Sustainable Living: 6 Changes You Can Make Today

It’s difficult to imagine converting to a more sustainable living environment at this time of year. The weeks after Christmas are usually spent gutting the house of tonnes of cardboard, boxes, used wrapping paper, cards, ribbon and (obviously) wine bottles.

As the bins get refilled one last time, and the bottle bank visits come to a close, it’s a great time to think about the changes you can make as a family for the year ahead. One or two small changes can make a huge difference to your carbon footprint and ensure more sustainable living.

It'll make you feel like you have positively contributed to our children’s future too. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Shop Local

The last 12 months have seen a wonderful uptake in the consumer’s commitment to shopping local. Consider how great that is, that our purchases came from maybe 20k away, as opposed to being flown in from halfway across the world. What an enormous difference that makes to the environment.

Grow Your Own

Local allotment spots are open for application until the end of January and I can’t recommend taking on that challenge enough. It is a definite commitment (and hard work!), but has been a source of great adventure to our family AND we eat what we grow there.

Make Your Own

Sometimes the thoughts of baking or cooking can be daunting. But, there are plenty of quick and easy recipes that can be incorporated into your week. We leaned very heavily on takeaways last year but I’m conscious that there is just so much packaging that comes with them! Plus, when we make it ourselves, or together with the kids, everyone seems to be more likely to eat all of it.

Eat More Vegetables

Cutting meat from your diet is not just about eating more healthily, it also has a positive impact on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, as well as our carbon footprint. Much of Ireland’s meat and chicken for sale on supermarket shelves is actually imported – how crazy is that?!

Re-use, Re-use, Re-use

Rather than throwing anything away, first, see how it could be re-used or re-purposed. Empty jars can be used as candle holders or sweet jars. Plastic containers can be kept for all those lovely re-organising jobs you are doing this January! Old clothes can be passed on or brought to the local charity shop. Or make sock puppets like Stacey Soloman does!

Check Your Labels

Sustainable fashion can be tricky. It is most definitely "Shopping With Your Eyes Open" as you check for country of production and materials used. Coffee from your local coffee shop could be ground and imported from another country, for example. Fake eyelashes could be made from mink hairs; underwear and pyjamas from a warehouse in the far East. Once you start looking into it, it’s a bit of a minefield. But the pay-off for your soul when you say "No" to unsustainable shopping will be worth it, I promise.

Sharyn Hayden

Sharyn is the author of comedy smash, 'I Forgot to Take My Pill!' (Amazon) and mammy to two amazing kids, Jacob and Eva. She blogs at and is the creator of Skinny Batch Bakery in North Co. Dublin.

Read more by Sharyn
{{ post.excerpt }}
{{ post.content.formatted }}

What is Family Friendly HQ?

Family Friendly HQ is Ireland’s trusted parenting community, dedicated to mums and dads, and families of all shapes and sizes.

Read more about us