On our plastic-free soapbox: we join the movement for cleaner streets and oceans

This Saturday marks the start of Plastic Free July, a global movement empowering millions to combat plastic pollution and create cleaner streets, oceans, and thriving communities. It’s time to unveil the harsh reality behind the scenes: over 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced annually worldwide, with a staggering 50% designed for single-use. Shockingly, less than 10% of this plastic actually gets recycled.

The shocking reality of plastic pollution: trash trivia facts

As we researched various modules for our e-learning programme, 100 Ways in 100 Days, dedicated to helping individuals work, live, and think sustainably, we uncovered some intriguing revelations. So trivia enthusiasts and pub quiz aficionados, pay attention and help spread the #plastic-free word!

Did you know that even the most remote locations on Earth, like the Mariana Trench (the deepest point in the ocean) and Mount Everest (the highest mountain peak), are not immune to the impact of human activity? Microplastics, and even plastic bags in the case of the Mariana Trench, have contaminated these inaccessible wonders.

Now, let’s shift our focus closer to home. During a beach clean in Cornwall, an astonishing discovery was made: a plastic lollipop stick modelled to be the legendary football player and former England coach, Kevin Keegan. This relic from a 1970s promotional campaign allowed children to create a football team with it. It’s hard to believe that more than 40 years have passed since its creation.

The durability of plastic is both its benefit and its curse. Plastic sticks, often from earbuds or lollipops, pose a direct threat to marine life due to their poor biodegradability.

Prepare for another eye-opening fact: most chewing gum contains plastic. Yes, you read that correctly! Not only is it unpleasant to think about, but it also costs a staggering £7 million annually to remove chewing gum from UK streets alone. And chewing gum is generally not biodegradable, meaning it could well outlive our children’s children’s children.

Thankfully, a new generation of 100% natural, plant-based gums has emerged as a solution. These delightful gums are not only delicious but also completely free from plastic and biodegradable. They are crafted from sustainably harvested tree sap called chicle, benefiting local communities with a sustainable income while safeguarding the trees. Look for them in major supermarkets, chemists, and online platforms.

But let’s not overlook seemingly innocuous teabags. Sadly, many teabags are still made with plastic and are not suitable for composting. The safest way to enjoy a cuppa is by brewing loose tea using new-style teapots with built-in filters. Alternatively, tea addicts can prepare a flask of tea in the morning to conserve energy and avoid multiple kettle boilings.

Marginal gains for a sustainable future: taking individual actions

Here at @ 100 Ways in 100 Days Plastic Free July chimes perfectly with the theory that underpins our e-learning programme, that of marginal gains, whereby numerous individuals making small changes can create significant positive impacts. We’re in good company too because the United Nations emphasises that while governments and corporations must take urgent action, every individual has a vital role to play too. By making conscious choices and adopting planet-friendly practices, we can spark meaningful change. So take note, and let’s take action together.

Join our e-learning program, 100 Ways in 100 Days, designed to facilitate sustainability behavior change. Explore a multitude of everyday environmental challenges and discover quick and easy hints, tips, and hacks for a more sustainable life—at home, work, and play. Together, we can make a tangible difference!

The not so glamorous side of hairdressing

Barnet cut or beautified recently?

Recently, at 100 Ways in 100 Days we met the inspirational Fry Taylor of the Green Salon Collective, the hairdressers that are going green. We were shocked when he revealed the scale of waste from UK hairdressers and barbers. It’s enough to make your hair stand on end.

Toxic hair colour chemicals are routinely poured down the sink, while contaminated foils and colour tubes end up in normal rubbish. And the plastic and paper used in the salon environment are used and scrapped on an industrial scale.

Enter the green hair heroes

The Green Salon Collective ‘recycles the unrecyclable’, turning trash into treasure. Profits go to food poverty, haircuts for the homeless and rewilding charities. We were so impressed we have dedicated one of our 100 ‘Ways’ to it. They are all quick, achievable ways of helping save the planet, without it being hard work. In this case booking your next appointment with a member salon (or persuading that wonderful stylist you’ve been going to for years to sign up too).

Recycling the unrecyclable – astonishing solutions

The Collective’s most remarkable service is hair recycling. It is gathered up, then sent for a wide variety of transformative uses and products including the manufacture of eco-friendly building materials such as insulation panels – and even rope.

