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Sustainable Living Tips for A New Year

02 January 2023

photoshop_sustainable_living.jpgNick from Ruthin u3a shares some advice on ways to be more eco friendly in 2023. This is an excerpt taken from Ruthin u3a's monthly newsletter, which regularly has advice on how to be more eco-friendly. Nick is a member of Ruthin u3a's Sustainable Living group and of the Interest Groups Online Countdown to COP group.

Challenging times. We are told that the planet cannot sustain our current lifestyle. The challenge for us all is to find out what we can do to make a difference. Here are some brief suggestions  on how individuals could contribute to a more sustainable future. Here are some to have a think about:
Where does your food come from?
The further food travels, the greater its carbon footprint.  If you define ‘local’ as within say 30 miles of where you live could you buy all meat, fish, bread, dairy, fruit and veg locally for a week?
  • Check with local shops to see where they source their fresh produce.
  • Find out what's in season: Seasonal calendar - BBC Good Food
  • If you have a farmers' market near you, they can be a good visit for local produce.
 Do you know where is your money invested…?
…. by your pension scheme, bank, savings schemes, even insurance companies? Many such investments support fossil fuel companies. Influencing your investments is said to be one of the most powerful tools for individuals to counter climate change. Make enquiries, ask questions, demand change!
You can read more about this on Which?
How do you travel?
This month, why not try to make at least one journey without using a car. The alternatives are walking, cycling or using public transport. The first two will help you keep fit and all three will reduce CO2 emissions. You may meet other people and it could save you money! Remember, all over 60’s travel free on the buses in Wales (you get your free bus pass from the County Council).
Is your diet having a greater impact on the environment than it needs to?
There is a strong scientific consensus that, globally, we need to reduce meat and dairy consumption.
Of course, ‘the devil is in the detail’ – e.g. local, grass-fed beef is a world apart from the high impact production of more intensive systems.
Have a look at the BBC’s Climate change food calculator which helps you understand your diet's carbon footprint and provides some startling comparisons!
This month’s ‘green’ tip
Ecosia is an internet search engine that spends 100% of its profits on climate action, with at least 80% funding tree planting across the world. Like other search engines, Ecosia makes money each time users click on an advert – BUT the profits are put to good use. PLUS they don’t compile a profile of their users and sell data to advertisers. AND they generate more electricity than they use, with their own solar panels.
Find out more on Ecosia's website.
Recycling news
Do you have a problem with plastic recycling? Good news then that soft plastics (polythene bags, crisp packets, film etc) can be dropped off at Tesco or the Coop for recycling. If you put them in your black bin or in general waste at the recycling centre, they are incinerated.
‘Too good to trash’ - items that are in reasonable condition are now put to one side in the recycling centre for members of the public to help themselves. Good for both discarders and bargain hunters!  Someone recently 'salvaged' four good dining chairs, some nearly new Pyrex dishes and a beach windbreak!
Home-made compost vs peat
If you have space, try using a compost heap or bin to dispose of your vegetable peelings and garden waste. Within a year you will have lovely usable compost which is much better for the environment than peat-based composts. Peat is a finite resource which undisturbed captures huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.
For more information click here to read 10 tops tips on composting from the Eden Project.
As shown by this summer’s drought, water is an important resource which is not infinite. To conserve water there are lots of things you can do – and several reasons why it’s a good idea – it saves energy (in water production and delivery) so reduces your carbon footprint; it’s good for wildlife; it helps secure supplies; and if you have a meter will save you money.
  • Take short showers instead of baths.
  • Put an object, brick, stone or ‘hippo’ in your toilet cistern.
  • Save the water you run off when running the hot tap. Use waste water to water your plants.
For more information go to and click on Save Water.
If you are a member of a u3a environmental group - why not get in touch with us and tell us what you are doing in your group and the changes you're making? We'd love to hear from you - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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