I’ve read quite a few articles lately about sustainable tourism and using less plastic when travelling, which are great, but it got me thinking, what about when we’re not travelling?
How can us Londoner’s live more sustainably at home and help save the planet too?
Reduce Unneeded Plastic When Eating Out at Markets
One thing that has bugged me for a long time is the amount of unneeded plastic used every day in London, particularly when it comes to street food markets. Now I’m not saying you need to stop eating street food – because let’s face it, street food is great! – but there are still things we can all do to reduce the amount of plastic used at these markets.
For example, one of my favourite food stalls for a working lunch (who shall remain unnamed), pack the food up into a container then put it into a small plastic bag along with plastic cutlery.
This is not necessary.
I can easily carry the box of food the 5-minute walk back to my office without the help of a plastic bag. And once I’m back I can use the cutlery supplied in our office kitchen. So instead of taking these extra items then just throwing them away I just ask not to have them.
Or, if your office isn’t supplying cutlery, how about purchasing a reusable set of your own to take into work? Try a bamboo set. This one from Amazon even comes with a reusable straw.
Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle And Refill It For Free
In a country such as the UK where water from the tap is clean and perfectly safe to drink, regularly buying single-use bottled water is another unnecessary use of plastic. Instead, invest in a reusable bottle to take with you when on the go.
It was even announced earlier this month that London is trialling a free water bottle refill initiative in a bid to cut plastic waste. Businesses such as Costa Coffee, Leon and even the Tate Modern and National Theatre will offer people free tap water refills all across the city.
And Remember To Take It To Work With You
I was thrilled when my office recently made the change over from plastic cups to reusable water bottles. Now instead of 500+ plastic cups being thrown out at the end of every working day, each person has their own bottle which can be refilled and reused. This is a change everyone can make, whether that’s through a company scheme or bringing your own bottle into the office each day.
Cut Down On The Coffee Cups
Did you know that the UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year and less than 1% of these are recycled? This is an issue that is not being taken lightly by many, with calls on the Government to introduce a 25p “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups.
A large number of coffee shops are already doing their part to help this, with chains such as Costa, Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Greggs and Pret-a-Manger offering anything from 20p to 50p off for customers using reusable coffee cups.
Many stores also sell their own reusable cups for as little as £1 or purchase an unbranded one online.
Give Vegan a Try Every Now and Again
STOP! Before you scroll past this one, let me say one thing. I am a huge meat-lover and I am certainly not telling you to become vegan if you don’t want to. However, recently I challenged myself to give a few vegan and vegetarian dishes a try and was extremely surprised by what I found.
Italian chain Rossopomodorro do a delicious vegan pizza with peppers, courgettes, aubergines, pan-fried friarielli and vegan mozzarella, whilst Cupcakes and Shhht do amazing cakes and sweet treats that you wouldn’t even know were vegan unless someone told you.
The WWF explains that the vast amounts of land, water and feed needed for livestock is destroying habitats and critically endangering species, and therefore reducing your meat intake, even just one day a week, can reduce your carbon and water footprint and help safeguard wildlife.
Don’t Let Good Food Go To Waste
Did you know that 1/3 of all food produced worldwide is wasted? Yet, 795,000,000 people worldwide are starving!
Luckily many London stores are doing their best to stop unnecessary food wastage. Many popular stores, including Itsu, Wasabi and POD reduce their food prices by 50% an hour before closing so that perfectly good food doesn’t end up in the bin.
There’s also a great new app called Too Good To Go where Londoner’s can pay as little as £2 for leftover dishes at restaurants such as YO Sushi at the end of the night.
So either save yourself some money on dinner or pick up something for the homeless person you walk past on the way home every evening, whilst also reducing the amount of wasted food in London.
Go ‘Light’s Out’ For Earth Hour!
Did you know that the 24th March is WWF’s Earth Hour, in which people all across the planet go ‘lights out’ for 60 minutes at 8.30pm – a symbolic show of solidarity for the planet? This includes many of London’s most iconic landmarks such as the London Eye, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace.
So stock up on candles, turn those lights off, and spend some quality time with friends and family for one evening a year.
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