But most amazingly of all are the locks that end up as the key component in ‘hair booms’. These can miraculously absorb oil from spills in oceans and waterways.

To see just how this works, check out Fry’s incredible video. Hair booms been used right around the country as hairdressers, wildlife volunteers and environmental supporters have sprung into action when disaster has struck.

So, next time you’re off for a colour or a trim, don’t forget to look up your local Green Salon Collective – and help the planet stay as beautiful as your hair.

Something for the weekend? And what’s the collective noun for haggis?

January this year seems to have been a tale of three halves. One day it’s bucketing with Biblical rain, the next blanketing [some of us] in snow; the next it’s gin clear, sapphire blue skies and glorious, glorious winter sunshine.

Whatever the weather this weekend (and next), we’ve grabbed some ideas from our founder Sue‘s Save Money, Save the Planet LinkedIn newsletter. It can keep you amused, keep you fed and watered and keep you healthy – in body and mind. All while keeping those pounds and pennies firmly in your wallet. And helping our wonderful world at the same time.

Zest for life (this Dry January)

Did you know that 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions could be prevented by saving food from our bins in UK homes, BUT there are some things we can even use that we’d normally throw away.

If you’ve pledged to battle through a boring Dry January, the lovely food and foraging blogger Yuki Solle (one of Martin Lewis’s ‘Extreme Savers’) promises to get you bouncing through. Her Orange Peel Cordial uses leftovers, costs virtually nothing to make and is delicious.

Spice up Veganuary with a Burns Night bargain bonanza

Globally, the UN estimates the impact of livestock makes up more than 14% of all man-made greenhouse gases, including methane. SO, whether you’re planning a simple Burns Night supper on Wednesday or cooking up a herd of haggises (or is it haggi – what IS the collective noun??) with pals on Saturday, try this scrummy, penny pinching no-meat version. Just slosh a bit of Scotland’s finest over the top to really make it sing.

Time to start beating about the bush – and get fit with friends

Wildlife and biodiversity is under threat like never before. We are in the middle of a climate and nature emergency, and the two are inextricably linked. But there ARE things you can do to help. And get fit and happier FREE into the bargain!

60% of people volunteering with their local Wildlife Trust reported they’d become more physically active – and 83% say it improved their mental wellbeing. So whether it’s cutting back and removing scrub or clearing a ditch, get your wellies on, get stuck in and make new friends too!

And, also in the spirit of marginal gains (where many small things, enacted by many people can make a big impact) the 100 Ways in 100 Days sustainability e-learning programme is in now beta. Please do get in touch if you’d like to hear more for your workplace or organisation.

Firms struggling to galvanise employees on Net Zero

Good to hear that people in high places (and on the ground) are pursuing the same sustainability training goals as we are at 100 Ways in 100 Days.

Our founder Sue met with someone yesterday who works for a Government department.
One of its remits this year is to galvanise business of all shapes and sizes (who haven’t yet started planning for Net Zero) to do so. At pace.
The brief to its delivery partners stresses the words ‘NET ZERO’ no fewer than 13 times on one page of A4… The woman suggested: “This speaks reams about how seriously they are taking this right now”.
She explained however that most organisations they’ve talked to say they face a raft of challenges in doing anything about it, namely, they:
– Are worried about the time commitment – everyone’s SO time poor
– Don’t know where to start, what to do – or who to go to, to make it all happen
– Feel that the best way forward would be modular training, but again, they’re scratching their heads on what to look for – and where
That, as it turns out, is music to our ears, here at 100 Ways Towers. Because it almost identically matches what our own market research has told us.
In fact, responses to our outreach to employer organisations report that:
– They may be tackling the bigger, tangible ESG issues (such as decarbonisation) at a high level, but are not sure where to start with bringing colleagues along on the journey
– They may lack a strategy to do this
– Or lack the expertise and manpower to create and implement activity themselves
– Or be unsure where to find the right partner
– And have no or limited knowledge and tools to monitor progress
Many find:
– Their workforce are time-pressured / overwhelmed with messages, with an often patchy response to internal comms
– There may be a perceived lack of purpose within the organisation
– Post-Covid: the ‘Big Resignation’ is giving huge concern about how to engage employees more generally
But, the good news is that 100 Ways in 100 Days™ ticks all these boxes. And more.
Our fun and engaging, behaviour changing employee sustainability e-learning programme is proven to engage employees. And save money too!
Typical light hearted, but super-achievable AND academically robust hints and nuggets include: ‘Ban the Biro’ (ways to do away with [unrecyclable] plastic pens and find alternative ways to channel your inner Hemingway) – see pic; ‘Love Your Leftovers’ (and other anti-food waste hacks, including re-imagining stale bread and reviving wilted salad leaves) and ‘Wear Your Oldest Clothes to Work Day’ (turning your back on the damaging effects of fast fashion and having fun with evergreen classics, cool vintage or comfy old favourites).
As one employer organisation reported:
“100 Ways in 100 Days really brought teams cross functionally together, debating ways to both make their own personal contribution to protecting our planet but also engaging in business practice improvements.
“All in all, a great experience. I’d highly recommend it to other businesses looking to engage their employees and drive their sustainability agenda.”
Do get in touch to hear more!

