Being More Eco Friendly, One Step At A Time

Since I’ve started working in France, I’ve spent a lot more time outside.  This could be working, running, eating outside, cycling or even just a trip to the beach.  There is no doubt that living in France, particularly on the South coast, is an excellent way to create a more outdoorsy and active lifestyle.  In fact, it would be almost impossible not to go outside regularly, given the gorgeous weather and beautiful surroundings.  At the minute, Chris and I live very close to the beaches of St Tropez, but we also live in the middle of the vineyards of Ramatuelle.

Living in such a beautiful place and spending so much time outside has given me a completely new appreciation of nature.  We see a lot of animals and bird life on a daily basis; we have a hedgehog, frogs and geckos that live underneath our decking and we often see birds of prey when driving to and from work.  Spending time in some of the more beautiful elements of nature, such as white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water makes you aware of how precious the planet is and has inspired me to do more to help in the increasingly desperate fight against climate change. 

Like most people, I have recently read many articles about how to be more eco-friendly and realised that while I am doing alright in this regard, there is an awful lot more that I could and should do.  I am sharing some of my eco-friendly tips that I hope will help and inspire you, but I also want to get feedback from you.  Hopefully some of my tips will be useful for you, but please feel free to share any tips you have. 

Refuse To Use Plastic Bags

I know so many people that refuse to pay for plastic bags now, including myself, which is fantastic!  Everyone has reusable shopping bags but remembering to take them with you every time you shop is definitely a challenge!  If I do forget my reusable bags (as I do all the time!), I refuse to pay for plastic bags and often carry my shopping in my arms.  The added bonus of this is that, you can’t over shop, so you save money by buying only what you need. 

Make Your Own Takeaway Coffee

I rarely buy takeaway coffee, partly because I am obsessed with my reusable coffee cup, but also the cost of a daily takeaway coffee really adds up!  I have two bamboo coffee cups that I use every day.   They are not only great for avoiding waste from paper cups, it means that you can have my morning coffee exactly as you like it, crucial if, like me you are super fussy about making sure your almond milk goes in before the water and doesn’t burn the coffee beans!

Use Shampoo Bars Not Bottles!

This one is obvious and we all know that we need to reduce the amount of single use plastic. I am still a long way from where I want to be with this one, but I recently started using shampoo bars from Lush to reduce my plastic usage.  I wasn’t sold on the idea at first, just because it felt so different to what I was used to, but I’m glad I persevered.  They last for ages and my favourite is the delicious Honey I Washed My Hair. It smells good and does good, so it’s perfect!

Don’t Waste Food

Food waste is one of my absolute pet hates and I make sure I always use up leftovers, whether that’s for lunch or as part of the evening meal the next day.  We plan our meals before we shop, shop with a shopping list and try stick to this so we don’t overbuy food.  It is estimated that almost 2 million tonnes of food waste is thrown away in the UK, with about 1/8th of this being completely edible.  A new law in France means that supermarkets can no longer throw away edible food, which is a step in the right direction and hopefully the UK will soon follow suite. 

Eat Less Meat

I haven’t eaten any animal products for almost a year now and I feel so much better for it and prior to that I was vegetarian for about 5 years.  The United Nations state that livestock production accounts for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions and although exact figures vary, depending on which scientist you reference, (the lowest figure I read was 14.5% and the highest was 51%) if everyone reduced their meat intake we could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   I know, from experience, that a vegan diet is not easy to transition to even after being vegetarian for years.  However, it is possible for everyone to reduce their meat intake; start with Meat Free Monday and take it from there. Every little helps!

Two things I’m working on are buying more local produce and to start growing my own fruit and herbs.  Buying local produce is easier in France than in the UK, as most of the supermarkets sell a lot of local produce.  I love the wine aisles in France, where the majority of wine will be from different wine producing regions of France, such as Bordeaux, the Loire or Champagne rather than from overseas.  I have had very limited success growing veg over the last two years, but my gardening skills are improving!  My biggest success this year is my grow fig tree and I am excited for my first fig harvest, which will hopefully be next year. 

Did you find these tips helpful or do you already do these things?  What are your top eco-friendly tips?  Let me know in the comments!

À bientôt

Catherine xx

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