I think my passion for living sustainably was instilled in me from a very young age. My mother, having endured the war and post war rationing, saved everything from tin foil and plastic boxes to the left overs from meals, string and wrapping paper. Everything was reused – we ate soup made from the leftovers (usually delicious, sometimes ‘interesting’), our Christmas stocking presents came in last year’s birthday wrapping and tin foil, string and other odds and ends were always in demand for school projects.
These habits came in useful whilst I was a student when money was extremely limited and to be spent on sensible stuff, such as books, and frivolous stuff such as beer, leaving little left over for food and clothing. I learned 50 ways to cook and eat cabbage, and dressed in clothes from the jumble bin at a local charity shop – my father declared that he had seen tramps look smarter!
There was a brief period, pre-children, when there did seem to be slightly more money coming in than going out, but even then these frugal habits kicked in with Sunday Roast turning into Monday supper and Tuesday packed lunch, and a pair of old doors no longer needed were repurposed into panelling for the bath.
It was many years before I realised that Sustainability had become fashionable and big business, a delayed throwback to the blatant excesses of the 1980’s and 1990’s. At long last people were beginning to realise that the earth’s resources are not infinite, and we have to take more care of them. I get strangely euphoric when I read about new products made from sustainable resources such as disposable plates and bowls made from leaves which will degrade naturally after use.
Living sustainably means some people will have to make changes on how they shop; look at the packaging, find out how products are made and where they come from, make sure you only buy what you need and will use, and explore how to dispose of it when it comes to the end of life.
I am certainly no paragon and I don’t think we should stop ‘treating’ ourselves to life’s little luxuries, but I do try to make sure that we eat all the food we buy and that those little luxuries are used and not left hidden in a cupboard forgotten. If I have things that I no longer need, but could go to a good home, I either sell them on or donate to charity – I find as I get older I dislike clutter even more, and if I don’t need it, I will move it on.
I have incorporated this mind-set into my work and have even worked as a Sustainability Lead within the NHS – an organisation with huge financial burdens that recognises it needs to work in a more sustainable way in order to ensure that it can continue to meet current demands whilst not creating a negative impact on future need. Over the years, I have learned about better ways of dealing with waste, changes to reduce the use of energy and most importantly, how to make the best use of our most valuable resource – our workforce.
I want to share this knowledge and understanding with other businesses to enable you to get the most out of your resources of people, energy, products and time whilst ensuring that what it is that you create or offer is not adversely affected. Whether you are manufacturing widgets, selling a service such as hospitality or caring for others directly or indirectly, I will work with you to ensure that everything you do is done in the best possible way to look after our planet and your bottom line.