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  • Writer's pictureHannah Duncan

Zero-effort ways to be more sustainable 🌍

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

Let’s be honest, protecting the planet is hard work. Cargo ships instead of planes take forever. Organic food really hits you in the wallet. And every houseplant seems to die. So, I’ve been keeping an eye out for the absolute LAZIEST and CHEAPEST ways to be greener. The sustainable equivalent of flopping on the couch and watching Netflix. Get ready to unleash your inner house cat, here are five effortless sustainable switches. 🦥

1. Switch Google for Ecosia 🔎🌴

This is the easiest thing you’ll ever do for maximum impact. Simply switch your browser home screen to Ecosia. It only takes a couple of seconds. Then for every 45 searches, Ecosia plant a tree!!

How does this happen? Ecosia uses the money generated from advertisers not to line their own wallets but to plant trees. Amazing, right? So far, I have made 2,610 searches and helped plant 52 trees!!

print screen showing ecosia search engine planting trees

To really drill the point in, I made a picture of 52 trees 👇👇 This is what I did in real life … Just from using the internet! Nothing else. No additional effort at all. It blows my mind. 🤯

52 trees hannah duncan ecosia

Even if you want to type “Google” into Ecosia and use Google the long way round (it’s not even that long, just one more step), you’re still planting trees. It’s incredible.

Also… Google is shady as hell and really NOT an ESG company. Check out why here.

2. Switch supermarket toilet roll for Who Gives a Crap 🧻🚽💩

Fair warning: Your life will never be the same after you start using this toilet roll.

It’s so good that I don’t even know where to begin.

Ok, firstly, they deliver a beautiful big box of toilet rolls straight to your home. So, you don’t need to deal with the cringe of carrying a 16-pack down the street. Secondly, all of the 50 toilet rolls are beautifully wrapped in the design of your choice. Sustainable paper obvs. Right now, I have the black, white, and gold luxury blend. Last year I went for a "Where’s Wally" themed paper. It is like art. Super practical art, that transforms your bathroom into interior design heaven.

Most importantly, this loo roll does not harm the planet AND 50% of all profits go towards building toilets in developing countries. These toilets can help to tackle so many avoidable illnesses and deaths. It’s really an incredible way to make an impact, and it's zero effort.

Explore the website here (or search via Ecosia for double points - ka-POW! 😋)

Hannah Duncan bathroom and toilet paper

Hannah Duncan who gives a crap
A sneak peak into my bathroom!

3. Switch pre-packaged veggies for loose ones 🥕🥔

Aside from the fact that you use SO MUCH LESS disposable plastic when you pick out and weigh loose veggies… You will not believe the price difference. Honestly, I was shocked.

For years I have been buying packs of three onions from Sainsbury's for around £1.10. The other day, I picked up two single ones (that’s actually all I need for most recipes) and weighed them… 14p! Can you believe that?! My brain started whirring through all the extra 96ps I’ve needlessly splurged over 31 years, and I got palpitations. 😲 I figured that each year, I waste £99.84. FFS.

But I don’t just buy onions. Of course not, I’m not that unhinged yet. I pick up carrots, leeks, peppers, limes, lemons, apples, courgettes, and mushrooms at my weekly shop too. Each of these has a ginormous markup when you buy them ready-packed in disposable plastic. Long story short: I have been overspending by about a tenner each week (£520 a year) to contribute to plastic pollution. WTF.

Never again. It makes me so angry with myself that I have been paying more to destroy the planet. Plus, there’s nearly always a mangy one in the pack. To quote Tony Harrison (the weird brain from The Mighty Boosh, not the boxer) this is an outrage.

tony harrison shouting about the price of pre-packaged onions

From now on, it’s picked and weighed… all the way.

4. Switch online clothes shopping for ANYTHING ELSE 🤢

Online clothes shopping seems effortless… But it’s deceiving because we all know that if you want to return something it’s a massive pain in the arse. Carrying all those bundles around, waiting for the post office to open, queuing up … SUPER annoying.

Besides, it’s completely ridiculous. To know if you like a piece of clothing, you need to touch the fabric. Feel the texture. Hold the colour against your skin to see if it suits you. Ivory white, for example, makes my complexion look like a dead fish. You need to try it on. Scrutinize the style, size and cut. See how it falls on you. Get a second opinion. Everybody knows this stuff. It's silly to buy your clothes based on a picture of an air-brushed model on your phone.

