How to sustainably survive the lockdown

Apart from the heroic key workers, most of us are now working from home and for me this has meant a huge change in what I do each day, how often I go shopping and what I buy.

Our weekly food shop is our only trip into the outside world and we are changing the way we shop because of it. With Earth day 2020 taking place last week, it gave me the opportunity to think about how the changes I am being forced to make now could continue after this pandemic passes.

How can we be more environmentally friendly?

Reduce Food waste

As we are only doing, a ‘big shop’ once a week we have to be more careful and plan what we buy. We have an ongoing list that is updated when things are finished (this tends to be mostly chocolate
digestives!). I check the cupboards and freezer to see what I already have, and as the shops are now fully stocked, there is no need to stockpile.

Buy locally if you can, my local butcher is doing a roaring trade with a queue outside his door every day. Many small local shops have expanded their range and may be offering delivery to those who are isolating. Support your local shops so that they can survive past the pandemic.

Use up your leftovers, plan another meal with what is left or freeze into small portions for last minute meals.

The Food heroes’ workshop is a great interactive activity, which you can do with your children as part of their home-school day. It is a follow along video with fun activities for all ages, which will introduce you to the Global goals for sustainable development, and will help you to identify and reduce your impact from food and food waste. A certificate of participation is available which children can share with their schoolteachers.

English and Welsh videos are available on YouTube or on our Facebook page:


Our local council will collect our food waste but we also have a compost bin. Set aside a space in your garden if you have one, local councils often sell compost bins so check with them before buying one online.

Sustainable shopping

With most shops closed, our only option for lots of items is online shopping but rather than use large chains or online shops look for local sellers and shops, choose organic fibres and recycled fabrics. Now is not the time for fast fashion as no one is interested in the latest trend, choose comfortable clothes that are made to last and are good for the environment.

Clear out your cupboards

According to WRAP, “The value of unused clothing in wardrobes has been estimated at around £30 billion. It is also estimated £140 million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year” Take this time to look at what you have in your wardrobe, try it all on, and decide what to keep and bag up the rest to donate to a charity shop or sell online once the crisis is over. Clothes bins take clothes that are not good enough to sell and often this is sold to make rags please don’t put it in the bin!

Switch to Green energy providers

Often we do not have the time to look for new energy providers and so stay with our current deal, this can be expensive. Now we are at home all day every day I suspect energy bills will increase so
why not look to switch to a Greener energy provider. Green energy is energy we get from renewable sources that will not run out, rather than non-renewable sources like oil or coal – which we cannot replenish once they are gone. It’s called ‘green’ to show that it’s better for the environment; producing power from these sources cuts down the negative impact on the planet through a smaller carbon footprint.

Get outside – the ultimate free activity

Many of us who exercised before the lockdown are finding the opportunity to run, walk, or cycle a lifesaver during this stressful time (me included). It is also a great opportunity to develop a love of exercise alone or as a family. We have been blessed with fantastic weather and so walks in the countryside or park near your home is a great chance to connect with nature, get some fresh air and vitamin D.

Don’t forget – always follow the latest government guidance on social distancing when exercising.

If you want to make your daily exercise more meaningful check out Trash Free trails ‘Selfless isolation project’. A great way to “add some purposeful adventure to your daily exercise” and an opportunity to get some education and fun in so the kids won’t notice!

By our Training Officer, Donna Heath (World Chefs Sustainability Champion for Wales)