Here at Tom Raffield, we love our surrounding environment, along with the constant inspiration it provides, so we do everything we can to protect and care for it. That's why we’ve collated our six favourite tips for living a more environmentally conscious life this summer, and beyond.
Summer is the perfect time of the year to embrace the outdoors whilst the weather is more settled. Creating a vibrant vegetable patch or herb garden will not only save you money by minimising supermarket trips and buying plastic-wrapped produce but, bees and butterflies will thank you for the extra greenery to be pollenated.
For smaller garden spaces, consider vertical gardening. Whether you opt for trailing plants (such as tomatoes) in hanging pots to bring life to a high wall, or select tall flowers like sunflowers that grow from the ground up, there is always a way to turn a small garden space into a big harvest. If you're short on space choose crops that will guarantee a large yield for your efforts such as peas, cucumbers and low maintenance 'cut and come again' lettuce.
TR tip – Get creative and upcycle containers like toilet roll tubes and egg cartons into seedling pots to avoid buying the plastic alternative. Unusual ideas can add texture and interest to your garden, as well as saving you money and re-using items that might otherwise have been discarded.
A year of no holidays abroad has left many of us seeking sunshine, but holidaying at home is undeniably better for the environment and can be just as fun. Seek some ‘out of the ordinary’ experiences in your area - activities that you wouldn't usually do at the weekend - that will keep the whole family busy and entertained.
Be a tourist in your own town. We often take our local villages for granted, under appreciating what they have to offer. Plan some local activities, such as a beach day, a park picnic, or a woodland walk to get in touch with the environment that is close to home – whilst still indulging in usual holiday treats of course!
Take part in re-wilding your local area. Re-wilding is moving away from current forestry techniques and allowing nature to thrive. Over the past 50 years, more than half the world’s wildlife population is thought to have been lost; re-wilding helps the effort to bring some endangered species back.
Take your loved ones to a local nature area and help remove anything that is stopping nature from flourishing, and even build some stable homes for local insects and animals. If you are unsure on where to begin, get involved with Ecologior a local tree planting group.
Swap short drives in the car for a bike ride or walk – especially if you are just nipping into town for some necessities or heading to your favourite local café for some lunch.
Not only does cycling lower greenhouse gas contribution dramatically, but it decreases the noise pollution in the area too. The more we reduce our driving, the greater the need for more traffic-free, green spaces - improving wildlife and biodiversity. Cycling or walking also gives you a chance to see your area from a fresh perspective and experiment with new routes, all whilst improving your physical and mental health – win win.
TR tip – Leave a reusable bag by your bike to take along on your trips in case of a spontaneous purchase, meaning you won’t have to buy any plastic bags.
This sounds like a simple one, but focusing on small tasks you do every day at home and introducing greener rituals is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and be more sustainable. For instance, hanging clothes outside rather than using a tumble dryer or a heated rack will save on energy consumption.
Switch to eco-friendly washing detergent and cleaners that still tackle dirt and grime but are a lot safer for the planet. There is a wide offering of products that are free from any harmful chemicals or pollutants, as well as coming in a recyclable or refillable container.
Rethink your wardrobe
It might be hard to hear, but you don’t need to buy new clothes for upcoming events. Fast fashion is a mindset and part of consumer culture, with companies telling us we always need “new”. There are many worthwhile alternative options to buying new - looking after what you have better, shopping second-hand or even hiring clothes for special events.
Weddings may be back on… but this doesn’t mean you need new clothes to attend. Why not try exchanging outfits with friends or family for upcoming events? These outfits may not be brand new, but they will be new to you and your wardrobe, which is just as good.
Take stock of your clothing by pulling everything out of your wardrobe, down to the last pair of socks. You might discover long forgotten gems that have made their way to the bottom of the pile, but most likely you will be able to pass on those unwanted pieces onto your local charity shop.
Unplug and unwind
Stop the ‘energy vampires’ from using power when they are not in use. Many devices continue to use electricity even when they’re not turned on and can account for up to 10% of your monthly electricity bill.
To combat this, do an unplugging sweep as you head to bed for the evening, ensuring to only plug something in you will need. This includes your Wi-Fi router! plus, this will also help you stay off screen when you are in bed, in turn helping your sleeping pattern improve.
Let the daylight in and allow the warm glow of the sun to brighten your space. Natural light is a lot kinder on your eyes and provides a perfect mood boost – starting your day off right. Turn off lights when you leave a room, and only turn on task lighting when needed.