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Working from Home? Here are some sustainable living tips from our group members

Our group members were chatting on Whatsapp recently about what the authors missed out when writing this Future Net Zero article about saving energy while working from home.

We realized how much we were already doing between us...

Ali - “This winter I’ve been looking at increasing my seasonal eating. I’ve swapped fresh tomatoes for sun dried ones and have been eating kale and cabbage instead of lettuce. Discovered you can eat kale raw if you just rub some oil and vinegar into the leaves first to soften them - it’s really tasty! Deliciously Ella has some good recipes”

Peter - “We’ve recently had a dual electricity and gas smart meter installed that we see from the kitchen. It really brings to life the amount of energy being used without realizing it. As a result I’m definitely being more careful to boil the kettle with just the amount of water needed for that particular use, as the kettle uses a lot of power and keeping the heating down a bit and wearing an extra jumper instead. It’s also got me thinking about whether we can afford to invest in solar panels.”

Peter - “We’ve used lockdown to really get into our allotment and still have kale to eat (try kale pesto!) plus winter salad leaves from the greenhouse and some are really tasty and spicy. We’re taking time out to do a beekeeping course and also building a shed and polytunnel through skip hunting and using as much recycled material as possible. We’ll be able to reduce our food miles and eat and give away more healthy, tasty organic food, and keep fit at the same time. Lockdown rules allow allotment gardening, which has helped with physical and mental health.”

Peter - “The lockdown travel restrictions mean we’ve been spending so much more time in our local area, dog walking in new places and driving far less. We seem to see so much more and appreciate what we have on our doorstep and expect that this will mean we’ll drive less even when we’re allowed to again.”

Claire - “I’ve started using Eco Warrior shampoo bar (Sainsburys) and been surprised how good it is. Great to reduce on the plastic. Yet to convince my family!”

Claire - "I joined a reducing waste facebook group where people share ideas and it gives me nudges and reminders that this is something I want to do more."

Claire - "I have added another few inches of loft insulation and raised a boarded area for storage using 'loft legs' which were easy to use with Youtube instructions. It took me a few days up there but I can't say I minded the break from my family!"

Ruth - "I’ve been making sourdough bread every week for many years but when the first lockdown made it hard to get hold of flour I realized I was throwing lots of sourdough starter away in the process of making it, so I have streamlined my process to conserve flour and now make pitta bread with the starter as well as bread."

Ruth - "We have found the cold weather and working from home quite a challenge but hot water bottles, blankets and fingerless gloves work well and don’t show up on Zoom calls!

Ruth - "We signed up to ‘Flight Free 2020’ last January realizing that flying has such a big carbon footprint, and we will continue to enjoy holidays in the UK even when travel restrictions are lifted to keep our footprint low."

Paul - "Going back to the early days and the panic over shortages we subscribed to a toilet roll service that delivers 48 rolls made of 100% recycled paper without plastic wrapping and donates 50% of the profits to build toilets but “who gives a crap” about that."

Paul - "Having more time at home means we can do things like buy tea leaves, brew tea in a pot and put the used leaves on the compost and make jam from blackberries picked at the bottom of the road."

Paul - "We’ve tried to reduce our food miles by joining Oddbox, a vegetable and fruit service majoring in more locally sourced items as well as wonky and surplus goods."

Paul - "We found it possible to reduce the amount of plastic by changing to bamboo toothbrushes and wooden washing up brushes."

Paul - "Changing our bank accounts to a more ethical option avoiding fossil fuel investments was really straightforward. How many times can I say “if I had only done it earlier”?"

Ian - "We only go food shopping once a week, planning meals carefully beforehand. This not only reduces our travel footprint but reduces the risk of catching Covid. We also joined Oddbox, which delivers fruit and veg that is not deemed perfect enough for retailers to sell, or that misses predefined ‘food chain’ slots. This thereby rescues food which would have been wasted. We have received items we wouldn’t normally buy, which increases our recipes and palette!"

Ian - "Lockdown has given us more time to research and discover eco-friendly household products such as bamboo toilet paper, kitchen roll and cleaning products."

Why don't we already do all these things? Some may only be tweaks but they do involve a bit of effort to be part of our habits. However, as our membership of this group testifies to, we appreciate that we need to embrace efforts to turn down the thermostat while we rely on gas fueled domestic heating. Working from home also offers opportunities to change habits regarding sustainable food and reducing packaging. We hope you now feel the urge to take up one of the ideas you haven't yet done and give it a go.

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