New year is often a time for reflection and making resolutions. I always start the year with good intentions but find it’s hard to keep them up when things get busy. This year I’m looking to put in place some changes that are easy wins. If you too are in that frame of mind right now, here are some ideas I found for making 2023 a little greener for you and your family.
Do A Waste Audit
Most of us have a small recycling bin in the house. If you don’t, just grab a bucket or a small bin bag and collect your recycling over the next week. Collect the stuff that the council take, soft plastics for supermarkets and also any items that can go to a TerraCycle or Sussex Green Living single-use plastic drop off locations.
Over the next week, have a look through, are there any items here that you could switch for ones that don’t use plastic? Fruit and veg is often cheaper to buy loose or consider taking your washing up liquid bottles and shower gels to a refill shop. Household trigger sprays can also be refilled with concentrated products like Ocean Saver, EcoVibe and even Cif now do a version.
Donate Your Stuff
Donate anything you don’t want or need anymore. Spend an hour on the weekend going through kitchen cabinets, the lounge and your wardrobe, and look for items you can donate to charity shops. You’d be surprised how much stuff you have to give. January is always a tight month and you may find that there’s lots of it you can sell. Apps like Depop and Vinted are great for your clothes or if you need more help, look to get professional help, Chirp based in Horsham is a professional declutterer.
Wash Your Clothes, Less
25% of the carbon footprint of clothes comes from the way we care for it and with the average lifespan of item of clothing being 3.3 years before we discard it, 90% of our clothing is being thrown away long before it needs to be.
Many jeans manufacturers recommend washing your jeans every 10 wears, can you try it for other items of clothing too? Think how much you could save on your energy bills from less washing as well as the environmental impact.
Get Outside More
Spending 30 minutes a day in nature can reduce stress monumentally and also helps you sleep better. It will give you an appreciation of nature and the beautiful part of the world that we are lucky enough to live in. How about trying a 30 minute walk a day? You could get fitter too and it improves our immune systems!
Giving is something we can all do more of. Not necessarily money but how about your time? Do you have expertise that an organization could benefit from? Can you donate 1-2 hours a week or a month to help? Sussex Green Living are always looking for volunteers to help with everything from recycling sorting to event support and social media. Check out our latest volunteer opportunities here.
Find a refill shop
Horsham District has lots of household and toiletry product refill shops and we have a list of our favourites HERE. If you can’t quite find what you need, there are online alternatives like Club Zero scheme or https://zerowastedelivery.com/
Learn to repair
We all have items at home that need fixing. We may not know how or may not have the time. Book a slot at the Horsham Repair Cafe or your local repair cafe and get it back in working order. Repairing is much cheaper than having to buy new.
Start a New Tradition
Cook and share a homemade meal together with others. Invite friends and family to get involved and cook a healthful meal from scratch every week. Cooking in bulk can save time, money and catching up with family and friends is something to look forward to in the dark winter months. Make it a tradition and encourage friends to returning the favour next time.
Rewild your garden
Many animals take shelter in your garden in winter. Don’t mow or rake up leaves and allow the wildlife to use the space as their habitat. Here are some guides to help you transform your outdoor space into a wildlife haven:
- How to make a hedgehog house
- What to feed garden birds
- How to make your garden a haven for wildlife throughout winter
- 10 plants that will invite pollinators into your garden
Try meat free Mondays
Meat and dairy production has a big effect on the climate and a vegetarian or vegan diet helps reduce our impact. You don’t have to full vegan to make a difference. Start simple with meat free Mondays, reduce how much meat you eat each week and try to buy local, seasonal or ethically sourced products. If you want to try Veganuary, there are some easy tips and recipes here https://veganuary.com/
Let’s make fast fashion unfashionable. Look at buying second hand, visit charity shops and download apps like Depop and Vinted for inspiration. Alternatively, reinvigorate your wardrobe by arranging a clothes swap party and invite your friends and family to bring items to swap.
Choose ethical make up
Vegan make up has grown extensively in the last few years but look at the packaging as well as the ingredients. Brands like Tropic are vegan but also offer a make up refill product and many of their products can be returned at end of use in exchange for new or free products
Invest time in recycling
Most supermarkets now take soft plastics like fruit and veg bags, pet food pouches and cereal bags to be recycled with their plastic bags so more of your waste can go back to the supermarkets. Find a list of what your supermarket takes HERE. Why not go a step further and try switching products to ones with less packaging, loose fruit and veg items can often be cheaper too.
Single-use Plastic Recycling
If your item can’t be recycled at the supermarket or with the council, you can bring it to our Sussex Green Living and TerraCycle Recycling drop off locations in Horsham and the surrounding villages. We recycle the hard to recycle items like toothbrushes, trigger sprays and even Marigold gloves. Find the full list of what we take and our drop off locations HERE
Manage your e-waste
Have you got a drawer full of old mobile phones and laptops? Well, Horsham District Council has collections for small electrical items.
When put in the household bins, batteries are a big problem causing fires at council waste facilities. It is now law that any shop who sells batteries has to provide recycling for them too, so it’s easy to take your old batteries back to the shops.
We take and recycle ANY inkjet cartridges and refills. If you would like to set up a collection box at work or school, up to £2 per cartridge will be donated to our environmental work. Just order a pre-paid box or bag from Recycle4Charity and use the Sussex Green Living code C73431. Or alternatively, our public drop off locations are:
- William Penn Primary School, Coolham, Nr Billingshurst, RH13 8GR
- Quaker Meeting House, Worthing Road, Horsham, RH12 1SL (please use the green bin by cottage door, right side of the main building, under the window)
- Sussex Green Hub, last Saturday of the month, United Reformed Church, RH12 1PT
11 million tonnes of organic material (such as vegetable peelings, tea bags and food scraps) are produced each year by UK homes and much of which ends buried in landfill sites. Creating a compost heap is great for fertilising soil and can also be used as a mulch to reduce the growth of weeds.
Reduce food waste by creating Leftover Thursdays. Make stews, salads or pies with the fresh ingredients left in your fridge. Get inspiration for leftover meals from this column in The Guardian or from Love Food Hate Waste
By Melanie Nurse