The Eco-friendly thread

  • How are you being environmentally friendly?
  • Have you made any changes to your lifestyle?
  • Do you have any tips or ideas on how to be greener?
  • Any ideas to reduce plastic wastage (easy-swaps are always a good shout)
  • Anything else that anyone wants to add?

I would recommend the following easy steps (I’ll list the first 10 that come to mind)

  1. Get yourself a stainless steel water bottle that can be reused
  2. Look into refillable products (eco-refill). Carex, Detol, Air Wick, L’occitane, Naissance and other brands do refill packs,
  3. Buy larger packs (if this won’t result in wastage)
  4. Buy local produce
  5. Ditch plastic teabags and go for a brand that uses paper or go for loose-leaf tea.
  6. Swap out washing up liquid (plastic bottles) and sponge (non-biodegradeable) for dish soap and a bamboo brush
  7. Swap out shampoo and conditioner bottles for shampoo and conditioner bars
  8. Swap out cling film or plastic bags for reusable sandwich bags
  9. Make your own snacks at home such as hummous or crisps (hummous takes minutes and tastes much better)
  10. Drink milk? Get your milk in glass bottles or a tetra-pack (e.g. UHT, Soya, Almond, Cashew, Oat).
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Love it.

The environmental benefits of local produce are heavily overstated (often by those with vested interest). The OWID article on food production has a section which summarises why quite nicely.

You can almost ignore where your food comes from because focusing on what you eat has orders of magnitude more impact.

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I saw a photo online the other day of some packaged fruit that was sold in the US . It was picked in Argentina, and packaged in Thailand before being shipped back to the US. Have a look how far that is on a map :open_mouth:

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Considering I can’t eat nuts and beef is one of the safest and most nutritious foods I can have, getting it locally actually is a good idea in this case. It depends on your needs, food is far more complex than a lot of people would like to believe.

I also won’t suffer supply chain issues, I can go see the cow I’m going to eat before it’s killed, I know exactly where my food comes from.

Shipping is also pretty awful, though technically speaking one of the more environmentally friendly forms of cargo transport due to shear volume.

Buying loca also isn’t restricted to food, and there are potentially many other benefits which can have an environmental impact by buying locally.

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The land use change bit of those charts happened mostly hundreds of years ago in this country. Still a massive problem in Brazil and similar rain forest areas though. So I would say where food comes from does have a big impact. We aren’t generally chopping down forests for farmland any more in the UK

I think the biggest thing I have done is move to within walking distance of work. I still use my car for other stuff, but it doesn’t get used every day now. As an added benefit not having to join in the morning traffic is great

Good points here. I am pro eco-friendly and have been doing this for years.

Some points / suggestions from me also:

  • buy bamboo tooth brushes.
  • if you a takeaway coffee or tea person, bring your reusable cup all the time (you are incentivized doing that and can get a discount)
  • buy good quality clothes (not fast fashion) good quality clothes last longer, hence less buying for you
  • when possible travel by bike, e-scooter, EV or negotiate to work from home if you are working
  • be conscious how much water you use when you washing. Turn off the water when you are not using it.
  • Do not print unless it is strictly required, move online in the cloud
  • change you statements to online and all other mail you get try to move them online
  • buy products in carton materials using alternative eco friendly packaging
  • Buy eco-friendy washing liquid for laundry or washing machine
  • If you need a receipt, ask to send it online instead of printing it or use self scanning feature on your phone (sainsbury’s waitrose etc)
  • Buy sustainable, cruelty free cosmetics
  • Try to eat a balance food, less meat more fruits and vegetables, legumes etc
  • bring you bag when you are shopping

will add more later, in a rush atm :smiley:

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Good episode around food waste, carbon footprint and seasonal produce.

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Btw, i founded an IoT food waste startup and we came close to a fully functional MVP. I am all in this topic :slight_smile:

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Land use related to meat is largely the food that feeds livestock which in the case of the UK is largely imported. So yes land use change is appropriate within a UK context. You simply can’t sustainably feed a global population on meat because it is so incredibly inefficient, this is clear just from the calorie and protein conversation rates.

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/10/105002

Despite this fact western populations seem to think we are entitled to inflict climate change on the global poor while simultaneously denying them the lifestyles responsible for that for the simple reason that we got there first.

I also love how after pointing out in the clearest possible terms how irrelevant food miles are people will cling to it so they can avoid making any significant lifestyle changes.

