Buying local to solar charge – 14 ways to make your staycation eco-friendly

THE foreign-holiday departure gates may be opening – but with the prospect of ever-changing restrictions and expensive testing, millions of us will be having staycations this summer.

It means you can have a beautiful break here in Blighty while protecting the Earth.

The Sun has launched its Green Team campaign for readers to make small lifestyle changes to save some money and help the planet. Here, eco consumer expert and climate scientist Angela shares her top holiday hacks for making your UK break as environmentally friendly as possible.

  • For more green tips and advice, see Angela’s website onehome.org.uk.

Join The Sun’s ‘Green Team’ & save the planet

MAKING simple everyday changes can add up to a BIG difference to the planet.

And we want you and your family to join The Sun's Green Team – our eco revolution. 

It can feel overwhelming to know how to play a part in reducing greenhouse gasses, but we will be showing you the practical steps we can take to curb climate change – with the help of the global ‘Count Us In’ initiative.

And our easy measures will even help you SAVE money so your household budget goes further.

We'll help you to reduce food waste, insulate your home, create tasty planet-friendly meals and take simple steps to trim your carbon footprint.

We want you to go online to sign-up to as many of our special Green Team pledges as you can manage and a special calculator will show you how much carbon you will personally save.

It won’t cost you a penny but the total you and your family will save will be added to the global ‘Count Us In’ total and the platform will support you every step of the way. 

So tap here to pledge.

1. Switch off

Before locking your front door, make sure you turn off the hot water, electrical items and central heating if it is on a timer. This will help you save on those power bills and reduce your carbon emissions.

2. We there yet?

If you load up the car to travel, how you drive can have a big impact on your carbon footprint. Most cars achieve peak fuel efficiency at between 30mph and 50mph. Above 55mph, your fuel consumption goes up as much as 15 per cent for every extra 10mph. So driving at 60mph rather than 80mph will cut emissions and fuel costs by almost a third.

3. Go by train 

It’s around three times more efficient than travelling by car, on a passenger-per-mile basis, so think about using trains rather than driving. Booking in advance and using family railcards can lower the costs.

4. Shower power

Rather than reach for disposable wipes, consider a solar-powered shower on your camping trip. It needs to be left in the sun for only a couple of hours to warm to a decent temperature. They cost from £19.99 at Decathlon.

5. Eco BBQ

Are you planning to cook up a feast? Swap one meat meal for veggie and try getting the barbecue started with organic eco-firelighters. They are easy to light, give off no chemical aromas and are made from wood biomass and vegetable oil. You can find them at Campingworld.co.uk for £2.99.

6. Scoot around

Is your staycation based around a city break? Then consider renting an electric scooter. More than 30 areas in the UK are taking part in e-scooter trials and this way of getting about is far more climate-friendly than driving. It will also be a lot of fun.

7. Find a forest

If you are near woodland, spending time there has several health benefits. While trees soak up carbon from the atmosphere, they can also bring down your blood pressure, calm your nerves, boost your immune system, increase your ability to focus and accelerate recovery time if you have been ill.

8. Tent share

Camping? Consider pitching in and buying a tent with another family. It is unlikely you will want to use it every weekend, and sharing resources is great for lowering emissions. Or buy one second-hand on a site such as eBay.

9. Green days 

Several visitor attractions around the UK are designed as eco-friendly and sustainable. The Eden Project in Cornwall is well known for this. Or try the BeWILDerwood adventure parks in Cheshire and Norfolk.

10. Wash less

If you are staying in a B&B or hotel, look for the option to have your towels washed only when you ask, rather than on a daily basis. This can save significant amounts of water and energy during your break.

11. Shop local

Buying produce locally helps reduce emissions associated with transporting food, and supports local growers. Exploring a farmers’ market, or at least paying attention to the origin of your food – noted on its label – is a good start. Air-freighted food creates as much as 30 times more green-house gases than shipped.

12. Solar charge

Keeping phones, tablets and other gadgets charged while camping can be tricky. A solar-powered battery pack uses the sun to get the job done. There are many solar chargers on the market but look for one with decent capacity, ideally enough to charge a smartphone ten times. Some are waterproof and have torches.

13. Wear it well

It is tempting to buy new summer clothes for your holidays. But the fashion industry produces ten per cent of all carbon emissions, and 85 per cent of discarded textiles end up going to landfill each year. 

Instead of buying new items, use apps such as Depop or Rebelle to find some second-hand bargains. Or look around charity shops to find a sustainable outfit.

14. Picnic smart

Don’t rely on single-use plastic plates and cups if you pack a picnic. Swap to compostable plates. They are sturdy, and once you are finished, simply bury them in the ground or pop them in the compost – they are biodegradable so break down into nutrient-rich matter. A pack of 50 is £4.48 at disposablegreen.com.

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