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Old fashioned values are environmentally friendly?

 

I have been thinking recently about how old fashioned values are environmentally friendly – how the world would be a much better place, from an environmental aspect, if we were to make better use of some of the values that our parents and grandparents held so dear.

I recognise, of course, that we now have greater choices, greater flexibility and in many cases more disposable income. I also recognise that some of the choices that we make are there to make us happy and that life is for living.  However it is possible to mitigate our own negative environmental impacts.

I am not suggesting that everyone lives a dull, self-reliant, 100% environmentally friendly existence. However, by making a few considered eco changes – without being a full blown eco warrior – then the planet will thanks us all.  Let’s never forget that the action of two or more can produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

Why Should we Bother?

There are so many reasons, but on a personal level I feel that many old fashioned values strive for zero waste and therefore would save us all money, but as a planet, we would use less of our finite resources, thus reducing the damage that we are constantly making to our planet.

The evidence shows that, thanks to human activity, global temperatures are rising at a level which isn’t sustainable for the environment to be able to survive.  Put succinctly, we should bother because we need to bother.

I believe that the key is not to stop using any one thing totally, but to be more sensible about our overall consumption.

Can old fashioned values improve environmental outputs?
Freeze left overs

Food

As I write we are currently in Food waste Action Week 2021. The organisation behind this, WRAP have made three suggestions which seem very simple and very wise.

  1. Plan your shopping – take a list, only buy what you know you will eat
  2. Make your food last longer – use your freezer, recognise that “use by” dates do not mean that the food is no longer edible
  3. Use everything that you buy – if have leftovers, make a new recipe from them

Personally, I more often freeze left overs from meals and then periodically we have, what I like to call, a “Freezer Mezze”, where we get a range of plastic pots of food from the freezer and put them all out on the table. It certainly makes for an intersting flavour combination, at times.

Textiles

We live in a throwaway society, in this is very prevalent in the clothing industry.  Apparently there are people who refuse to wear their clothing again, once they have posted a picture of themselves in it on Instagram!

The reality is that most clothes have the potential to have a very long life.  Here are some of my tips:

  • If your clothes (especially jeans) are faded, then dye them
  • If your jumpers are bobbling – shave them (I’m not even kidding)
  • You find a small hole, fix it
  • Your T shirt is looking old – use them at bedtime
  • If your clothes no longer fit or you no longer like them – take to the charity shop (along with your other no-longer wanted items)

However, when textiles have eventually reached their end of life – they can all be taken to your local charity shop who sell them to the “rag-man” and earn money for the weight.  Damaged, soiled, etc. they all have recycling potential within the supply chain. Just make sue that they are clean.

And a final one – how about using a handkerchief rather than wads of tissues, and cleaning cloths rather than kitchen roll.

Recycling textiles still happens today
You can make a new bar of soap, from old remnants

Home Setting

It’s funny how, in particular, I imagine that some of these suggestions will go down the worse, but here are some of the things that I do:

  • Use a bar of soap instead a bottle. It lasts much longer, is much less wasteful and there is a wonderful range of choices again.
  • Follow this on to the next logical stage – keep all of your small soap remnants and, in time, make a new bar of soap
  • Share a bath. We all (I think) know that taking a bath uses more water than a shower. Well if you can share your bath, all the better!
  • Don’t buy storage jars and tubs for your foodstuffs, re-use coffee jars and take-away tubs. Both can be cleaned in the dishwasher, so are completely safe.
  • Re-use gift bags and oversized wrapping paper. Cut up Christmas cards to make gift tags.
  • Only print things out if you really need to, and if you do need to, then print double sided.
  • Use rechargeable batteries (but if you don’t then make sure you recycle dead batteries)

Out of home

There are so many things in our control to limit the number of finite resources that we use outside of our homes, but here are just a few of things that I do:

  • Walk or cycle instead of taking the car
  • Take a picnic in reusable packaging and eat from reusable plates. There really is no need for disposable plates and cutlery. If you have the ability to carry your picnic to your destination, you have the ability to take the dirties away again.
  • Try to make some purchases that have less food miles – this would mean food that is in season and grown in your own country. Have you been to a Pick Your Own farm recently?
  • Always take carrier bags with you.
  • Remember to take a reusable water bottle with you
  • Buy pre-owned things – from cars to food processors, from books to furniture. Personally, I love Facebook Marketplace, but there are plenty of options out there, such as Freecycle and Preloved
  • Make best use of the “repair cafes” that are springing up all over the place. Why buy new when you can get the help of a repair café to fix something that you already own.
Repair Cafes reduce waste

I hope that you have found this blog useful. Good luck on your journey.