Living More Sustainably: Top Tips From The Experts & How To Upycle
When it comes to the art of upcycling, there’s a whole ocean of tips and tricks at hand. Luckily, some of them are available right here, including our best advice on how to save your food waste. There’s also some great pointers to help reduce your impact on the planet, courtesy of sustainability expert Clare Vooght. Let’s get started, shall we?
How to upcycle
Food waste has a big environmental impact if it ends up in landfill, with methane being a bi-product while it breaks down. Most food waste comes from parts that aren’t usually eaten e.g. fruit and vegetable peel. Do you ever suffer from a bit of eco-anxiety? Then try these upcycling tricks to help put your mind at ease.
Make a natural cleaning liquid: Repurpose used lemons and any other citrus peelings, or even leftover herbs, to create a non-toxic and natural cleaning solution. It’s easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.
What you’ll need
- Used lemon
- Citrus fruit peel
- Distilled white wine vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Place the leftover citrus in a spray bottle and cover with the white wine vinegar and leave the solution to rest for two weeks.
- Strain out the citrus peel and/or herbs and half of the vinegar. Fill the remaining half of the bottle with water and start cleaning.
Whizz up a leftover smoothie: Any veg hanging around the back of your fridge, or any fruit crushed in the bottom drawer? Think slightly mushed berries, leftover spinach, overripe bananas and that sort of thing. Grab your findings and freeze these in an airtight container or reusable freezer bag to save them for whenever you’re craving a smoothie. You won’t be able to tell that the apple was bruised months ago or the spinach was on its last legs.
Spice up your sugar: When your recipes call for vanilla pods or cinnamon sticks, don’t throw them away after you’ve used them. Instead repurpose them to make your own flavoured sugar. Simply clean the pod or stick, allow it to air-dry, and add them into your jar of sugar and enjoy the aromatic infusion in your tea, coffee, or cocktails. This trick also works well with citrus zest and lavender.
MAKE A COFFEE SCRUB: Coffee scrubs hit the highstreets a few years ago, and have been popular ever since. So why not try and make your own at home? Just save your used coffee grounds and leave to dry (yes, you still get to drink all the tasty goodness in the morning drink). Perfect to get silky smooth skin in the winter months.
What you’ll need
- 1 cup used and dried coffee grounds
- 1 cup sugar or salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- Melt your coconut oil if needed, and allow to cool without it going solid again.
- Mix your dried coffee with sugar or salt and combine with the oil. Store in an airtight container.
- To use, simply rub the coffee scrub onto the skin to exfoliate and then rinse your skin clean.
Fertilise your garden with eggshells: Eggshells contain helpful substances that can work as a fertiliser for green plants, and works to prevent the acidification of the soil. Be careful though as not all plants enjoy the calcium carbonate in eggshells, so avoid using this technique with rhododendrons, hydrangeas or berries. To make use of your eggshells, all you need to do is rinse them after use with water, and set aside to dry. Once dried, crush them into pieces and leave overnight in water in your watering can. The next day you can water your plants as usual and even mix the shells directly into the soil (just make sure you’ve crushed them into a powdery consistency first).
Resurrect that lettuce: Ever wondered what to do with the remainder of your lettuce, or do you find that there’s always so much of it? Then listen up, because you can easily regrow them and bring them back to life. Simply place your lettuce scraps in a bowl of water and leave in sunlight for four days. New roots and leaves will grow which you can propagate in some soil – who knew?
How to live more sustainably with eco-champion Clare Vooght
Keen to reduce your impact on the planet? Take a steer from sustainability expert Clare Vooght with her top tips below, and download her guide for more details on how to live more sustainably.
Try personal carbon swaps: When it comes to managing your carbon footprint, try to find a good balance between high and low carbon meals. Had two steaks and a cheeseboard in one week? Go vegan or dairy-free the next. Being a biodiversity champion really is key to keeping our planet going. Switching to loo roll made from recycled paper and avoiding non sustainable palm oil are both ways to protect the world’s forests as consumers – as is buying chocolate containing sustainably-grown cocoa.
Turn your digital life green: Our carbon footprints are 80% higher working from home in winter, according to research firm WSP. To lower your WFH footprint, switching to an eco energy provider and doing audio-only conference calls is a great start. Also use search engines that run on renewables: Ecosia plants trees with its profits, while Ekoru invests in conservation charities.
Eat with the seasonS: Since food doesn’t need artificial heat or light to grow during its natural season, eating seasonally reduces your carbon footprint by around 0.2 tons per year, according to a report in Environmental Research Letters. To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of flying from London to Frankfurt. Check out our best ‘in season’ recipes for February here, and keep an eye out for monthly updates on the blog.
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