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  • Writer's picturejoheneker

Lazy Sustainability - 10 tips on easy ways to make a difference

Updated: Oct 1, 2021



We’ve heard from many people who want to become more sustainable in an easy way, not just in their personal lives but also at work, without having to spend much money to make changes. So we decided to run a 10 post series on Instagram and Facebook called lazy sustainability.


We want everyone to feel like they can make a difference to our planet, whether as an individual, employee, senior executive or business founder, through easy and manageable changes. We really believe it’s possible to make a collectively significant difference through small incremental changes. Sometimes big changes are too overwhelming and difficult to keep up with, so small easy changes are more sustainable (if you’ll excuse the pun).


Here is a summary of the 10 lazy sustainability suggestions we made over the summer.



1. Before you throw something away, offer it on a local marketplace

If you have something you don’t want anymore, don’t assume it has zero value to others. Before you chuck it in the bin, or worse still, put yourself out and go to the local tip, try advertising it on your local marketplace sites, even if you offer it for nothing. That way, it gets reused, retains some value, and better still, someone will pick it up from your doorstep (and you might even make a couple of quid). All it takes is a couple of photos and a decent description and away you go. Now, how lazy is that?!



2. Pick one cause you’re passionate and fight for it with energy If you really believe in something, it won’t be such hard work to incorporate it into your life - laziness in the best possible way!! Also, if you pick too many causes, it can become overwhelming and too much effort, which can lead to inactivity.


Don’t forget, sustainability is much more than just environmental causes, it’s also about equality, education, and economics. If you don’t know what to choose, you could use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to help you (www.sdgs.un.org/goals). Check out our previous blog post to find out more.


3. Food waste

A third of the food humans produce is wasted, whether that’s at the farm, in the factory, in shops, at home or anywhere else in the chain. There are a few ways we can all reduce food waste:


If you run a restaurant or canteen, take note of how often your plates come back to the kitchen with food on them? Maybe your portion sizes are a bit too big? Our founder Jo often finds portions a little oversized but doesn’t like sending food back. So she either feels guilty about not finishing the meal, or she forces herself to eat everything, which isn’t a particularly good idea either!!

As an individual, don’t shop when you’re hungry! This always ends up with a fuller trolley, a bigger shopping bill and likely a fair amount of food you’ll end up throwing away. Plan your meals for the week in advance. If you know what food you’ll need, it makes it much easier to buy enough without overdoing it. You’ll also definitely notice a reduction in your grocery bills if you’re organised! If you do buy too much, you can cook everything and freeze what’s left so if you need a meal in a hurry, there’s something home-cooked, ready to be warmed up.

If you still have too much food in your business or home, donate it. There will be wonderful schemes in your local area that will gladly take your donations. Here in Letchworth and Hitchin we have the Best Before Café (www.bestbeforecafe.co.uk) and Food Rescue Hub (www.foodrescuehub.uk) which both aim to reduce food waste. We also have Feed Up Warm Up (www.feedupwarmup.co.uk), a homeless outreach team that runs a drop in centre and accepts food donations. If you can’t find local organisations like these close to you, you could also use the sharing app Olio, where you can share food and non-food items. If you run a restaurant or grocery shop, arrange partnerships with organisations like the ones we’ve mentioned above. If you work in a restaurant or grocery shop, try to encourage the owners or managers to do more about food waste. You could even volunteer to be the person that sets something up. As a last resort, put your scraps and past-it stuff in the compost bin - either your own (to put on your plants) or the one your council collects.



4. Shop local

Shopping local and using local services is really critical to support the sustainability of your local area. This really is wonderfully lazy because you’re doing SO much with one small, enjoyable action! You’re supporting local employment, keeping the community alive, and you almost always get better customer service locally. And if it’s a bit more expensive, still do it if you can. Try buying one less item so you don’t overspend.


Now, we realise that online shopping is lazy too, but it’s not always the best idea: it’s so easy to buy stuff you simply don’t need, and sometimes if you’re basing decisions purely on price you can’t be sure that your money is going to a reputable company with good operating practices. There’s a possibility that someone up the production chain is being undervalued just so you can save a few pennies. If you’re a small business, try and source what you use and sell locally where possible. You’ll support and build up the local economy and reduce delivery miles and therefore your carbon footprint. Not only that, it’s so much easier to build up a rapport with someone local to you, who you’ll more likely meet in person, and that’s always good for business.


