Living Zero Waste & Eco- Friendly in a Big City

I live in Glasgow – the biggest city in Scotland and in my opinion one of the most interesting & vibrant. There are so many things to see and do, many of them free. From musesums, to shows and literally any kind of restaurant or café you can think of (including many vegan ones) it is the ideal place to base yourself in Scotland. There are even some zero-waste shops here (which I am going to write a post on shortly!) and there is usually always some sort of vegan festival or event happening here. But coming from a suburb in the outskirts of Aberdeen where it seems to be a lot easier to recycle things I’m going to go through some main points here on how we can do better to live zero-waste in bigger cities.

green trash bin on green grass field
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Go out of your way to find zero-waste products

This is definitely easier said than done and I completely acknowledge that, however it’s kind of what comes with going zero-waste and trying to buy more responsibly. It’s just a fact that supermarkets don’t have a huge range of unpackaged food yet so it’s inevitable that going out of your way to do shopping is going to happen.

A quick Google search (or Ecosia if you want to plant trees each time you search!) can lead you to many interesting shops, farmers markets and events where you can buy zero-waste produce. In Glasgow there are loads of farmers markets, mostly on weekends, where you can go and buy in season fruit & veg plus loads of other things. I bet every big city has one so have a browse on the internet to see if you can find anything!

brown and green mountain view photo
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Going out of your way to recycle…

Yep, this is a sad but true fact! Who would of thought it would be sooo difficult to recycle when you live in a city centre? I have lived in 2 flats where recycle bins weren’t even available anywhere near us and would have required a car to take the recycling to the nearest bin. We spent over 2 years not really recycling and felt sooo guilty about it, we even got onto the council a few times but nothing was done. I can’t believe that in one of the busiest cities in the UK that recycling would be so hard. Although the flat I’m in now does accept recycling, they don’t accept glass bottles or jars and there’s no way for us to get those to a recycling bin without a car. So I’ve planned to buy as little glass as possible and reuse any glass I do have, it’ll be challenging but life is all about adapting to new situations!

Making others aware of the options that we have for zero-waste and eco-friendly shopping!

Because I’m really into the environmentally friendly/zero-waste lifestyle I sometimes forget that other people haven’t really been exposed to it. Remember to be kind when you’re reminding someone of how they can live in a way where they’re minimising their impact on the environment. Leading by example is definitely an effective way to do things, when people see you doing new things they often ask questions which can bring up the subject and allow you to educate others on important issues in a friendly way. There is no need to be condescending about things!

Ditch the car if you can!

photography of roadway during dusk
Photo by Jiarong Deng on Pexels.com

I decided not to take a car with me to Glasgow… the pollution is already prominent enough that I don’t think it needs another diesel car contributing to it. There’s really no need for a car unless you’re work is in an awkward location or you go away a lot (which I do, but I have friends who can usually take me). If you can’t entirely ditch your car at least try to car share when possible! It’s also fun to take the train and bus to new places as you often get to see a new landscape… aaaaand you don’t have to worry about having a drink when you’re out!

That’s all my tips done for just now, but I’ll probably think of more later! Check out my other sustainability posts such as reducing your carbon footprint & 5 affordable things to know before living a sustainable lifestyle! Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions for other ways to live more eco-friendly or zero waste in the city or if you can help me with my recycling problem!

Ailsa xxx

 

3 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Household Waste

If you’re looking into a zero-waste lifestyle but you don’t know where to start then I have some really easy tips for you! Don’t be overwhelmed by trying to go zero-waste, it’s an amazing thing to do and you’re definitely on the right path by even considering it. I’m not fully zero-waste but I do try my best. So here are 5 ways you can start out with and I hope these are helpful to you!

1. Find a minimal packaging shop near you!

A shop such as wholefoods, bin inn or little independent farm shops often have zero-waste areas where we can fill up our containers with certain kinds of food such as

  • Porridge oats
  • Cereal
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Raisins/other dried fruit

The list actually goes on! Just give a wee google for shops like this in your surrounding area, then find some old jars or plastic containers in your house and start using these instead of buying new boxes of food all the time! This really reduces your household waste, can be cheaper and is way better for the environment.

2. Use reusable face pads instead of single use face wipes!

We can’t flush facial wipes down the toilet – which I know a lot of people still do – but this is so bad for the planet, since it probably goes straight to the sea. It’s also not great to throw face wipes in the bin since they aren’t even recyclable.

Instead, you can use reusable face-pads or a muslin cloth. You can easily buy these off of Amazon or other zero-waste websites. Just use hot water and soap to take off your make-up, or you can buy a natural cleanser as well to help get your skin really clean.

3. Grow your own herbs!

I’ve started to grow my own herbs in the garden. The plastic packaging on herbs in the supermarket isn’t actually necessary when you can just buy seeds from your local garden centre in a paper package instead. It’s usually cheaper or around the same price anyway, but you’ll get more for your money since you can keep growing them outside. It’s an amazing thing to start doing because you can dry the herbs or keep them fresh depending on what you’d like to do with them. I really recommend growing your favourite herbs, you can even do it inside as long as you put them near a window so they’re getting enough sunlight. Also when you buy herbs in plastic packaging I find you end up not using all of it up before it goes off!

