More Love Less Waste Guide #1 – Getting Started in a Sustainable Lifestyle

A Sustainable Journey

First off, congratulations!

You’ve officially taken your first step to making 2022 the year you help (or continue to help) save the planet. 

As lofty as it may sound, it’s true! I hope you feel excited and inspired. And if not, don’t worry… you will soon enough! Working to be more sustainable isn’t always easy, but we’re here to help.

I started Y’earn with a goal to create a community that helped each other through the big, expensive and often wasteful life moments – furnishing your first home and starting a family. Along the way, we started a blog with a very particular mission:

To make it easier for busy parents to make choices that were as good for their family as the planet!

The more parents we talked to, the more we heard that they wanted to make changes but often didn’t know where to start. Or that living in a sustainable way seemed out of reach. It was too hard, too expensive, or too little too late – surely only big brands and governments can make a difference!?

We totally, 100% get it.

But we want to change the narrative! We want you to feel empowered and inspired! And, ultimately, we want you to live a life with More Love, Less Waste. 

A New Series for Sustainable Lifestyles

Enter this series… More Love, Less Waste are short and simple blogs, packed to bursting point with actionable tips and advice on all things sustainable for parents. Even if you don’t have children, it can still help you too.

Yes, we’re asking you to rethink how and what you buy.

Yes, we’re asking you to shift away from the fast fashion, Amazon prime mindset. 

And, yes, it does take time, patience, and practice to create new, long-lasting habits. 

But, thankfully (*holds hands up in celebration*), it doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your entire life! 

Now, if you haven’t read much on climate change then you may not know how real and immediate the problem is. That’s why we’ve gathered some stats to bring it to life and make it a little harder to look the other way.

Rest assured, though, More Love, Less Waste is not about Green Guilt or shaming anyone! Far from it. At Y’earn, we help each other through the big, expensive and often wasteful times in life, right? So expect a complete lack of judgement and a whole lot of encouragement! We know how hard starting a sustainable lifestyle can be.

Whether you read this blog series, listen to our podcast or join our Facebook Group, I hope you learn something that inspires you to make at least one valuable change. It’s an overused quote by Anne Marie Bonneau, but it’s true: 

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

So, go be imperfect and go save the world with every small change you make! 

We Need to Change 

Parenting’s easy!

…said no-one, ever.

Hey, we know just how overwhelming it can be! Sometimes it’s downright impossible to find time to think about your own needs, let alone the bigger environmental picture.

So we’re going to paint a quick picture for you.

The scale of consumption and waste in the UK is pretty terrifying.

Check out these quick-fire stats:

  • Every 7 weeks, the average adult throws away their own body weight in waste.
  • 300,000 tonnes of clothes get sent to landfill every year (worth an estimated £140 million)
  • As much as 80% of the things we throw away could be recycled 
  • Almost one fifth of 16-24 year olds don’t know how to recycle or donate
  • Just under a third of people have thrown away furniture, electrical items and homeware in good enough condition that they could have been re-used, sold or donated
  • Recycling (helpful though it is) sits at the end of the chain! Moreover, we’re only recycling 3% more waste than we did in 2010…

Then there’s the fact we produce 300 million tonnes of plastic around the world each year.

That’s literally almost the same weight as the global population!

We are responsible for a huge amount of plastic waste that’s littered throughout the world.

Sadly, only 10% of this plastic ever gets recycled and a garbage truck of plastic is thrown into the ocean every minute. It’s estimated that by 2050, in terms of weight, there’ll be as much plastic waste in our seas as there are fish.

And the bad news doesn’t stop there…

One third of all food produced worldwide (that’s 1.3 billion tonnes per year!) is wasted. And we Brits take the brunt of the blame! Seriously, the UK produces the highest amount of food waste in Europe – around 9.5 million tonnes each year.

That number didn’t mean much to us at first, but it’s the equivalent of 48,000 blue whales!

If that wasn’t bad enough, 8.4 million people in the UK are currently living in food poverty and 70% of the food we throw out could actually be eaten.

And don’t get us started on the water…

We use 25% of the world’s fresh water supply to grow food we end up sending to the landfill!

Oh, and at the same time sea levels are rising and coastal communities worldwide could lose up to 50% more of their freshwater supplies due to contamination with saltwater. Sea levels are expected to rise by 15-25cms, meaning cities and islands will be lost under water.

Then there are the trees to think about.

4 billion beautiful, life-sustaining trees are cut down every year for paper. That’s 1% of the Amazon Rainforest, every single year. Wildfires are becoming more common too, ruining land, crops and homes. And by 2050, Giant Pandas, Hawksbill Sea Turtles, Bornean Orangutans, Rhinoceros’ and Snow Leopards may be extinct. That’s less than 30 years away, people!