100 Ways at University of Surrey’s new Institute for Sustainability

We were honoured to be invited to the University of Surrey‘s Institute for Sustainability launch at The Royal Society. The Institute’s mission is to place sustainability at the top of the global agenda to ensure people AND the planet thrive. With aims to put collective well-being at the centre of new measures to define prosperity, it will seek to create a fairer, better world.

Professor Lorenzo Fioramonti, director of the new institute stated: “There’s a real opportunity to reverse the devastating impact of man-made climate change and do so in a way that means people live more fulfilling lives”.

Thought provoking guest panellists included the LSE’s Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, Sandrine Dixson-Declève (named Top 30 woman shaping green business globally) and Jo Swinson (Former LibDem leader, now director of Partners for a New Economy, an international donor collaborative that wants the economic system to generate positive environmental and social outcomes).

The University has been instrumental in supporting 100 Ways in its development. It has funded PhD researchers in 2022 and going forward into 2023, to help build the programme’s insights into sustainability and psychology (including behaviour change). It’s also supporting on digital business capabilities.

100 Ways founder Sue Skeats was also thrilled to be accompanied by the wonderful sustainability expert Dr. Tianqi Li Ph.D. CSci., our mentor from last year’s Deutsche Bank We in Social Tech/Made for Good incubator. Previous meetings had all been online, mostly between the UK and China, so it was a fabulous opportunity to meet in real life for the first time.

Everything at the event was planet-friendly, from the sustainably grown flowers and compostable lanyards to name badges, which contain flower seeds and can be planted out in the garden or window box.

What an illustrious evening, illustrious surroundings and illustrious company.

Save money, save the planet: boiling up fag butts, inoculating against Black Friday and free gardening gold…

In our founder Sue’s Save Money; Save the Planet LinkedIn newsletter this month she’s been recounting a truly vile (or hysterical) incident (depending on your disposition), that set her on the path to sustainability. Extraordinary what people used to do before the days of health and safety. But anyway, if you want a glimpse of penny-pinching sustainability, vintage style, do take a look at the gory details.

She’s also looking at the drug that is Black Friday (and Cyber Monday): the psychology behind it – and some powerful tips on how to ‘just say ‘no’ – for the planet AND for your pocket.

And then, despite this wet and murky November, Sue’s gleefully channelling her inner Monty Don. She’s looking at how to turn trash into gardening gold – so you can get planning for a bumper grow-your-own crop next year. And cultivate your cash saving into the bargain.

If you’d like to hear more about how to saving money AND saving the planet, but this time for your work place colleagues, drop us a line for a chat.

Talking drinking & driving (in a good way), plus a half term ‘how to’ for the kids

In the second of her ‘Save Money; Save the Planet’ series of LinkedIn newsletters 100 Ways’ founder Sue Skeats says she’s just read about a single mum in Norwich who’s juggling five different jobs to keep her and her daughter in ‘heating and eating’. And another story of a man who’d rather feed his dog than himself with the little money he has to live on. With the burden of rising bills and political chaos top of mind she argues it can be easy to forget there’s a looming climate crisis too.