So there you have 3 simple ways you can get started with reducing your food waste! Let me know if you do any of these or if you plan to start!

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint in These 6 Easy Steps!

For people who love travelling, it’s hard to accept the fact that flying is supposedly not the most environmentally friendly way to go from A to B. Although there is evidence from UK government statistics that driving isn’t much better – possibly even worse if we only consider domestic journeys! 50% of new vehicles in the UK are planned to be low emission by 2030 which is great, but there are ways right now that we can offset the impact we’re having! Here are 6 you can get started with <3 you can also refer to my post 5 Affordable Ways to be Eco-Friendly if you want more easy tips!

 

Drive More Responsibly

How many of us get road rage when we are trying to get somewhere in a massive hurry? I know in the UK it’s a big problem and I actually noticed road rage isn’t really a thing in a lot of other countries! Pete George talks in his blog about how much people in NZ love cars, and it’s very similar in the UK. Maybe it’s the high stress fast paced lifestyle a lot of people here lead, but it definitely comes out in our driving. It’s really not good to be that stressed and it can cause accidents, but it’s also worse for the environment. If you thrash your car about slamming the brakes on and accelerating too fast then you’re actually burning more fuel! So you’re also spending more money filling your car up. Try to drive more calmly and just give yourself plenty of time to get somewhere, you’ll feel a lot less stressed and you’re likely to prolong your car needing new tyres.

Buy From Carbon-Neutral Companies

Do a bit of research into companies you’re buying from and see what their production/transportation process is like. If they aren’t being transparent with their information on their website chances are they probably aren’t carbon neutral yet. Email any companies you regularly buy from and see what stage they are at with going carbon neutral! There are lots of companies just now who seem to be making that positive change which is great. Some of my favourites right now (not sponsored)

www.bambaw.com – see my recent post on a collab I did with them for a bamboo cutlery set!!

https://www.dilmahtea.com/sustainability/carbon-neutral-dilmah-tea.html – ethically sourced and sustainable tea!!

Buy Locally!!!!

Do everything in your power to support local businesses – even just changing one product at a time. It can definitely be more pricey and this isn’t attainable for everybody, but even if you can just try! You’ll be surprised at what you can find and it’s really nice to see local entrepeneurs come up with amazing products. I recently found a nut butter from my local area which is amazing, it’s called Hungry Squirrel, so I’ve decided to buy this now instead of supermarket brands. It is more expensive but I can afford to buy it so I will. See if you can find a local replacement for one of your favourite branded food items. I bet you’d really appreciate it if people in your area were supporting you instead of big commercial brands. Buying locally not only helps people in your surrounding area but it also means the food most likely travelled a lot less of a distance to get to you. This means saving carbon emissions from big lorries/planes – it’s totally worth it 🙂

Buy Less Stuff, But Better Quality

As a complete believer in quality over quantity this is something to start living by which will help you in different areas of your lifestyle!! Opting for a more minimalist based approach can not only make you feel less stressed out in general life, but it can help towards saving the planet too. Sometimes spending a little extra goes a long way – how about changing from face wipes to reusable face pads? Yes it might be more expensive short term but in the long run you’ll end up saving money AND a whole lot of unnecessary waste. How about changing from tampons to a menstrual cup?? Ok that might not work for everybody but just give it a shot and see what happens. Try things out and if they don’t work then you can change back and try to switch something else! This also goes for clothes, even if you are buying fast fashion products from high street shops why not make sure the things you’re buying are better quality/you can see yourself wearing for years to come.

Drink Plant Milk Instead of Cows Milk!

Agriculture is one of the leading emitters of greenhouse gases in the USA, and although in the UK it accounts for around 10% overall it’s still important to be mindful of this. In agriculture, carbon footprint is measured by the CO2, N2O and CH4 emissions from different processes which take part such as fermentation. Nitrous oxide and methane are the bigger problems, as they are a much more concentrated gas than carbon dioxide. Although aims are in place to reduce these emissions it’s probably still better to just opt for plant milk more often than not. My personal favourites are Oatly (oat milk) which you can buy from almost any supermarket now! And brand new on the market, Sproud, a scandanavian brand of milk which is made from peas.. Sounds gross but it’s not! My barista friends have told me it’s perfect for frothing up to make latte’s etc. Getting into the habit of asking for milk alternatives when you get your daily Costa/Starbucks/Tim Hortons or whatever is such an achievement and you should be proud of yourself if you manage to make this fundamental change in your life!

WALK more

Can’t stress this enough – if you are fit and able – walk, wherever is reasonable to walk to! The majority of people spend all day at a desk so try to walk some of your journey to or from work. I always refer to Shona Vertue cause I’m slightly obsessed with her – but she suggests moving around every 45 minutes from your seat. Although you wouldn’t be driving around your office building, getting into a habit of walking everywhere is actually kind of addictive and you’ll feel so much better. This is obviously location dependant, like if you’re living in London where it might be impossible to walk to work then don’t do that haha. But just decide whether a car is really necessary for certain journeys.

I hope some of these were helpful! You’re probably already doing some of those which is great. Please leave a comment below if you have other ideas 🙂