LET'S GO GREEN! PART 3: WHEN LESS IS MORE
Our ‘Let’s Go Green!’ mini series might have experienced a few weeks hiatus but it doesn’t mean we haven’t been thinking about all things green! And now we’re back with a third post of the series. In the first post we talked about how you can make a positive difference by reducing food waste, embracing the wonderful world of plant-based eating and by opting for organic. The previous post, in turn, tackled renewable energy, ethical banking and browsing the web the green way. This time, we’re focusing on why sometimes (often) and on some (many) areas of our lives, less is more.
1. Less spending, more meaning
Skipping shopping sprees on the high-street, holding on to your clothes for longer and being a proud outfit repeater doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out on anything, quite the contrary. You’ll be saving money and the planet! Additionally, by repeating outfits and rewearing your trusted favourites, you can simplify dressing up and free up some headspace - always a bonus! When you do need or want to jazz up your wardrobe, we encourage you to give charity shops a chance or swap clothes with friends - you’d be surprised what second-hand gems you can get your hands on.
Now, let’s quickly recap why we want to favour rewearing and minimise the amount of new clothes we carry home: The fashion industry produces about 20% of global waste water, contributes to approximately 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 85% of textiles end up in landfills or are incinerated. Those are some pretty sobering figures! Additionally, clothes are the 2nd highest at-risk product category for modern slavery (Global slavery index 2018). So, let’s proudly repeat our outfits again and again, as well as do our best to opt for second-hand when we can and support brands that care also about people and the planet, not just profit.
So less shopping and more walking in nature and chatting with friends it is! Doesn’t sound too bad in our ears.
2. Less flying, more exploring
When we can, let’s skip the planes and hop on trains! This world is filled with amazing destinations but let’s not forget about all the beautiful places that are just a short train ride away and definitely worth a visit. But why should we think twice about taking that flight? Well, on an individual level, no other human activity emits as much carbon dioxide over such a short period of time as air travel. For instance, an article published in The Guardian pointed out that a short-haul return trip from London to Edinburgh contributes more CO2 than the mean annual emissions of a person in Somalia or Uganda. Also, did you know that in the UK, 15% of the people are taking 70% of all the flights? That’s a lot of emissions from a small group of people.
So, let’s keep in mind that we don’t always need to go far to have an adventure. Time to explore the places that are just a stone’s throw away! However, when we do end up booking a flight, let’s favour direct flights and try to survive on carry-on luggage to reduce our emissions a bit. Although it’s far from a perfect solution, offsetting flights through a reputable organisation is also worth looking into.
Less time spent on navigating busy airports and recovering from jet lags, and more time spent on admiring beautiful scenery from train windows. Pretty sweet deal, no?
3. Less laundry, more living
Yes, that’s right - you can make a difference simply by doing less laundry. Now, how good does that sound? We’re not just making this up but there is a good reason for putting your feet up, relaxing and forgetting about laundry for a while. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 35% of all microplastic pollution comes from washing synthetic textiles. In fact, one piece of clothing can shed 700 000 fibres in one wash!
These microfibres are so tiny that they drain out of our washing machines and continue their journey through wastewater treatment plants into the sea where they can be swallowed by fish & other sea life. Not good. According to Friends of the Earth microfibres have been found in air, rivers, soil, drinking water, beer and table salt. So, don’t feel bad about skipping laundry day - you’re just helping out the planet and trying to keep your drinks free from microfibers!
Less is also more when it comes to temperatures and spin speeds; by washing clothes in cool temperatures and reducing spin speeds, you’re keeping the environmental impact of your laundry day in check. However, more is more when it comes to the amount of clothes you wash in one go. Avoid doing nearly empty or half-empty loads to save some precious water and energy!
Here’s to washing less and living more!
Disclaimer: We’re not perfect in any of these aspects and the purpose of this series is not to guilt or shame anyone, or to put too much pressure on individuals. We just want to provide inspiration and ideas on different ways to live a greener life and make a positive impact. So, we hope you’ve enjoyed this post and series so far! :)