Small, positive actions can add up to big changes. Our new mag columnist Stephanie Todd, aka Insta-activist Sustainable Stephanie, explains how this way of thinking works for her.
"Not only is Asda helping us to reuse and recycle more, it also puts a valuable resource that might have ended up in landfill to good use."
The mindful consumer
When faced with daily headlines about the climate crisis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and wonder, ‘How, in a world of over 7.7 billion people, can I make a difference?’
This was a question I first asked myself in 2015; as a recent Environmental Sciences graduate, I felt overcome by the enormity of the global challenges we face. I decided to start with my own lifestyle choices – something I could control. I took a good, hard look at my life and realised that I wasn’t practising what I was preaching. It was time to change!
I launched my Instagram profile @sustainable_stephanie to document my sustainability journey. I also began the initiative #SustainableSwapSunday, where I continue to challenge myself and my followers to incorporate a sustainable swap into our lifestyle each weekend. I learned early on that aiming for perfection can actually be discouraging. Rather, I stay mindful and do what I can as often as I can. I’ve come to appreciate that while my actions alone can’t solve the climate crisis, they’re not insignificant – and neither are yours.
SHOP CLEANER AND GREENER: MY TOP 5 TIPS
The supermarket is a great place to start making sustainable swaps...
1) Buy loose fruit and veg to cut down on packaging waste. Otherwise, opt for goods with widely recyclable packaging, such as glass, cardboard and aluminium.
2) Include veggie meals in your diet to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Meat and dairy are associated with much higher carbon emissions than plant-based food*.
3) Shopping for food you’ll eat soon? Choose items nearing their use-by date. This reduces the risk of them needing to be binned by the store because they passed their use-by unsold.
4) Wave goodbye to plastic bags and remember to pack reusable totes and refillable containers when you head in-store. I always carry a reusable bag for impromptu food shopping.
5) Work with nature: choose organic produce if you can, even if it’s just an item or two. This kind of farming prohibits synthetic fertilisers and restricts pesticides – great news for pollinators! Look out for logos such as EU Organic and Soil Association on products.
Here are just some of the ways we are helping our customers to make sustainable swaps and be more mindful of the environment...
● As the first food retailer to remove single-use plastic carriers from our online** and in-store grocery operations, we’ve cut the production of bags by 375 million each year.
● Plastic straws will be banished from our shelves from October, so we don’t add to the estimated 8.3 billion that litter coastlines globally, posing a risk to marine wildlife.
● We’ve slimmed down the size and thickness of packaging for our Little Angels nappies, and removed the handles. This has saved 70 tonnes of plastic so far.
● Where plastic is the best packaging material for our products, we are committed to choosing recyclable plastics that include recycled material wherever possible. You may have noticed that the non-recyclable black plastic trays once used for our own-brand ready meals have been replaced by 100% recyclable trays made from 80-85% recycled plastic.
Stephanie says: ‘Not only is Asda helping us to reuse and recycle more, it also puts a valuable resource that might have ended up in landfill to good use. Even the cosy filling used in its own-brand bedding is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. ‘Asda’s initiatives are helping to turn the tide on plastic waste and encourage important changes in behaviour that add up to make a huge difference. Thanks to these initiatives, you may already be making sustainable choices without even realising it!’
*Source: wwf.org.uk/what-we-do/food; also Nature: Assessing the efficiency of changes in land use for mitigating climate change. **Excluding bags used for hygiene reasons in online grocery orders. †Source: sciencedirect.com/science/ article/pii/S0308597X15002985. ††Since 2018