Ten tips for greener living
British designer Wayne Hemingway shares his top eco ideas
British designer Wayne champions sustainable living. Below, he shares his top 10 ideas on how to help us all live a little greener.
1) Use and reuse the plastic shower caps you get in hotels
They work well as coverings for food in the fridge, because they are elasticated and can grip tins and bowls. They also can be washed and reused many times. Much more sustainable than cling film!
2) Practise ‘up-cycling’
My design partner and wife [Gerra] and I have always up-cycled – from turning old curtains into cushion covers or skirts during our Camden market days in the 80s to the current way we live, turning old broken boats into sofas and old telegraph poles into garden buildings. We have been quite inventive over the years!
Up-cycling can be as simple as turning a plastic bag into a bin liner or a plastic bottle into a seed propagator.
3) Style it vintage
‘Reuse’ has become a much more attainable way of living your life. With vintage clothes shops within reach of most people, charity shops on just about every shopping street and with the media regularly doing articles on ‘How to do vintage’ and ‘How to re-edit your wardrobe’, there is no excuse for just filling your wardrobe with new stuff every season.
4) Be thrifty
Ask your mum, dad, nan and pop what thrift meant to them. For my nan, it was putting all the small bits of soap bars into a jar, melting them together and making new bars of multi-coloured soap. For my pop, it was shredding the daily newspaper to use as ‘blankets’ to keep the frost off his strawberries. For us, it’s putting used A4 sheets back through the photocopier (though obviously you can only do this once!).
5) Enjoy DIY
The fun we’ve had as a family building tree houses, repainting furniture, making football goals and building permanent barbecues has left a skills legacy with our kids and helped to give them a can-do and get-on-with-it attitude to life.
6) Grow your own vegetables
There is an explosion of advice and products on the market. You can do it in the smallest space: even a window box with some rocket and basil can be very satisfying and is a start to reducing food miles! Veg grown yourself always seems to taste better, too.
7) Reuse water
Diverting a downpipe into a water butt is so simple, even for someone who is rubbish at DIY. We have gone a bit further and dug a pond and installed a storage tank for all the run-off from our roof. This has led to the development of a veritable menagerie in our garden. Water hens, newts, frogs, dragonflies, water voles and even carp are all now part of the Hemingway wildlife reserve.
Turning potato peel into soil: it’s a little bit of magic that puts us, in a small way, back in touch with the life cycle. Add to that those worms that seem to appear from nowhere…. Isn’t life magnificent?
9) Pull on a jumper instead of turning the heating up
a) It can finally make sense of that awful cardie your aunt sent you five Christmases ago.
b) It’s healthier to have fresh air in your house – artificially warm air creates the perfect environment for bugs.
c) Like so many sustainable ideas, it saves you money!
10) Drive less
I have given up taxis and don’t use a car in London. Instead I cycle and walk everywhere as I love the city. As a result, I’ve got to know it even more and am retaining my svelte figure… even at 50!
...and a couple more tips from us!
Did you know recycling one aluminium can saves the same amount of energy required to power a light bulb for three hours? Discover more enlightening facts and figures with our Coca-Cola Recyclometer.