in 1970 to tackle environmental issues such as climate change. As a planet we need to cut our carbon emissions in half by the end of the next decade in order to reduce the effects of the current climate crisis.
What is Earth Day about?
Earth Day is an annual event designed to drive action on the environment and climate crisis all over the world.
Simple lifestyle changes and hacks that make a difference to the planet:
There are some small easy steps that individuals can take right now to make simple lifestyle changes that are environmentally friendly and will help make meaningful change for the planet.
Around the Home:
Reuse and Upcycle Your Furniture
Instead of replacing older furniture a fresh coat of paint or new hardware can made all the difference. A vibrant colour on a vintage cabinet can look revive it, a simple coat of old white on aged dark mahogany furniture can instantly create a calm and cohesive look. We love using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, it's made in Oxford (so has a low carbon footprint), comes in good old fashioned tins that can be recycled, is certified toy safe and a little goes a long way. If you don't know where to start have a look at our youtube channel for short videos with our top tips.
Did you know that from February 2010, shops selling more than 32kg of batteries a year (approx 345 x four-packs of AA batteries) have to provide battery recycling collection facilities in-store. This means there are now lots more places where you can take your old batteries for recycling. Most supermarkets will provide this facility.
In the kitchen...
Reduce plastic consumption. Plastics last for years, threaten wildlife and spread toxins. Plastic contributes to global warming, most are made from chemicals that come from planet-warming fuels like gas and oil.
Replace tea bags with loose tea.
The majority of tea bags contain plastic. Make tea time a ritual again, a tea infuser makes it as quick and easy. We love our star shaped brass tea strainer which is beautiful and environmentally friendly. Loose tea tastes much nicer too!
Choose veg without the shrink wrap or packaging
When shopping for fruit and veg you can use use paper or reusable cotton bags. You also tend to buy only what you need instead of a pack so your food waste will be lower too. Fruit and veg that it is season has a smaller carbon footprint than those that are imported out of season.
Swap clingfilm for food wraps
Cling film is made from crude oil. Beeswax wraps keep sandwiches and cheese just as fresh. Salad leaves and bread last longer in a beeswax wrap too. They're reusable, biodegradable and far more attractive too! These metal bag clips are handy too for resealing packets.
A traditional plastic washing up brush will last around 400 years and shed bristles which are dangerous to marine life. By using a wooden washing up brush you can still have sparkling dishes but these are sustainable and at a much lower environmental impact.
In the Bathroom:
Use a bar of soap
We shower and wash our hands many times a day. Consider swapping to plastic free soap bars instead of liquids. Our beautiful naturally scented triple milled soaps are available in a range of fragrances. Our luxury soap on a rope with Argan Oil is the most popular for men and the Cotton Flower scent is the most popular for women. We also have a conditioning shampoo bar for your hair. Soap tends to last a lot longer than their bottle equivalent and is therefore more cost effective.
Bubble bath usually arrives encased in plastic. Consider swapping to Himalayan Salt Soaks instead. They are packed full 84 different minerals, use this natural bath soak to soothe and repair damaged skin and promote cell renewal.
Brushing your Teeth
Toothbrushes are an everyday essential, by changing to a bamboo toothbrush it's a real quick win. Ours are just £2.50 each so around the cost of a standard plastic one. You can go further by getting your toothpaste in a jar instead of a tube.
Skincare and Beauty
Lots of cosmetics companies are now using glass jars and aluminium tubes instead of plastic. Our favourite is the Upcircle range which also recycles left over ingredients from food production. Their coffee scrubs are simply fabulous.
Out and About
Don't mow the lawn as often. Lawn mowers are polluting and also destroy every buttercup, dandelion and daisy. Leaving even a small part of your garden to grow wild can help pollinating insects such as bees to thrive. We love our Beebombs; native wildflower seed bombs that can be simply thrown into the garden and grow. Designed to attract bees these are pretty and environmentally friendly. They're made in Dorset and are plastic free. They make a great gift too.
Get a reusable coffee cup
Because of plastic film on the inside of most paper cups very few are actually recycled. Investing in a reusable coffee cup is a quick win. We love our Bamboo coffee cups which are completely plastic free and biodegradable at the end of their life.
Get a reusable water bottle
Avoid single-use plastic bottled water by taking your own bottle with you. There are lots of places that will fill it up for free. Our favourite is our stainless steel bottle with bamboo lid which is currently on offer at £10.
Take a bag shopping
By taking a reusable bag shopping with you you can save previous resources but there is just one problem - remembering to take it with you! Make it a habit to stash it back in your handbag or backpack when not in use, have a few in the car or keep it visible like in the coat cupboard or by the door. Our reusable string bags are available in a range of colours and are made of 100% cotton so they're washable and biodegradable at the end of their life.
Recycling and Donating Clothes
Donating clothes and shoes to charity is always a good idea but this year with COVID and lockdown complications lots of charity shops either aren't open or aren't taking donations. You can recycle clothes instead, some larger retailers such as H&M and TK Maxx take them in store. Most local councils also have cloth recycling facilities - check out the recycle now website for more details of your nearest one.
Look for Recycled Products
Recycled products have developed in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Our favourite new addition to our shop is our new Hug Rug range of woven blankets, rugs and cushions made from recycled plastic water bottles. Unbelievably they are beautifully soft and feel like wool, they look fabulous too in a stunning range of colours
Vote with Your Wallet
Many smaller businesses are making great efforts to reduce their environmental impact. As part of our personal drive to reduce our plastic usage in our business we use recyclable packaging for all of our orders. FSC packaging from responsible sources, cardboard boxes, paper tape, paper packaging, FSC paper for packing slips. We have to use plastic when sending paint via courier however we do make sure it's recycled and recyclable. This is a financially expensive choice for a small business but we feel that it's the right way to do business for us and we hope that our customers recognise this too.
Ditch the car for a bike or walk
Our cars are our biggest contributors to climate change. As a small business we exchanged our large 2.5 litre VW van for a smaller more modern energy efficient model that is far more fuel efficient. It means that our local deliveries are much more environmentally friendly. We also aim to walk or cycle to the shop from home at least once a week.
Top tip: If you do have to use the car make sure that your tyres are correctly inflated. This has a big impact on fuel consumption and tyre wear.
Cats and Dogs
If you have a cat, choose cat litter that is made from a plant based material such as wheat or recycled newspaper. If you have a dog make sure that your dog poo bags are biodegradable.
Every Little Helps
We hope you have found this list useful, in the words of Anne-Marie Bonneau: "We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly."