Over the last few months, I’ve done a lot of research into how we can be more sustainable in our everyday lives. I’ve realised that the space where we can probably make the biggest impact, is the space we live in: our home! Our humble abode presents a great opportunity for us to start making changes that have a genuinely positive impact on the planet.
This month, together with Clipper Teas*, I’m looking at our home environment and exploring ways in which we can live more eco-friendly by making our home greener.
Why do we need a greener home?
Before we get into it, let’s take a look at what a greener home actually means. When talking about a ‘greener’ home, I’m referring to living in a way that is not harmful to the environment or minimises our impact on the planet as much as possible. It’s not necessarily about installing expensive solar panels, rather about small changes that every one of us can do straight away.
You may have heard of Earth Overshoot Day, which marks the date when demand for Earth’s ecological resources exceeds what the planet can regenerate in that year. This year, it fell as early as July 29th! It goes without saying that it’s now more important than ever to think about the positive changes we can make in our daily routine to protect our planet and resources.
So what can we do in the last few months of the year to really make a difference? Here are three easy-to-implement tips for a greener home:
Manage your waste better
I have to admit, talking about waste management feels very grown-up! Nevertheless, it is an area where we can make a real difference! That’s because we produce an enormous amount of waste at home. In fact, every two hours we throw out enough stuff to fill the world’s largest container ship with trash. Globally, that’s 2 billion tons of household waste a year!
It might be obvious, but mixing several types of waste, such as plastics, food waste and other packaging materials presents a significant problem since it makes recycling more difficult. Thus, separating your waste in the right way is crucial.
To manage your waste better, finding out about your local waste management and recycling options is key. There are great resources like Recycle Now that help you find out what you can recycle at home and locally.
Incredibly, a recent study found that almost half of the food waste in the average rubbish bin could have been composted! If you have the option to compost your food waste, this presents a great opportunity to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and your impact on the environment.
Fortunately, many brands, including Clipper, are committed to being very transparent on how to dispose of their products and recycle their packaging, contributing to better waste management and increased recycling rates. Clipper’s pillow tea bags can actually be composted or put in the food bin! Don’t believe it’s true?! Read their handy packaging guide to find out more for yourself!
Lastly, rethinking your shopping behaviour can also massively help in reducing waste, especially plastic waste. You can read more about the plastic problem here.
Reduce your food waste
A great way to manage your household waste better is to generate less food waste in the first place. Shockingly, 13% of edible food and drink purchased by households are wasted. That’s equivalent to almost three meals a week going uneaten.
Storing food better and planning your meals in advance can help to significantly reduce your food waste. Plus, did you know that you could eat carrot tops? Or banana peels? Or broccoli stalks? They taste absolutely delicious in risotto!
Here are my favourite food waste hacks:
Try zero-waste recipes
Zero-waste cooking has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years. This cooking concept refers to using every single part of vegetables, fruits or whatever else may be required for your recipe. In other words, trying to leave behind as little food waste as possible.
Not only are you doing good for the environment, but you’re also required to become a little bit more creative in the kitchen and get to try new dishes and flavour combinations. Here are some of my favourite zero-waste recipes:
- Banana peel ‘pulled pork’ – Max is the king of creative zero-waste recipes! This recipe is bananas, literally and fights food waste. What’s not to love?!
- Zero-waste oat cookies – these cookies are made using up oat pulp, and go super well with a delicious cup of Clipper organic tea.
- No waste broccoli risotto – this risotto makes use of the whole broccoli and tastes absolutely amazing.
Store food better
Most importantly, when it comes to storing food, buy only the amount of fresh produce you will use in a week. A rule of thumb when storing food: The softer the vegetable or fruit is, the sooner you should use it.
Also, pay attention to how you store food. Many fruits, like bananas, avocados and peaches, produce ethylene gas, which acts like a ripening hormone. This means they can speed up the ripening process of other produce. The trick to keeping your fruit and veg fresher for longer is to avoid storing them right next to each other. Give them space to breathe.
Another brilliant idea is to avoid materials like cling film or aluminium foil by repurposing jars from nut butter or sauces for storage.
Save food with meal prep
Preparing your meals in advance not only allows you to reduce your food waste and cook your meals more cost-effectively but also to establish a nutritious diet and routine. Why not start by prepping your breakfast, lunch, or dinner for one week and see how it works for you, or simply start with two or three meals a week and take it from there.
Make your own
Another great way to live more sustainably and create a greener home is by making your own food staples and household products.
I’m a huge tea person, I’d need to buy a lot of plant milk from the stores! This ends up being a bit pricey! Not to mention some of the packaging contains plastic, thus recycling can become a little bit tricky. If you add it all up, disposing of about three milk cartons per week results in a staggering 150 milk cartons per year! This is why I love making my own plant-based milk at home.
Making your own plant milk isn’t that difficult either, and allows you to vastly reduce your food packaging waste and the amount of waste sent to landfills. It also allows you to only produce the amount you really need, reducing the risk of anything going to waste as a result.
One of my favourite kinds of plant milk, and probably the easiest to make at home, is oat milk! It’s perfect for adding to Clipper’s organic black tea, baking recipes and more!
Here’s all you need to make it:
- 1 cup/80g whole rolled oats (I usually buy these packaging-free at a zero-waste store)
- 3 cups/710ml water
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract(optional)
To make it, combine the oats, water, maple syrup and vanilla (optional) in a high-speed blender and blend for 30-45 seconds.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl or jug and strain the milk mixture. I recommend following this process twice. Instead of the strainer, you can also use a thin tea towel or a clean T-shirt, but in my experience, a strainer should do the job and makes less of a mess.
Transfer oat milk to a sealed container or bottle and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Like the idea of making your own plant milk? Here are a few other things you can make at home:
- Household cleaners and detergents
- Beauty products such as deodorants, moisturiser or lip balm
- Spice mixes, condiments and sauces
*this blog post was created as part of a paid partnership with Clipper Teas
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Co-Founder of Veano