Living sustainably is top of mind for more people today.
In fact, a recent study found that the environment was considered the third most pressing issue in the UK by a quarter of the population. However, working out how to live more sustainably can be a bit tricky. It’s likely you’ll face a number of hurdles, including finding eco-friendly gifts to suit your friends and family’s interests.
We’ve put together a list of some effective yet simple sustainable living tips that will help you reduce your carbon footprint and improve your life. You’ll also find plenty of inspiration for sustainable presents throughout that are ideal for anyone.
1. Ditch single use products
One of the best ways to cut down on your waste is to invest in reusable items. You’ll save money, as many reusable goods are designed to be used hundreds of times and produce less waste and recycling. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Swap cling film for beeswax wrap
- Change sandwich bags for washable silicon ones
- Enjoy your hot drinks in a reusable cup
- Try washable cotton pads to remove makeup
Want to encourage your friends and family with an environmentally friendly gift? Get them a pretty personalised drinking bottle that will make them turn their back on single use for good.
2. Make someone else’s trash your treasure
We’re not suggesting diving into the bins to cut down on your environmental impact. However, there are lots of ways to reduce waste and get something out of it. Apps like Olio allow you to pick up unwanted food, household goods and even clothing for free from neighbours and local shops.
Too Good to Go is another handy app that lets cafés, restaurants and bakeries sell their leftover meals at heavily discounted prices at the end of the day. You’ll be doing your bit to reduce waste while enjoying a tasty, affordable bite to eat.
3. Try plant-based meals
Another effective way to reduce your environmental impact is to swap out meat-based meals for veggie or vegan options. Research by the University of Oxford suggests you could reduce your carbon footprint by up to 73% just by cutting out meat and dairy.
A report published in medical journal The Lancet alsofound that the world will need to eat 50% less meat and sugar to stop food shortages occurring. When you do eat meat, try to opt for locally-sourced, sustainably raised options. Look out for the Red Tractor and Quality Standard Mark on the meat you’re buying.
And if you’re looking to brush up on your meat-free cooking skills, try out an online vegan and plant-based cookery course to increase your veggie repertoire of meals. Or, if you’re seeking a carbon neutral gift for an adventurous friend, get them a ‘grow your own sustainable edible insects’ box so they can enjoy a more eco-friendly kind of meat.
4. Let loose in the supermarket
Around 2.4 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste is produced every year in the UK alone. Pre-packaged food often comes in plastic wrappers that can’t be recycled, so opt for loose produce as often as you can. Visiting your local greengrocer is a great way to shop sustainably, as you’ll be supporting a small business and buying fruit, veg and other produce that’s likely been grown locally.
5. Cut down on your paper use
Switching to paperless banking and opting out of physical receipts is an easy sustainable switch. Around 76% of people now use online banking and most shops give customers the option of an emailed receipt. You can check your information any time you need to online, and will save yourself from a mountain of shredding or recycling.
When you purchase sustainable gifts or experiences from Red Letter Days, we also offer instant eVouchers – so you can use less paper when surprising someone.
6. Try an active commute
Fancy helping the environment and boosting your health at the same time? The active commute could be the answer. Essentially, it’s all about using your body’s own power to get you from home to the office. You can walk, run, cycle or even skateboard to improve your fitness and travel in a carbon-neutral way.
Still working from home? Switch to an active grocery shop pilgrimage, or active trip to the DIY shop instead. Whenever you can, leave the vehicles at home and use your two feet (or two wheels) instead – it’s a win-win for you and the environment.
7. Replace material gifts with sustainable experiences
If the people in your life are looking to reduce their waste, giving the gift of a memorable experience is an excellent option. And we have a range of sustainable gifts to choose from.
For a sustainable birthday gift they can enjoy now, treat them to an online course, where they can master nature photography or zen gardening. For something to look forward to, our ‘Make Memories Guarantee’ gives you plenty of time to enjoy our sustainable experiences when it’s safer to do so.
Get closer to mother earth with animal encounters, vineyard tours, woodland glamping breaks or the Bear Grylls snorkel challenge. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, trade petrol-powered thrills for Segway rides, forest coasters, paragliding and ziplining.
The majority of our gift vouchers are now valid for a massive 20 months – the longest in the UK – so you can surprise your friends and family with something wonderful, and environmentally friendly, to look forward to.