Updated: May 8
It can seem like an endless journey trying to become more sustainable and eco-friendly in your everyday life. So, while you'll find every item at Honeste has the planet in mind (from our designs and supply to our packaging) we've put together our easy tips on simple ways to become more eco-friendly and reduce waste every day without costing you a penny.
Don't worry, we aren't going to get technical! But, it may surprise you to know some simple things you can do online to help the planet and go green.
Plant A Tree By Swapping Search Engine's
A really simple one here. Try Ecosia for your internet searches - it says itself it is the "search engine that plants trees". The search engine is powered by Microsoft Bing so it has a reliable and powerful search tool behind it. 80% of profits made by Ecosia (through usual search engine's advertising revenue) is used to plant trees across the globe. At this time of writing over 119 million trees have been planted and their aim is to reach 1 billion! They plant trees in 15 different countries across 4 continents.
For more information see Ecosia
Plant A Tree Simply By Looking At An App
This one sounds too good to be true but luckily it isn't! You can plant trees every single day...for free. All you need to do is download the TreeApp app and answer 3 questions a day and they aim to plant 1 million trees every single day. Treeapp works with companies with green initiatives who sponsor the tree planting costs. You essentially watch an advert from an eco-oriented company and answer a question and bingo - a tree gets planted. No personal data of yours is shared with the company. You only need to check out Trust Pilot to see the amazing feedback users give it. From personal experience, we think it is such an easy thing to do right from an armchair
For more information see TreeApp
Use Your Old Pasta/Vegetable Water
We all might only fill the kettle to where we need it when we boil it to reduce electricity. But, what to do with all that old water you've just used to boil your pasta in or cook veggies etc? Here are three free ways to use and re-use it.
Watering Plants: When you drain your pasta etc, drain the water using a colander into a metal bowl or saucepan (don't use plastic unless you know it is suitable for hot liquids). Let the water cool and then use it water your plants/garden/vegetable patch. Packed full of good vitamins and minerals this water is a great fertiliser for the garden and prevents it from going to waste.
For More Cooking: You can actually use your old vegetable water and pasta water for more great recipes. If cooking a roast, use the vegetable water for your gravy, it will enhance the flavour of the gravy and add healthy vitamins and minerals to your meal. You can also use pasta water to thicken pasta sauces, for bread-making and for soup bases.
To Treat Yourself: This one may sound strange, but we dare you to give it a go - you'll thanks us afterwards. Let your pasta water cool to a bath-like temperature (40-45 degrees) or if it is cold, just gently heat it up to the right temperature. Use it to soak your feet and let the warmth combined with the minerals in the water relax and soothe achy tired feet. And, if you haven't added any additional treatments or salts to the water, then let it cool and you can still add it to any flowers and plants (double re-using and recycling).
Save your tops and stems of vegetables
If you eat lots of vegetables like us, you may end up with lots of peel and trimmings. So how do you prevent them from going to waste? There are so many things you can do with these. You can make potato peelings into homemade crisps, broccoli stems are just as good as the tops - a perfect vegetable in stir-fries. You can, of course, compost the trimmings and many councils now have food recycling bins and bags. Pop your discarded pieces of raw vegetables (stalks, skins etc) and boil to make your own vegetable stock (you can use old veggie water - see above) - pop in an ice cube tray and in the freezer for easy convenient vegetable stock cubes.
Re-grow Old Vegetables
If you've never tried this, then it is worth giving it a go - we've been amazed at the produce grown from old 'scraps'. Vegetables you can re-grow include celery, potatoes, lettuce, onions, bok choy, garlic, spring onions and more. We've found celery and potatoes have worked really well and are currently regrowing 3 bok choy and lettuce - simply put the stumps in a dish of water. Our attempt at regrowing a pineapple top into a decorative plant didn't go so well in the past but please do comment if you've been able to do this.
Try Reducing/Not Using An Item for 30 Days
This is one we quite like challenging ourselves to for various things. Pop a disposable item you currently use away in a cupboard and try to make do with not using it for a whole 30 days. It is a good way of testing to see if you really need it. We've tried this over the years with cling film, kitchen roll, pocket tissues and more - in all of these, we didn't go back to it and didn't even need to buy any alternatives - we realised we already had containers, cloths etc that could be used instead. It is a good way of trying and testing something before switching or buying alternatives.
Eco-Friendly Bathroom Ideas
Use a Water Saving Device
Ok, you may be wondering how this is free when you need to get a device. Well, the good news is a lot of the water providers provide water-saving devices completely free of charge. It is worth looking online (via Ecosia of course) to see what your local water provider is offering. We checked Thames Water and they have a selection of water-efficient showerheads which can save a staggering 21,840 litres of water and £87 per year for a family of four to Save-A-Flush which saves one litre of water per flush! They had other items including water timers, tap water-saving devices and more - and all completely free.
The government has made progress when it comes to toiletries and the environment - from banning single-use plastic cotton buds to microbeads in rinse-off toiletries. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean your toiletries are free from plastic (and no, we aren't talking about the packaging). You might be shocked to learn that a lot of toiletries - from shampoo to mascara can have plastic in the ingredients. So, how do you know? We recommend checking out Beat The Microbead - it is a brilliant app where you can just scan the item and it will tell you if it has plastic in it - is also certifies brands that are plastic-free (an item that is plastic-free is not necessarily cruelty-free or vegan and vice versa).
Use Old Fabric
Maybe you have an old towel, flannel, fleece, top etc - one easy way to re-use and recycle them is to make your own reusable cotton pads. This one is so easy even if you aren't so skilled in the needle department. Draw a circle onto a piece of card using a tumbler or any container (roughly 7-8cm across), cut this card out. Now get two scraps of the fabric you want to use and pin the two scraps and the card together using a pin. Cut out your circles, remove the card but use a few pins to pin together the two scraps of fabric. Use a sewing machine or simply sew by hand and use an overcast stitch to stitch the two edges of fabric together.
And, it doesn't have to be reusable cotton pads - make your own reusable dishcloths, dish sponges, lavender pillows, dog toys etc.
If it is time to let go of old clothes, towels and fabric you can always donate them to a good cause. Some animal welfare, dog and cat homes and charities accept clean old sheets and towels for their animals. Many other charities take old clothes which they can either resell if in good condition or they sell the fabric - so even if your t-shirt has a hole in it...do not throw it away. Check with the charity to see if they sell it; Oxfam for example does this.
We hope you like these ideas for how to reduce waste and be a little more sustainable and eco-friendly without having to spend a penny. Please share below if you have tried any of the above and any other ideas you have. If you liked this guide - check out our guide to a stress-free and eco-friendly declutter!