5. Feedback is a gift

Now, this really is a quick and easy thing to do!! If you’re out and about and you see something in a company that you’re not keen on from a sustainability (or any!) perspective, tell them. It can be as quick as a friendly tweet or a DM on the ‘gram! This also applies to your own business or where you work – tell your employers if you think things can be improved, better still, volunteer to lead that improvement initiative. Sometimes businesses are so busy, they genuinely may have overlooked something or just not thought of a better way of doing it. It’s hard for anyone to improve if they don’t get feedback! And if they ignore you, take your money and custom elsewhere!! Quick, easy active citizenship!



6. Be thrifty, and bag yourself something unique

Secondhand and thrifting are certainly trending at the moment so hunt out some magical local pre-loved or charity shops where you can get all sorts of incredible, unique things. Here in Letchworth and Hitchin we have the wonderful Pre-Loved Project and fantastic charity shops, including the Garden House Hospice Charity and up-cycling shops (www.ghhospicecare.org.uk). The opportunities are endless, and you can find some bargains while reducing your carbon footprint. If you run a shop or boutique, online or physical, why not consider dedicating a small (or large!) part of your footprint to pre-loved and make a difference.




7. Be anti-racist

(written on Instagram after the Euro 2020 Final at Wembley, not really about Lazy Sustainability, but profoundly important)

This racism has to stop, how people can hate on someone because of the colour of their skin is beyond us. We really hope that the outpouring of love shown by children marks the new generation that really will put an end to it. In the meantime, if you’re reading this and either don’t care or understand what all the fuss is about, please take a moment to get educated. Letting racism pass you by isn’t acceptable. You have to be actively anti-racist. Call it out and try and calmly show people why they’re wrong and totally illogical. It’s hard to call out your friends and family, but ignoring it isn’t acceptable. Be brave. Here are some recommendations for you to watch on TV and read; please do comment below if you have more examples to share. We'd love to hear your recommendations. When They See Us - Netflix (Ava Duvernay) The 13th Amendment - Netflix (Ava Duvernay) How To Be An Anti-Racist - Ibram X Kendi



8. Wildflowers everywhere

This one is nice and easy. If there’s a patch of land near your workplace or home, sprinkle some wildflower seeds, cover them over, maybe water them a bit (though the rain in the UK will usually do this for you) and watch them grow. If you don’t have a patch, perhaps you could do a bit of container gardening. We promise you’ll see lovely insects pollinating and resting on them within weeks. Why is this important? Biodiversity is probably the single biggest link to everything that keeps this planet going. Insects pollinate plants that feed us, insects are food for animals, they maintain soil structure. Insect numbers are in massive decline so we need to do what we can to help us secure the future of the planet. Not only this, but looking at flowers and wildlife can be incredibly soothing and excellent for wellbeing and mental health, so what are you waiting for?




9. Fix stuff

Repair is a significant element of sustainability. As a society, we’ve lost the skills we need to fix things, and some companies go as far as to build things so we can’t fix them, and have to buy new, lining their pockets further. We need to re-learn the art of repair, so we can make things last longer, reduce the amount of stuff sent to landfill and save money too. BBC1’s Repair Shop is a great example of how repairing things than be enjoyable and cathartic, rather than a chore. And if repairing doesn’t sound very lazy, there are lots of local businesses and wonderful craftspeople who can mend stuff for you at a very good price. Only recently we met Camplight Tents (www.camplight.co.uk), who rescue abandoned tents from festivals, mend them and then use them to offer a pre-pitched tent service at future festivals. Repairing things applies to businesses and individuals and this really is a win: win. And if you’re particularly good at fixing stuff, you could set up your very own side hustle, contributing to the reducing landfill and supplementing your income!



10. It's good to talk

Last but by no means least, it’s really important that we ALL keep talking about sustainability so we can keep up its profile and importance. It actually doesn’t matter what your opinion is about it (as long as it’s not offensive or discriminatory), as long as you’re communicating. Respectful debate and discussion is a key part of society and progressing civilisation and we can all learn from different opinions. Tell people what you’re doing to become a bit more sustainable, share ideas, information and advice to help people make small but meaningful changes. Ask colleagues what you can do to improve at work. As a business owner, make it your business to raise the profile of sustainability with your suppliers. You’re well within your rights to ask them what they are doing to be better, and even suggest positive changes they might consider making.


We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about small (and not so small) changes you or your workplace has made to have a positive impact on our planet and communities.


It’s also ok if you haven’t really done much. If you’re keen to make your business more sustainable, but you’re not sure where to start, or you’re short on time, please do get in touch, we’d love to help you.

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