7 eco-friendly tips for a greener and more sustainable summer
By Celia Topping Wednesday 19 May 2021
Are you looking forward to a glorious English summer of picnics, BBQs, lazy afternoons in the garden, and long, light evenings? So are we! And we want to make sure our summer is as eco-friendly as possible – so here are a few top tips for a greener, more sustainable summer.
1. Plan a staycation
Travelling is wonderful. It opens your mind and frees your spirit. But travelling thousands, or even hundreds of miles on a plane releases vast amounts of carbon emissions that are damaging to our planet. Reduce your carbon footprint this year by taking a staycation. You don’t have to go abroad to find adventure and beauty. The UK is blessed with a stunning coastline, as well as majestic mountain ranges, dense forests, and mile upon mile of moorland and meadow.
You’d be surprised at how varied and fascinating our small island can be when you start to explore. There are hundreds of eco-friendly options all around the UK, so travelling doesn't have to mean jumping on a plane. Why not make a conscious effort to discover the beauty closer to home this year?
2. Go green in the garden
Being outside is a top priority in the summertime, and gardening is a favourite pastime for many Brits. But you don’t have to have a big garden to enjoy the benefits of gardening. Even keeping a tidy window box of flowers, fruits or herbs can help bring nature into your home.
If you have a garden, remember – the more foliage you have, the more carbon you’re locking up. So don’t be too minimal with your planting! Learn how to attract bees and butterflies to your own eco-friendly and sustainable garden, in our practical guide.
3. Hang your clothes out
Summer is a good opportunity to change how we do our household chores. According to The Guardian, a tumble dryer uses around 4kWh of electricity and produces around 1.8kg of CO21. But if we dried just one load of washing outside instead, we could save over a million tonnes of CO2 in a year. It may take a moment or 2 longer, but being outside in the fresh air while you peg the washing is good for the environment and your wellbeing.
For more info on how to be more energy-efficient with your laundry, check out our guide.
4. Eat outside responsibly
Summer’s all about BBQs, picnics and camping out. But while you’re enjoying some al fresco eating, remember a few simple rules:
Ditch the plastic, and choose reusable or recyclable plates, cups and cutlery instead. If you’re eating at home, you could stock up on some second-hand charity finds, for a quirky table-setting. Or if you’re further afield, there are plenty of recyclable and compostable options made of sugar cane, bamboo or palm leaves.
Give your guests cloth napkins rather than paper – and swap single-use kitchen-wipes for good old-fashioned reusable cloth wipes, with eco-friendly detergent.
Buying local produce from farmers’ markets means your food’s created fewer carbon emissions during transportation.
Reduce the meat. We all know about the shocking amount of carbon emissions created in producing meat. So try limiting, or even cutting out meat altogether. Find some delicious vegan recipes from the BBC’s Max La Manna, or ask your guests to bring something meat-free for a lazy pot-luck lunch.
Finally, remember the “leave no trace” rule, and take all your litter home with you.
For more tips on hosting the perfect eco-friendly BBQ, read our useful guide. And to find out whether it’s greener to use your dishwasher or wash by hand, look no further.
5. Leave the car at home
While jumping in the car may be tempting, it’s far greener to go by bike (or even by e-bike). So why not make the trip more about the journey than the destination? Get a few friends together and go on a bike ride out of town. And if you take a picnic along, you could make a day of it.
If cycling isn’t your thing, jump on a train to somewhere you’ve not been before. And don’t forget, exploring locally can be just as much fun as a long-distance trip. If you simply must drive, then car-pool with friends, to cut down on emissions.
Of course, you needn’t worry so much about emissions if you have an electric car. Find out all about the benefits of driving an EV in our practical guide. And if you’d like to have a look at eco-friendly travel options, have a look here.
6. Make a pledge to unplug for a day
It may come as a surprise to realise that, we produce a carbon footprint when we’re online. So the more we’re away from our connected devices, the more we'll help the planet get greener. For more info, have a look at our article on the impact of the Internet on the environment, and how to reduce your internet footprint.
While the weather’s warm and the days are long, let’s take the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends, and disconnect from our iPads, games and phones. It’s better for the environment, and it’s better for you!
And while your device is at home, remember to unplug it. Leaving it in standby mode still uses electricity, creates carbon emissions, and costs you money.
7. Reuse your water bottle
Of course, it’s important to keep hydrated in hot weather – but let’s be conscious of the choices we make while doing that. Single-use plastics like bottled water are costly to produce – and they use up valuable natural resources during production and transportation. It’s estimated that 35.8 million plastic bottles are used every day in the UK, and almost half aren’t recycled2.
The resulting plastic pollution creates mountains of waste, enters our environment and waterways, or ends up as landfill. The moral of this story? Get a reusable water bottle and refill, refill, refill! With so many brands and designs available, you’re bound to find one you like, and it will make a positive impact on our planet this summer.
If you want to find out more about how to recycle plastics, read our practical guide about recycling and why it's so important.
Want to go green all year round? Read our ultimate guide to being more environmentally friendly, with 30 tips to follow.
OVO plants trees for you!
Well, we don’t actually come over and plant a tree in your back garden – but our partnership with the Woodland Trust means we plant a tree every year in your name, for every year you’re with us3. And not only that – if you switch to OVO, we can guarantee:
100% renewable electricity as standard4
3-5% Interest Rewards for every year your account has a positive balance5
Access to OVO Greenlight for free energy-saving tips
An award-winning smart meter experience (Uswitch 2020)
A £50 gift card every time you introduce a friend to us
A 5-Star TrustPilot rating by 30,000 members
So get a quote, find out how much you could be saving, and switch today!
Sources and references:
3. Each year, OVO plants 1 tree for every member in partnership with the Woodland Trust. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so tree-planting helps to slow down climate change.
4. The renewable electricity we sell is backed by renewable certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates (REGOs)). See here for details on REGO certificates and how these work.
5. Interest Rewards are paid on credit balances of customers paying by monthly Direct Debit. It is calculated at 3% in your first year, 4% in your second year and 5% in your third year (and every year thereafter) if you pay by Direct Debit. Interest Rewards are paid monthly based on the number of days you have a positive balance and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. Full terms apply