But the most important reason why you should switch is that cheap online fashion is EVIL 😈 .

Garment workers suffer horrific sweatshop conditions – even in the UK. Around 140 garment workers die making these shitty clothes each year. Mostly women and children. And more than 800 are horribly injured. These cheap clothes are soaked in blood. And there is SO MUCH GREENWASHING, it will make you SICK.

What's more, returned items go straight to landfill. They are destroying the planet. 3.5 billion items are returned and dumped in the ground each year. Don’t do it. Please. Don’t support these f**king evil companies.

landfill site full of returned items

Instead, switch to ANYTHING. ANYTHING ELSE.

If you want online clothes maybe try pre-loved goodies on Vinted or eBay. Guaranteed the photos will be a lot more accurate and probably cheaper too. Or look at 1000000% sustainable brands like Rapanui. They take things to a whole new level. SIDENOTE: Rapanui make really lovely men’s underwear.

Look in charity shops in fancy areas. You’d be amazed at what you’d find. Muswell Hill is cracking. I got a Christian La Croix top, and now I feel like Patsy Stone.

... Or if you want a big ol’ splurge, f**king go for it, but do it properly. Head into town with friends, shimmy down Carnaby Street, cackle over champagne and enjoy the real experience! Stay away from tacky sweatshops like Primark and H&M and instead buy clothes that you’ll cherish forever. ❤

5. Switch your pension 🦸‍♀️🦸‍♂️

So… Ta Dahhh… I’ve saved the best till last. Ok so, this one is a teeny, tiny bit of a faff. YES, it is boring. YES, it involves talking to pension people. But it’s so worth it.

Switching your standard workplace pension for something sustainable is – by far – the single MOST impactful thing you can ever do for the planet. It’s 27x more powerful than going vegan and never flying again. 😳😆

This is because, right now, your pension is probably going to fossil fuel companies... BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell and all the other bad guys. It will flow to them indirectly too as plastic polluters rely on oil, and banks are addicted to investing in it. The moment you switch your pension, you stop giving these companies money to scale up. And you can start investing in companies that want to save the planet instead. 💪

Ok, so you’re probably wondering how to get started. Honestly, for the most effort-free way, I would just write to your HR person and say that you don’t want your pension to be invested in fossil fuels anymore.

I know that’s a bit annoying, so I’ve written a template for you here:

Hi [name],

I hope you’re doing well.

I would like to understand more about my workplace pension and possibly make a switch. It’s important to me that none of my money is invested in fossil fuel companies (especially BP). And ideally, I would like to invest my pension into green and sustainable holdings. Could you please advise on the next steps?

Thank you and Best,

[your name].

If you’re lucky, your HR person will take it from there. If you’re unlucky, you’ll have to do it yourself. As you look for a new sustainable pension fund, remember that greenwashing is rife. Just because a fund claims to be sustainable, it doesn’t mean it’s true. There is more than $40 trillion of greenwash out there, waiting to trip you up. But I have faith in you!! 💪🙏

To avoid investing in something terrible, I'd encourage you to read through the holdings. Or if there is a company you totally detest, like BP or Coca-Cola, do a search (Ctrl F) to see if it’s included anywhere in the fund. Below are some pointers taken from Make My Money Matter to help you out.

Genuine green pension funds should be:

  • Going net-zero

  • Investing in climate solutions

  • Engaging in shareholder meetings

  • Divesting from companies that are not reducing their impact

Make My Money Matter has a good list of questions to ask pension providers on page 17 of this guide. Go on... call them up and give them a grilling.

I am not perfect, but if you’re interested in what I’ve done… My Stocks and Shares ISA is with The Big Exchange and my Self Invested Personal Pension is with Wealthify Ethical. I also really rate Triodos as a great sustainable investment platform. I’ve heard really good things about NEST too, but I don’t have any personal experience. Just FYI, none of this is advice. You have to make your own decisions for yourself. 🙏

Long live effortless sustainability 🦥

Once you’ve done these five sustainable switches… Sit back and wait for your good karma to explode through the roof. You may want to buy a lottery ticket because the universe will love you so much it hurts. ❤❤

If you have any easy and affordable sustainable switches, please do let me know or leave a note in the comments! 👍👍

cat sleeping
Now time for another snooze.... 😴

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1 commento

11 apr 2023

I have another one for the list Hannah - Odd Coffee Co (.com). They're tackling surplus coffee waste (who knew that was even a thing?!) and about half the price of other well known coffee subscription services.

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