Heaven forbid an avocado produce a few grams of CO2 in shipping, but we can bring 100kg of soy from Brazil to produce 1 steak, as long as the cow that eats it is 50 miles from our house.

Bear in mind nuts aren’t that great environmentally, yes they are maybe 100X better than beef in some regards, but they are still bad compared to other protein sources so you aren’t really missing out. Nuts use a lot of water and often in parts of the world were water is at a big premium (e.g. California) - not all water use is equal.

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Nothing is great in respect to the environment.

I’m actually not aware of any local farms who do this (not ones I use anyway), I know a number of farms fatten up cattle with grain but that’s down to your choice of what you want to buy.

Worth noting as well that I don’t buy food based on environmental impact as the primary concern, I do so based on my health with environmental impact as a secondary concern.

Interestingly a lot more farms now are implementing more mixed and rotational agriculture with live stock and crops, it’s just better for the environmental all round.

I would argue rain forests are.

Ok and to be fair I think soy is more pork and beef, but my point was just if the feed is travelling a long way the food miles story is a bit of a weird one. As has been demonstrated above food miles are basically irrelevant, in fact imported feed is probably better where they have greater yields.

I mean it’s better than just livestock yes, but it’s patently worse than pure crop rotation.

That’s reasonable, but I don’t think there’s much of a trade off, it’s not like chocolate, bacon and cheese are top of the environmental charts. For most people taste is the #1 priority (let’s be honest we are mostly selfish) and health + the environment distant seconds.

Not strictly. Crop only farming has its own issues that include problems like soil destabilisation and soil errorison, potential issues with water table contamination etc. Rotating in livestock pretty much solves these issues.

Ah I think your right. The issue with food from my perspective is that people don’t know where they even get their food from.

The fact that you can know the local farm where you get your food means you can also know how your food is produced, if it’s livestock, how it’s fed, and how it’s looked after and processed. This becomes all but impossible with imported food.

That’s not to say there aren’t some foods which can be better to import, but you’re less likely to know what’s going on.

That however is the same for a lot of things and not just food.

You’re not wrong on that

Use washable rags instead of disposable items? They can be thrown in the wash with your other washing.

Same with nappies for those with babies. Disposable nappies aren’t needed usually, we never had them before, and they just produce land fill waste.

Lots of things fit into that category actually.

And I think the general saying is reduce, reuse, recycle in that order? (Did I miss one?)

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Growing your own food is a big one if you are in the position to do so

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Herbs and small items are pretty easy to do and I wouldn’t discount the small changes in that regard

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There are some nice ideas here, but getting caught in the weeds a bit.

From David MacKay’s excellent Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air “All the energy saved in switching off your [phone] charger for one day, is used up in one second of car-driving.” I really recommend this book for getting a better perspective.

If you have to drive for one extra minute to pick up your bamboo toothbrush, it will not be worth it.
I once saw an advert for a bamboo alarm clock, touting that it was eco-friendly. Well sure, but are you going to throw out your old alarm clock to buy the new? I doubt the energy efficiency of the bamboo alarm clock factory matches that of the plastic alarm clock one.

Check out this video, particularly interesting for us as investors is the segment from 2m22s, about the carbon footprint of our investments.

What’s the best thing you can do for the environment? Vote! Not just in elections, but every time you spend money you are effectively voting for how you want the world to be. Vote with your investments.

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You don’t drive an extra minute because it’s bamboo, you need to get a toothbrush regardless of what it’s made from, usually combined with your regular shopping anyway. I don’t think you were meaning that in regards to toothbrushes specifically though? But thought it worth adding since it’s one of those not always simple things.

I agree on the alarm clock, you’re going to keep your alarm clock for decades (assuming you didn’t buy cheap Chinese made junk) so it’s material isn’t as big a consideration when you consider the longevity of the device, but a plastic toothbrush your throwing out every 3 months or so materials can play a bigger role in the decision.

Good point about throwing out perfectly usable devices as well.

I think there should be an additional “r” - redesign. Once we fall into habits, those patterns of behaviour are very difficult to change, we should design products with minimal impact on the environment in the first place. I think this is starting to happen. As noted above, I think the best way to influence this is with your wallet and ballot paper.

To take the example of nappies - the vast majority of parents with babies are simply not going to switch from disposable nappies to reusable nappies. Instead design a product that has minimal environmental impact in the first place.

Nappies still very much a feature in the Sleepy household… :baby:t2: