Tuesday, June 18, 2024

How Thurrock Families Can Live More Sustainably in the Next 12 Months

Although 12 months does not seem like a long period of time, it is long enough to introduce changes that can become habit-forming. Even just taking on board a few important ideas can impact your life for the better and keep your immediate location of Thurrock a great place to live.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

#1 Use reusable bags when shopping

Although most shops, if not all, now promote the use of reusable bags rather than disposable bags, it is still very easy to purchase them at the shop instead of taking the ones that you already have.

However, this additional expense can be avoided by making sure that you keep some reusable bags in your car, or even invest in some handy folding away bags to keep in your purse or jacket pocket. Of course, you can still use your plastic bags. Still, in the long-term, material bags will last longer and generally carry more items, therefore making them a far superior shopping accompaniment to the expensive plastic bags sold by the till in most shops.

#2 Buy foods with lower or no plastic packaging

It is likely that when you have been food shopping, you have noticed the amount of plastic packing that is used on your everyday products. Most of the cellophane used in the packaging is still not recyclable, and the plastic trays that are used, although they state that they are recyclable, are not accepted by most recycling centers. Of course, those that are recyclable tend to be ‘recycled in-store only’ and will therefore need an extra level of organizational skill on your part.

However, not all companies are still using plastic trays or cellophane that cannot be recycled, so you can opt to buy these products. Alternatively, you can choose to purchase products that have no packaging whatsoever and therefore make a much better environmentally friendly choice.

#3 Buy ingredients in bulk

Buying ingredients in bulk will also cut down the amount of packaging that is supplied with the product. It is likely to be cheaper and will reduce the amount of time that you will spend purchasing smaller versions of the product. Although not every ingredient is worth buying in bulk, some, such as herbs and spices, certainly are, as well as dried products such as bulk garlic, which is different variants of garlic such as garlic powder, granules, chopped, and minced.

However, this is not to say that you shouldn’t buy other ingredients in bulk, such as flour, sugar, rice, or pasta, but you should make sure that you have space to store these items and that you will use them before they go out of date.

#4 Start batch cooking

One of the ways in which you can adapt your new buying habits of bulk buying ingredients is to start batch cooking. This can cut down on food waste and therefore save money. Setting aside one day to make large pots of a few different meals, such as your own versions of bolognese, chili, curry, or stews, will free up time later in the week. These meals can be portioned up into enough for a single person – or more if you prefer.

This will, of course, take some organization on your part as you will have to plan the meals that you are going to make, ensure that everyone in your household will eat them (or will have an alternative batch cooked) and purchase all the ingredients to make the meals.

You are also going to have to make sure that you have enough storage containers to keep them in, which are preferably freezer and microwave-proof. As well as invest in some labels so that you can note on them what is contained in the container, although a few adventurous mealtimes could spice up your weekly menu.

#5 Recycle as much as you can

You should ensure that you recycle as much as you can, whether this is by using your recycling bin, taking recycling down your local tip, or in the case of some plastic packaging to your local supermarket that offers this facility. Of course, there are other ways in which you can recycle your items. A lot of food waste is compost bin friendly, so not only will you be recycling, but your garden and plants will inevitably feel the benefit from it.

Packaging such as plastic trays that cannot be recycled can be used as draw or cupboard tidies or with a bit of pretty paper, and some glue can be used on desks or shelves to hold pens, paper, or other useful items.

#6 Upcycle unwanted, used furniture and clothing

If you are looking to refresh your home’s interior, you can, rather than spending huge amounts of money on new furniture that is often far from eco-friendly or sustainable, and you can upcycle your own. This can be done using different forms of paint techniques, being stripped and waxed, oiled or varnished if real wood (or even veneered wood if you are gentle) or getting a new look from recovering with either paper, tin sheets, or even mirrors cut to size.

Clothing can be reused in so many different ways, even if the garment is old and worn out. These types of materials are perfect for rag rugging or chopping up to make patchwork quilts, throws, or cushion covers. If you feel that your garments are not ready for this yet, then you can try changing their style with needle and thread or simply selling them to bring additional funds into the home or, for that matter, donating them to a local charity shop.

Final thoughts

It is important to bring as much sustainability as possible into your life and make the changes that you have made a habit. Of course, a lot of the changes will require effort at the start, but you will soon start to enjoy the lifestyle that you have chosen while also enjoying the fact that you are helping the environment and your surroundings.

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