Every year, 22nd April marks Earth Day and the theme for 2022 is ‘Invest In Our Planet’. This is a key priority for Absolute, so we thought it an opportune moment for us to talk about what we’ve been doing to invest in the Earth and become more sustainable, both as a business and in our personal lives.
We’re all well aware of the extent of the environmental challenges we’re facing: urbanisation, pollution, deforestation, all contributing to what is perhaps the biggest threat to ourselves and the planet – climate change.
These issues are on a global scale, but as a business we know we’ll have a bigger impact (and a smaller carbon footprint) through supporting our local communities and surroundings, and staying local when it comes to our producers, suppliers and recycling service. We source our tap water from a natural spring here in Dunchideock where we are located and we support our local environment by volunteering with and sponsoring the likes of Dartmoor National Park, Dartmoor Zoo and Westcountry Rivers Trust.
But still we felt we could be doing more as a business to reduce our environmental impact, so 2021 saw us set in stone our Sustainable Development Goals to minimise our environmental footprint. You can read more about our plans here.
We’ve all been making changes to become more sustainable in our daily lives too. Here’s what Team Absolute’s been doing (or doing less of!):
Rachael: “I’ve cut down on red meat and when I do eat it, I try and buy it from a local supplier and ensure the animal is grass fed. I’m eating more vegetarian meals and plant-based products, swapping dairy products for things like oat milk and almond or coconut yoghurt.
“I tried out ethical home delivery recipe boxes which use grass fed meat and vegan alternatives – and this really opened my eyes to all the different food alternatives out there. I wouldn’t necessarily have considered trying these and I was surprised at how delicious they can be. The other big benefit I’ve found with these boxes is that there’s no food waste because all meals are provided with pre-measured ingredients.”
Gill: “We’re also trying to be much better about food waste, properly planning meals so we don’t end up chucking out lots of fresh ingredients we didn’t get round to using. And I’m trying to break the habit of buying the same ingredients week-in week-out, as I’ve found that my cupboards are groaning with some ingredients – like pesto, couscous, biscuits, pasta, and fajita seasoning – that I’ve unwittingly stockpiled!
“Finally, this spring, we’ve started a garden compost bin, so much of our kitchen waste is now going into a massive black composting bin and hopefully in the not-too distant-future we can use some of the compost for the veggies we’re growing in the greenhouse and garden.”
Kieran: “My household has been working on reducing our environmental impact through the food we eat. From a food waste perspective, this has involved keeping a physical roster of who’ll be home for dinner on which nights to determine portion size, in addition to composting our food waste rather than throwing it away. We have also been trying to grow our own vegetables as well as buying meat from a butcher rather than a supermarket. Lastly, we’ve been cutting back on beef due to its harmful effect on the environment, and have made sure to avoid eating meat altogether at least one day per week.”
Charley: “I’ve made a conscious effort to change my relationship with fast fashion after discovering the effects my purchases were having on the planet and communities overseas. I learnt from a Business Insider article that the fashion industry amounts for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions; it also sends tons of waste to landfill, facilitates modern-day slavery and uses tons of water. Manufacturing just one pair of jeans, for example, will use 3,781 litres of water – enough for 75 washing machine cycles.
“There was a time when I found it hard to resist that email announcing ‘the big spring/summer sale’, or the posts from Instagram influencers dressed head-to-toe in the latest trends. But now, I enjoy re-working the pieces that are already in my wardrobe or finding the same piece of clothing I found in-store via a second-hand outlet. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I purchased a piece of clothing for myself that wasn’t second-hand.”
Charlotte: “This initially stemmed from the COVID-19 lockdowns, but I now do very little online shopping. I used to buy new clothes online all the time, especially from sites like ASOS which make it so fast and convenient, but working from home meant I just didn’t need all these clothes – and I’ve since realised that I’m more than happy with a much smaller wardrobe. It made me think about the impact of CO2 and plastic packaging too – and speaking of plastic, I’ve started to make a conscious effort to only buy loose fruit and veg as well.”
Abi: “I too am a clothes lover, but I always try and recycle or donate old clothes before I purchase new items. I regularly sort through clothes and shoes when I receive a charity bag through the letterbox. Filling this to the brim and leaving it on the doorstep for the volunteers to collect is not only super easy, but it leaves me feeling satisfied that these clothes will be given a new lease of life whilst at the same time, raising funds for good causes.
“On the food front, we have started to grow our own produce such as cherry tomatoes and herbs to not only avoid food waste, but to cut down food miles too. I have also not eaten tuna since watching Netflix’s documentary Seaspiracy in March 2021 due to the shocking revelation that dolphin-safe tuna isn’t actually dolphin-safe. According to the documentary, 300,000 dolphins, whales and porpoises are killed globally per year by the fishing industry.”
Ewan: “I’m a big one for recycling and reusing materials, fixing broken chairs and tables that would otherwise be unusable. We have a number of old hardwood seats that have come to the end of their life over the years. Each time, I take the chairs to pieces and think how I can reuse the wood. In the main, I keep the good parts so that when one of the other chairs breaks, I can replace a part or make good a section. Our large outdoor table now has several parts of old chairs that have been used to brace sections that need fixing, or to replace parts that have rotted.
“I know full-well that it’s a losing battle in the long-run. But if I can get five more years out of a garden chair or other pieces of garden furniture by mixing and matching, that reduces hardwood deforestation, emissions associated with transport, and makes me feel that little bit better about not contributing to a wasteful society. It’s pretty good fun too, challenging myself to make good something that would otherwise be taken to the tip.”
Lisa: “A passionate recycler, this year I’ve been concentrating on a few new activities – I’m eating less meat and more sustainable fish, I try to drive more often in eco mode, and I’m turning off electrical appliances like TVs that I’d previously have left on standby. A friend has also convinced me of the importance of re-wilding our gardens and how our gardens can act as a haven for wildlife, so that’s next on my agenda!”
What’s next on Absolute’s sustainability agenda
We’ve got more planned as a team to bolster our sustainability efforts in 2022. We’ll be continuing our work with Westcountry Rivers Trust by undertaking a river clean in June.
But what we’re perhaps most excited about – and it’s a key component in our Sustainable Development Goals – is our journey towards becoming carbon neutral. We’re now in the process of measuring our carbon footprint and looking into carbon offset schemes so we can ensure we’re investing in our local environment and our planet as a whole.
Be sure to keep an eye on ‘The Feed’ section of our website and follow us on social media to stay updated.