But in the newsletter, Sue goes on to suggest easily achievable sustainability ideas to help people start making a difference – to their pockets as well as the planet. It includes one for parents or carers to share with the kids when they’re off school next week. We share them below.

Our wonderful psychology PhD researcher Claire Gregory says that making small changes like these, that fit easily into your life and are easy to maintain, can actually help change our behaviour. And help us all be that little bit greener. But she points out : “It’s important that we gather information before trying to change habits, to think about WHY you want to change your habits and why it’s important (in this case to do our bit in fighting climate change).

So, here we reprint the tips. They combine thought-provoking facts with handy [money-saving] hacks that also help us do better by the planet…

Putting the brakes on bad driving

Road travel accounts for three-quarters of transport emissions. Most of this comes from passenger vehicles – cars and buses – which contribute 45.1%.  So, apart from keeping to the speed limit for safety (obviously!) slower speeds make for better driving.  Did you know that driving at 50mph uses 25% LESS fuel than 70mph.  Slam dunk. £££ saved!

Drink tap water, not bottled

Still drinking commercially bottled water rather than good old tap water? Professor Darren Reynolds, Health and Environment, Centre for Research in Biosciences and the Institute for Bio-Sensing Technology, University of the West of England, Bristol says: “‘Bottled water is no better for our health – and it’s 500 times more expensive than tap water.  That’s the equivalent of paying £2,000 – £2,500 for a pint of beer!”

Top tap tip: keep your refillable water bottle with your phone and keys – and never forget to take it with you.

A stitch in time really can save nine (try it with the kids this half term!)

A shocking 336,000 tonnes of clothing gets thrown away every year in the UK while globally, every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned.

But enough of the doom and gloom. In a sneak preview of one of our 100 Ways we teamed up with Emma Mathews, founder of ethical sock brand Socko. Here she gives a quick video tutorial on how a stitch in time really can save nine; how your much-loved old garments can live to see another day. Drum roll please for… Darning for Dummies.

For the parents amongst you, why not grab all your old woollies and teach the kids some fun life skills this half term!

We hope you like these tips (please let us know what you think) – and let’s all get meaner and greener!

100 Ways wins Employer of the Year award

OMG. We only went and WON!!!

100 Ways in 100 Days™ has just scooped the ‘Newcomer Employer of the Year’ at the Brunel University Summer Internship Programme Awards (BSIP), beating, among others, Innocent Drinks.

At the ceremony, Brunel praised 100 Ways for going above and beyond to provide the best internship experience for the two students we engaged. It said they were helped with tasks not previously undertaken with an approachable, kind and easy-going manner and that we ensured everyone was comfortable with the projects assigned to them. The nomination said that any issues, work or non-work-related could easily be raised and that our founder Sue Skeats was a great mentor.

The BSIP programme is a superb initiative that works with Level 1 students across all academic cohorts who meet a set of under-represented criteria.

It offers eligible students the opportunity to gain eight weeks of relevant paid work experience over their first summer break. The internships are aimed at building students’ skills, knowledge and personal attributes and increasing their self confidence. They also build their knowledge of graduate recruitment and explore more about a particular industry, while adding to their CVs.

Participating students get a chance to start building their professional (and often social) networks too, make valuable contacts and potentially even get to know their future employer!

Huge thanks to Shamai Monnaie and Airin Alexandre (Reen to us) for being Grade A placement students (we miss you!). Shamai, a psychology student helped research, plan, brainstorm and build our social media schedule. Reen, who’s studying film production and theatre developed some amazing videos for the 100 Ways syllabus, even teaching herself brand new animation software into the bargain.

Thanks too to Jenny Manzi at the University for her supreme efficiency and her help in making it all happen.

Reen was also shortlisted for ‘Intern of the Year’ for her inspired production work for us.

The BSIP programme has been a real business asset for 100 Ways in 100 Days and we’d highly recommend it to other employers. For anyone interested in hearing more about our own experience, do drop Sue a line at sue.skeats@100ways.eco.

Why going green is a bit of a bargain

Save money while saving the planet

When our founder Sue Skeats conceived 100 Ways in 100 Days™, it was all about doing good for the planet.