Okay, pause. Breathe. Ahhhhhh. Everything’s going to be alright.

Those sorts of statistics definitely give you a sense of the scale of the problem, right? But we’re not here to add more items to your list of things to worry about! We want to help, inspire hope, and motivate positive action. Being sustainable is simply about ensuring there is enough of our planet left for future generations.

So let’s start talking about all the simple things we can all do to change the environmental picture into one you want your child to be part of…

What does More Love, Less Waste mean? 

More Love, Less Waste is Y’earn’s tag line and encapsulates our belief that renting is a great way to be kind to your family, community and the planet. It brings to life the ethos we’re building as a circular community. Let’s break it down.

More Love

This is about having more love for the planet, our community and what we already own. It means taking the time to think about how and what we buy, exploring new practices that are kinder to the environment, as well as our neighbours near and far. It’s also about giving our money to businesses that align with things we love. 

Less Waste

We’re not just talking about things ending up in landfill. Waste can be anything dumped in the loft or garage that other families could use instead of them buying new. Y’earn focuses on how we can lower all types of waste: products, money, time and the planet’s dwindling resources and energy.

But this blog series isn’t really about Y’earn and our mission, it’s about helping you live more sustainably, so let’s get down to explaining what that really means!

Our impact on the planet

First thing’s first, what actually is sustainable living?

Simply put, it’s about reducing our use of non-renewable resources while simultaneously lowering our contributions to all kinds of pollution. So being sustainable basically means leaving enough of our planet for future generations.

One of the best ways to measure our impact on the planet is through our carbon footprint, or CO2 emissions. 

Reducing our carbon footprint is the world’s ticket out of environmental trouble!

Cycling is a simple way to start living in a more sustainable way.

Alas, having a small carbon footprint is by no means easy nowadays – almost everything we do or produce releases carbon dioxide into the air. Driving and transport, buying clothes and food, showering, running electricity; we’re locked inside in a system that drains and pollutes the earth and causes climate change.

Yikes.

That’s why it’s no surprise many people can feel powerless to affect change on a macro level. It’s sometimes hard to even know if something is good or bad for the environment!

Cow’s milk in my coffee? Definite nope. Don’t want to support animal rights abuses or the vast negative impact of industrial agriculture. Sooo, almond milk?

Ermm, no, can’t use that either. Almond production relies on insane amounts of water (often in places like California, which is notorious for worsening droughts).

Right, then. Soy milk? Hmm, soy’s tricky too. The plantations contribute to mass deforestation.

Oookay, what are we left with? Oats? How about oat milk?! Minimal water use, tick. Low greenhouse gas emissions, tick. I think we have a winner!

…It’s a bit like that process, but for every single thing you buy or do.

However, never fear, there’s a lot we can do on a more personal level. For starters, we can offset our carbon contribution by buying less, or buying more sustainably (like the oat milk!). 

And that’s what this 10 part series is all about.

We’ll show you the simple ways we can be a little kinder to the environment without changing your world too much.. We will be posting new entries every two weeks, with our next article highlighting easy ways anyone can change their purchasing habits.

Join our newsletter and get the series straight to your inbox, plus info about our eco-friendly giveaways. Or, if you’re like us and a little impatient, you can download the series as an E-Guide

If you love what we’re trying to do, please spread the word and help us to grow as a community. Invite people to our More Love, Less Waste Facebook Group, share our podcast, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, or become an Ambassador for our marketplace and earn rewards.

Like what you read? Join our newsletter to be included in our MONTHLY PRIZE DRAW!

If this is your first visit, hello, let us introduce ourselves. Y’earn is a parent-to-parent marketplace to rent Baby & Kids items from people in your community or make some cash if you have items you don’t need right now.

We know that it can feel like a struggle when you want to do good for your kids, the 🌎 and your community. That’s why we want to make it easier for you to embark on your own #MoreLoveLessWaste journey:

  • Info and advice in our Podcast and Blog – from startups, to big brands, experts and policy makers. Focused on how and what we buy, to lower waste and save the planet.
  • Daily tips, discussion and a chance to ask your questions in our FB Group
  • Offers and a monthly prize if you join our newsletter – so you never miss what’s going on.
  • And of course, saving and making money with our marketplace. We even plant 🌲, adopt 🐝 and donate to children’s charities, together.

Expect a big helping of humour and a lack of judgement. We’re helping each other and the planet, one rental at a time. #MoreLoveLessWaste 💙

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Y'earn Baby & Kids

Y’earn is a parent-to-parent marketplace to rent Baby & Kids items from people and small businesses in your community or make some cash if you have items you don't need right now. We plant 🌲 and adopt 🐝, plus give to children’s charities.

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