Helping you to a more sustainable Hallowe’en

Here’s a helping of Hallowe’en environmental horrors; sustainability demons that lurk, unseen in the shadows. But, in true 100 Ways in 100 Days fashion, here are some quick and practical actions to drive a stake through their metaphorical hearts. Or at least brandish the garlic at them with gusto.

Ta-dah, a few ways to help save the planet – and save money too…

Vampire energy

… is the energy consumed by thermostats, clocks, dashboards, adaptors and more (including smart products), all on 24/7. They suck low levels of power, even on standby – and can account for 9-16% of electricity use.

Culprits include monitors, lights, water coolers, microwaves, phone chargers, TVs and games consoles.

Vampire energy accounts for around 1% of the world’s total carbon emissions. Cutting it in half (in the US alone) is equivalent to turning off the carbon emissions of Jordan or Lebanon.

It also costs individuals and businesses a lot of money.

Easy tips to get started:

Set up a team of vampire hunters today to check out the evils in your workplace. Work out what could – and should – be turned off or unplugged. A journalist from Wired magazine did just that – and found a 30% saving on his bills.

Dark data

Digital data is NOT carbon neutral, as often assumed. Data storage takes up space on servers, consumes significant electricity and has a sizeable & growing carbon footprint.

-The data industry is predicted to account for more carbon emissions than the automotive, aviation and energy sectors combined

-Up to 65% of data generated is never used

-One person creates 1.7mb of data a second. That equates to 10 full DVDs in a working day; monstrous!

It’s therefore crucial that organisations (and we as individuals) think about how to manage data so, together, we can minimize its digital carbon footprint.

Easy tips to get started:

Don’t just delete unwanted emails, unsubscribe – and don’t cc people into emails unless totally necessary.

Fighting the fiend that is food waste – and how to avoid a pumpkin graveyard

Uneaten and discarded food is one of the planet’s biggest offenders in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. If global food waste were a country, it would be THIRD LARGEST emitter after China and the US.

But there are plenty of quick and easy ways to avoid waste.

Easy tips to get started:

After you’ve pimped your pumpkin, download our recipe* for a scrumptious vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free pumpkin pie, to share around the office or tuck in at home.

Why not dry out the seeds for a tasty, healthy snack too – and do compost the shell.

Let’s banish those Hallowe’en sustainability demons today!

*Credit and thanks: to BBC Good Food. This recipe is a mash-up of two different ones (pumpkin and pastry base).

100 Ways goes to the vets…

The latest VETchat podcast from Anthony Chadwick, The Webinar Vet sees this tireless veterinary environmentalist and pioneer of online vet education chatting to 100 Ways in 100 Days founder Sue Skeats. Do grab a cuppa, sit back and settle in to this fascinating listen; it’s all about the vital importance of sustainability, especially within the veterinary profession.

Anthony and Sue have a lot in common; Sue reveals her previous regular involvement with the ‘pet and vet’ world’ and why she halted her previous successful career to champion sustainability.

They also talk about how 100 Ways educates employees through entertaining, memorable and thought-provoking, bite-sized ‘Ways’, empowering them to make small ‘green changes’ and improvements in their everyday lives.

‘Green’ practices: saving money and attracting employees

Anthony was surprised to learn about such simple eco-hacks as not using plastic pens. Then there were no-brainer fixes for such overlooked carbon ‘sucks’ such as ‘Vampire Energy’ (more of which later in this blog series!) Sue explains how a lot of the 100 Ways switches can also save money for organisations AND individuals, as well as helping the planet. And how having green credentials can make your company more attractive to employees. The pair also swap notes on her top three easy tips veterinary professionals can action straight away.

Sue’s ‘pet and vet’ background…

What’s only touched upon in the podcast is that Sue worked with numerous animal related clients in her previous life, owning and running a busy PR agency. From (eons ago) securing the front page of the Daily Mail for Petplan with Lucky Lulu the Labrador (who’d had a pioneering leg op) to more recently getting Digby, Britain’s first [miniature] guide horse for blind people onto national TV – to creating a village-wide hedgehog conservation project that was featured on Blue Peter, she’s done quite a lot.

Rather less cuddly were PR pushes for Boris and Carrie the tarantulas (to educate people on why crawlies aren’t creepy) and holding a photocall to promote an in-pack poop scoop for a dog food brand. The client’s thoroughbred canine models didn’t turn up so Sue had to race around Battersea Park until she found an understudy doggy to borrow. He turned out to be an ex-Battersea pooch and a gorgeous, tousle haired one at that; he melted the hearts of the hard-nosed media that were present.

