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LIVING SUSTAINABLY IN LOCKDOWN: AN EXPERT'S GUIDE


For us mountain lovers, lockdown isn’t exactly what we had in mind for a season meant to be filled with new challenges and bucket-list adventures. But just because we can’t get out there to do what we’d planned right now, doesn’t mean we can’t put our minds (and bodies) to new challenges at home and on our doorstep. 

 

Maybe you’ve taken up running again, maybe you’re practicing yoga, maybe you’ve set up a home gym in your garden; there are plenty of chances for a little self-improvement right now, but what about other things you care about but simply haven’t had time for before now? What about sustainable living and protecting the planet?

 

The global lockdown has already had dramatic effects on the world’s carbon footprint* as social distancing has reduced the amount of fossil fuels being consumed by people, businesses and entire nations in a matter of months. We hope lockdown won’t last forever, but this temporary let-up in emissions could do some serious good for our planet. But that alone is not enough, so how can you live more sustainably and use all that free time to reduce your own environmental impact, not just now, but after lockdown too? 

 

Here are some of our top tips on how to up your sustainability game during lockdown and help protect the outdoors for when it’s ready for us once again.

Shop Local

With supermarkets overwhelmed by panic-buyers and not able to get everything back in stock as quickly as normal, it can be a little tricky to get what you need in lockdown. But why not avoid the queues and empty shelves and save your pennies to support your local community or high street instead? Many of the small independent stores are well-stocked, quieter and desperately need the support of their customers in difficult times. If you’ve got a local farm shop or anywhere that sells organic or plastic-free produce, even better! Remember to choose sustainable goods where you can such as non-toxic detergents.

Grow Your Own

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When it's hard to get what you need in shops, who’s to say that you can’t bake your own bread, grow your own veg and herbs or even make your own soap? What you end up with is super fresh food and non-toxic toiletries with no plastic packaging and less waste. Plus, it’s a fun way to fill the time and feel like you’re being productive when you might be going a bit stir-crazy!

Get Busy In The Kitchen

Lockdown is the perfect time to dig out those random ingredients from the back of the cupboard and try out some new recipes to use up bits and pieces that you’d otherwise forget about or throw away. Food consumption and wastage is a massive contributor to climate change, so why not use this time to get inventive and cook up a storm during lockdown? Try out some new recipes, invent your own or even try cutting down consumption of products such as meat, dairy and palm oil. Cooking can also be great for mental health and can provide a welcome creative distraction during lockdown. 

Resist The Urge

Though it might be tempting to head online and spend all that money you’re not using on going out with friends, your gym membership or fuel costs, the environmental impact of shipping online orders is still the same. Sure, if you’re looking to upgrade your kit for when adventure is on the cards again or you’re after some new sportswear to help you stay fit in lockdown, by all means buy what you need, but try to do it in as few orders as possible to reduce the number of journeys made by delivery drivers. Similarly, don’t fall into the trap of shopping online for things you like but simply don’t need right now whilst you’re at home. The planet will thank you for it.  

Recycle Or Repair

Did you know that in the UK currently over 300,000 tonnes of clothing gets sent to landfill each year?*** Rather than ordering new, why not try your hand at repairing that favourite tee you caught on your zip, or patch up those trousers you snagged out climbing? If it’s beyond repair, think about whether you could repurpose the fabric into something else. Check out Patagonia’s Worn Wear collection of recycled and recrafted clothes for inspiration. If there really is no hope, just make sure you recycle it wherever you can. There are charity initiatives, such as Oxfam’s Shwopping, that will take your unwanted clothes even if they are damaged. And this idea doesn’t just apply to clothes, the same goes for those broken household items at the back of the garage that you still haven’t managed to fix. No excuses: get handy and help save the planet, as well as some cash.

Go Green

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When it comes to household bills, let’s face it: most of us just choose the cheapest option or stick with the same provider when renewal date rolls around. But being at home with time on our hands provides the perfect opportunity to research the many green energy suppliers out there, or at the very least find out whether your current supplier has greener tariff options. We’re talking energy from renewable sources such as solar or tidal power, rather than finite fossil fuels such as oil and coal. You don’t need us to lecture you on the harmful effects of fossils fuels on our planet**, nor do you need us to tell you that green energy has numerous benefits, but with more choices of renewable energy providers than ever before, there’s really no excuse. Take some time to do your homework and consider making the switch.

In With The New

Now that we’re spending more time at home, use the time to get innovative. Before you put something in the bin, pause and think about whether there is some way it could be repurposed. Looking to grow your own herbs but don’t have any plant pots? Take an empty plastic milk bottle, cut it in half and poke some holes in the bottom. Have a dig around in the garage and turn some of those old planks of wood into a set of shelves. If you have kids, get them involved in crafting and help teach them the importance of reducing waste. You’ll be surprised how much you can save from landfill once you get those creative juices flowing. And if you don’t know where to start, there are plenty more ideas just a Google search away…

Drive Less, Walk More

Most of us are guilty of using the car for a quick journey to the shops when we’ve run out of milk but, as the saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Right now, the whole world is now longing to get outside so whilst you can’t get out there as much as you’d like, try ditching the car and walking to get groceries instead. It might take you five minutes longer than the drive, but chances are it’ll be time well spent and it’s good for your health and the planet’s too. Just remember to follow government guidelines. 

Wrap Up, Don't Turn Up

As the days get longer and the temperatures rise, there’s no mistaking that the great British summer is on its way. But, while the days can be filled with glorious sunshine, the evenings can still be chilly. Rather than reaching for the dial on the thermostat to keep you warm when the sun goes down, try adding a base layer or mid-layer leave that heating off. Let’s face it, we’ve all got a wardrobe full of clothes designed to keep us warm when we’re out there, so why not put them to good use in lockdown and reduce your energy bills while you’re at it?

Sources:

*https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-coronavirus-set-to-cause-largest-ever-annual-fall-in-co2-emissions 

** https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/energy/reference/renewable-energy/

*** https://www.wrap.org.uk/content/textiles-overview


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