Park Holme Resident and Waste Warrior
My name's Sarah and I'm currently living in Park Holme whilst I assess where I want to settle. Whilst I'm no expert, I try to do the best I can with what I have.
Being a renter often comes with the feeling of being at the whims and restrictions of the property owner, however I've found that with some good conversations and thinking differently, there are still sustainability wins to be had.
In summer, I keep the house cool by closing all windows, doors and blinds during the day and then opening up the house at night when it's cooler outside, ensuring good cross ventilation to shift the warm air out. This means no electronic temperature control is needed
In winter, I eliminate drafts and heat my body with good quality extra layers, rather than heating the space
I try to use as little energy as possible which sometimes means going without. This is not for everybody but also encourages more creativity and discovery of new and old hobbies like pottery instead of TV time and games nights with friends instead of movies
I reuse water as much as possible by capturing any rinse water from vegetable washes or the beginning of the shower and using this to wash clothes if it's clean enough and then to nurture my garden.
Using only cold water for clothes washing and sharing loads with house-mates ensures the washing machine is used efficiently. Always air drying is a simple but energy conscious habit as well
Using active transport (cycling and walking) as much as possible and using public transport where necessary/practical keeps me fit and healthy, saves money as well as being better for our environmental
Saving jars and filling them at wholefood stores reduces packaging and somehow makes you slightly more conscious of healthy eating as this avoids the naughty supermarket isles
Embracing local farmers markets for fresh seasonal produce further reduces packaging and provides nutritious food that stays fresh for longer and supports the community
Op-shopping for clothes, kitchen ware and any other materials gives things a new lease on life whilst also having positive social benefits
Making home products is creative and reduces waste plus allows fun experimenting with scents and blends
Home composting is something I'm yet to fully master but my garden is already thankful and rewards me in produce
Embracing weeds in the garden ensures the soil is always covered which eliminates water loss and also provides nutrition as many weeds are edible and super sustainable
Cooking from what people call 'scraps' is a favourite past-time of mine. I love nothing more than the challenge of making something out of nothing and it's a great way to express your creativity! Who knew avocado seeds had so many uses and that carrot tops are not only nutritious but delicious! Cooking at home also reduces packaging and for me, is my happy place!
Cooking smart by cooking one item in the water at the base of a steamer and multiple things in the steamer pots on top is great, reducing energy and water wastage. Ensuring the oven is full whenever it's used rewards you with wonderful goodies whilst being energy efficient and turning things off early and allowing them to cook in residual heat also works well
Choosing any packaged foods in materials with the highest recycling value is great like tins and glass rather than plastic. Slightly challenging for some things but it's worth trying!
Being aware of waste is important: I have 7 waste streams to ensure materials go to their rightful place. I try to keep the amount of times the landfill bin is presented to the kerb as minimal as possible (and only present other bins when they're full to reduce the trucks stop/start collections) and I always consider if items are really at the end of their life, if they could be repurposed, passed on or reprocessed somehow
All these little things may not seem like much when you think of them individually, but this list sure turned out bigger than I thought so you can imagine the impact if we all chose to live more sustainably. For me personally, I think I may as well try rather than regretting not taking any action.
I believe that together we can achieve great things, so why not work towards something we can all enjoy!