How can you lead a more sustainable lifestyle?


Hand environment

Sustainability is one of those buzz words you hear everywhere, but do you know what it means to be sustainable?

Sustainability is one of those buzz words you hear everywhere, but do you know what it means to be sustainable? 

For many people, it’s a term that seems complicated, meaningless and, therefore, probably expensive. But that’s not the case.

If you think about sustainability in practical terms, it can be defined as any action or process we perform that causes little or no harm to the natural world. In other words, it’s about finding ways to meet our needs without compromising future generations.

Reading that definition, you probably associate sustainability with the environment, but it goes further.

Why is sustainability important?

Sustainability is important because the earth has finite resources.

As a society, when it comes to food, clothing, and energy, we have evolved to want the cheapest, fastest option. But those desires could result in making our planet uninhabitable socially, physically, and economically for future generations.

We’ve already seen how our actions have impacted climate, mass animal extinctions and human exploitation – but we can make a difference by adopting sustainable practices in our daily lives.

Six ways you can lead a more sustainable life

“The biggest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan, OBE.

Moving to a more sustainable way of life is easier than you think. Here are six ways you can bring sustainability into your daily life.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

People generate a lot of waste. Londoners produce 223 tonnes of waste in one hour, which equates to 2 million tonnes of waste per year. In the past, we all believed that we could adopt a ‘make-use-dispose’ society by burying our waste in landfill. But it’s now clear the impact that has had on our climate and the natural world.

The importance of reducing waste has never been more apparent. In an ideal world, there would be no waste; everything would be recycled and reused. We’re a long way from reaching that goal, but you can still help by reducing what you use and reusing or recycling what you don’t need anymore.

Moving away from single-use plastics, disposable products (such as nappies) and drinking filtered tap water rather than bottled water are just a few ways to reduce waste.

Reusing items is also essential. Before you throw anything out, think about how it can be repurposed elsewhere in your home or garden. If you can’t use it, take it to a charity shop or pre-loved shop like the one LondonEnergy runs at our Kings Road site; it might be just what someone else has been looking for and helps divert items from landfill, giving them a second life. 

If you’re not sure how to reuse something, taking it to your local reuse and recycle centre is a great way to make sure every last piece of recyclable material is recycled. 

Renewable energy

The most significant step you can take is switching to renewable energy.

If you don’t like that idea or are unable to, install a smart meter so you can see how much energy you’re using.  

It’s also possible to create energy from our waste. That’s precisely what we do here at LondonEnergy. Any refuse that can’t be recycled goes to our Energy from Waste plant to be incinerated, generating enough electricity to power LondonEnergy’s operations and 80,000 homes and businesses every year.

Grow your own

There are many ways to improve your health and life while contributing to a more sustainable world: an allotment, vegetable patch, herb garden, or a few tomato plants in a grow bag are just a few examples.

Within London, there are 741 allotment sites and 40,000 individual plots where individuals and communities can get involved by adopting a more sustainable way of life.

Growing your own means, you’ll buy less food that must be transported from distant locations, reducing emissions. Plus, it’s a great way to get your children involved and teach the next generation how to be sustainable.

Conserving water

Taking showers instead of baths, not leaving taps running while cleaning your teeth, reducing the amount you water your lawn – these are all ways you can help conserve one of our precious resources.

You can also use water butts to collect rainwater which you can then use to water your plants. 

Using sustainable transport

Transport is a massive carbon emitter. Cars are particularly bad.

You can do your bit by walking and cycling wherever possible or using public transport. Many companies are helping by encouraging schemes like carpooling or cycling to work.

If you need access to your own transport, perhaps think about an electric or hybrid car. 

Sustainable fashion

Cheap, fast fashion appeals to our wallets but isn’t sustainable on several levels.

First, the people who make it work in poor conditions for very little money. Second, as an industry, it is responsible for an estimated 10% of global carbon emissions and is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply ( And finally, the products are of poor quality, don’t last, and therefore are thrown away.

Did you know the average UK household owns £4,000 of clothes, spends £1,700 per year on new clothes, and 30% of the clothing in the UK hasn’t been worn for a year?

Instead, buy second-hand clothes. You can go to charity shops or websites such as Thrift or Vinted. If you want to buy new, look for sustainable brands by using sites like Good On You to check their sustainability ratings.

Why not learn how to repair, rework, or upcycle your clothes so you’ll want to wear them again? The North London Waste Authority is working hard to promote sustainable fashion. Its ‘My Wardrobe, My Way’ campaign encourages you to embrace your own style and be conscious of how you get it. It also works with Repair Cafés, offering free events across north London to help residents fix and improve items, including clothes. And if you do have clothes you no longer want, donate them to charity or sell them.

Building a sustainable future

Your personal actions may not seem a lot in the short term, but setting an example and instilling a commitment to sustainable living in your children will have a massive impact.

Encouraging the next generation to live a more sustainable life is the best gift you can give them.

LondonEnergy’s waste management system is delivering world-class waste management for a sustainable future in London.