If you live in Chester, you’re most likely very familiar with the word sustainability. I remember, just over a year ago, I was creating a sustainable lifestyle magazine as part of my final year project for my journalism degree and struggled to write much about sustainable living within the city. Today, there is so much going on in and around the city, such as the #StrawFreeChester campaign and plans to make Chester the world’s first Palm Oil City.
Put simply, sustainable living is ‘a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and personal resources’. You’ve probably heard a lot about the plastic crisis. You’ve most likely seen videos and pictures of how human negligence has had a devastating impact on nature and wildlife. The damage has been done – what now?
While not all of us can walk to work, or install solar panels on our homes, or plants trees, or go paper-free, there are simple and convenient changes we can make to our lives to live more sustainable lifestyles, and I just wanted to share a few. I think now is the appropriate time to add the disclaimer that I am not an expert in sustainable living, but I thought I’d share the little knowledge I do have. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have learnt something new.
The first step to living more sustainably is simple – recycle everything that can be recycled. I confess that in the past I’ve been quite lazy – especially with packaging that can only partially be recycled – and thrown recyclable products in the general waste bin. Taking that extra minute to properly separate your rubbish and recycling makes more of a difference than you think. Further info here.
- BUY A REUSABLE CUP
Cafes in Chester, such as Short and Stout and The Flower Cup, offer their drinks at a discounted price if customers bring along a Keep Cup or their own reusable cup. So, you can help save the planet AND save yourself some money at the same time – incredible. Some places will also allow you to fill up a reusable water bottle, too!
Keep Cups at The Flower Cup
- DRESS SUSTAINABLY
The place to start when it comes to looking for sustainable fashion is, of course, a charity shop or a thrift store or a second-hand shop – whatever you want to call it. Chester has many charity shops, such as Scope and Barnardo’s, and loads of cool second-hand and vintage shops with lots of nice clothing and accessories, like Lily Vintage. Some high street brands have managed to produce collections using materials and processes that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Zara and HM both have sustainable collections where the clothing is made with at least 50% recycled materials or more sustainable raw materials. A few months back, I bought a Re-Kånken backpack – a special edition bag created by the Swedish brand, Fjällräven – made entirely from recycled polyester and fully recyclable. Another tip is when you want to get rid of clothes that are in good condition, you can sell or donate them to charity instead of throwing them away.
Made from 11 recycled plastic bottles!
- SAY NO TO THE PLASTIC STRAW
The #strawfreechester campaign has been supported by many independent cafes in Chester who have ditched traditional plastic straws for biodegradable or paper straws. While most places have paper straws, some still offer plastic straws, so if you’re offered a straw, and you can do without it, don’t use one. If you want to go a step further, for home use, you can even buy reusable metal straws which are pretty cool.
Paper is the new plastic
- INVEST IN REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS
The UK has saved billions of pounds, since the carrier bag charge was introduced. While it has helped reduce plastic waste, there’s still more that can be done! The 5-10p bags get worn easily and still get thrown away/recycled. A recyclable tote, shopper bag, or a bag for life, is just another way you have to help make Chester an even more sustainable city.