But, together with our PhD researchers at the University of Surrey, who’ve been assisting in its development, we found that many of our ‘Ways’ (easy and achievable bite-sized modules that help people live more ‘greenly’), are actually money saving as well. In fact it turned out the majority are.

Some in little ways, but others are truly jawdropping. The Theory of Marginal Gains (which sits at the core of 100 Ways in 100 Days), shows that every little really does help.  Both for sustainability AND for the wallet.  If we ALL make small changes, many times over, it can have significant impact.

The energy and cost of living crisis is affecting us all, right across the public, private and third sectors, or simply in our personal lives. So Sue has just launched a regular new personal LinkedIn newsletter (you can subscribe here). Entitled: Save Money; Save the Planet, she’s keen to share some of the savvy tips and thoughts we’ve unearthed while producing 100 Ways. Or heard from wise heads or innovative organisations around the globe. Or even mental ‘AHA!’ moments that’ve jolted us out of slumber at three o’clock in the morning.  All have positive impact, not only on our precious earth, but on the bottom line too.

Here we reprint the rest of the content…

Get green and start cost-cutting today!

Here are three tips, chosen at random, to get you started:

Singing the praises of carpool karaoke

A University of California, Berkeley study proves that carpooling reduces energy consumption, emissions, pollution, congestion AND demand for parking. Plus obliterating fares of course (but that’s a debate for another day). Whether a daily commute or seeing granny for the weekend, it can be a gamechanger. One regular Edinburgh-Glasgow traveller saves £2,500 a year. PLUS ride-sharers often become firm friends and form new communities.

Try out apps such as www.liftshare.com or your neighbourhood, or workplace WhatsApp group to get started.

Love your leftovers

In the UK we needlessly waste enough food every year to fill 38 MILLION wheelie bins, or 90 Royal Albert Halls. Various surveys have found that bagged salads are a top victim, so here’s one canny hack to help.

Don’t bin slightly wilty salad. Peel off any brown leaves and refresh the rest in a bowl of very cold water for five to 20 minutes. They’ll bounce back through osmosis.  Drain on the draining board or a clean tea towel. Eat straight away or store back in the fridge (but don’t pack the leaves too tightly, as this encourages the decomposing process).

Bring Your Coffee to Work Day

Despite many of us now working from home, the high street café culture boom continues. 80% of people who visit coffee shops do so at least once a week, whilst 16% of us visit on a daily basis.  Shockingly, around 5 billion disposable coffee cups are used around the world every year, yet less than 1% are recycled.

A recent study suggested the average cost of a latté was £2.76. So, a visit three times a week, excluding holidays, would cost you almost £400. Soooo much cheaper to just bring your own from home, in an insulated, reusable travel mug.

Alternatively some cafés offer discounts if you bring your own cup. At Starbucks and Costa, for example, you’ll save 25p. Some don’t advertise this discount though, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Still sceptical about how small steps can make a difference?

If you’re still sceptical about how small steps can make a difference, take a listen to Professor David Halpern, CEO at the influential The Behavioural Insights Team (AKA The Nudge Unit). His witty interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme this week (listen from 2:44:17) is packed with great money saving ideas that are eco-friendly too. He even claims that if we ALL reduce our energy consumption it would actually reduce wholesale prices too. Now, there’s something!

As a valued reader of this blog we have a couple of questions for you, to help in further editions…

We’d love to hear your thoughts about great ways to illustrate the Save Money; Save the Planet newsletter. Pictures of piggy banks and piles of cash can be so clichéd. We’d love your suggestions on fun and inspiring imagery and wordage combining money saving and planet saving (submit here). There’s nothing like diversity of thought. In fact some of the ‘Ways’ were initially going to be sub-branded Pennywise until our psychology colleague Claire Gregory, MBPsS pointed out that it’s also the moniker of the murderous clown. Whoops!

Thanks in advance for your inspired ideas.

Happy reading – and happy cost-cutting!

Team mugshots

A lightning quick post today…

There’s nothing like a cup of something steaming hot to get you going… on a steamingly hot September morning. And there’s nothing like a brand new, branded 100 Ways in 100 Days team cup to drink it out of.

Thanks to the team for the mugshots and thanks to DragoninaDress on Etsy for the short run #reusable mugs.