She explains: “While I’ve well and truly had my sustainability hat on for a while now it’s been a total delight to dip back into the ‘pet and vet’ world; this time to talk about engaging employees through sustainability, in and out of the veterinary practice.

So, back to the podcast. Listen to the full episode now via the Webinar Vet website or simply search ‘VETchat’ on your preferred podcast platform.

Happy listening!

100 Ways in 100 Days goes global, with the University of Surrey

We are thrilled to announce our latest partnership with the University of Surrey, this time one that’s accelerating development of our 100 Ways in 100 Days™ e-learning modules, for international audiences.

They’re already designed to help people make small, everyday changes to reduce their environmental impact – and that’s a philosophy that makes deep sense wherever you are on planet Earth. However, what works in the UK won’t necessarily work overseas, for a myriad of reasons including: climate, religion, culture, maturity of sustainability thinking and infrastructure, governance and political will.

Local to global

So, with the support of the University, three exceptionally talented students have been feverishly researching and building additional layers of criteria and guiding principles into the foundations of the 100 Ways programme, to ensure module topics are relevant around the world. Crucially, these are now applied BEFORE module ideas are put into production. Then they’ll be turned into entertaining, informative and compelling videos, quizzes, games and more.

We’re hugely grateful for the University of Surrey’s support – and in particular to its IKEEP business support initiative, which has made everything possible.

Student Spotlight

So, ta-da! Let’s turn a spotlight on our superstar team. They came together, from different academic disciplines and different backgrounds to show what a combination of bright brains, diversity in thinking and unbridled enthusiasm can do…

**Mariam Abougabal** is a third year undergraduate student studying for a degree in economics and finance. She is the winner of the Top Academic Achiever award in the university’s School of Economics. Mariam, from Cairo, recently finished another assignment; helping refugees in Egypt as a voluntary Women’s Economic Empowerment Assistant (for the United Nations World Food Programme.

She is passionate about social impact and using her skills to help make a difference in the world.

**Anmol Thapa** from Basingstoke has an MsC in International Financial Management and a degree in business management, both from Surrey. Multi-skilled, highly efficient, a creative thinker and very driven, Anmol’s goal is to contribute meaningfully to organisational success and global improvement, combined with the highest ethical standards.

**Shabnam Fathima Basheer** is studying for a masters in Surrey’s highly competitive Artificial Intelligence course. Already a certified AI engineer with extensive business experience in digital marketing and programming Shabnam, from India, also has an MBA and a computer science degree. She feels it is never too late to start making positive changes to help the environment.

And all three are lovely, lovely people to boot.

Thank you Mariam, Anmol and Shabnam (and the University of Surrey) for your sterling work on 100 Ways in 100 Days, to help the programme resonate even more deeply with people, wherever they may be.

100 Ways goes to the Blue Earth Summit…

We’re just coming up for air from the third, excellent Blue Earth Summit in Bristol and are bursting with new learnings (and inspirational new contacts made.)

Our 10 [random] jaw dropping facts gleaned from two days there…

  1. Storytelling is the way forward in empowering people to make positive change: 25% of The Blue Planet viewers took action after watching it (beach cleaning, litter picking etc.)
  2. Digital is thirsty work: data centres are water cooled – they’re often sited in already-water-depleted areas such as Arizona or Santiago. Some drinking water in London is now being diverted for cooling & Chat GPT ‘drinks’ half a litre of water for every 20 prompts
  3. 70% of all new beauty products launched into the market won’t be around in three years’ time, while some classics continue to sell, unchanged, like hot cakes – for decades. New isn’t always better.
  4. There’s a call for a National Nature Service to be set up; a Government-sponsored employment & training programme, providing paid work in environmental improvement and conservation
  5. To get people into nature create empathy: look for curious adaptations: the otherwise pedestrian looking bombadier beetle fascinates people. It shoots boiling acid out of its bottom at attackers
  6. In some countries tourism is the ONLY real alternative to the extractive industries in terms of income, but many people are conflicted about flying there
  7. A guy at the Soil Association has the best job title in the world: Head of Worms
  8. In terms of commerce, if you still want to be around in 10 or 20 years you can’t have a winner or loser in the supplier-purchaser relationship. You need to work together so both benefit
  9. Tie knots in empty orange nets in case they somehow end up in the environment: it’ll avoid hedgehogs getting tangled in them
  10. The UK Government is a beacon in terms of measuring emissions from its www.gov.uk website: it’s been monitoring it for 12 years – far ahead of most organisations

These and many other facts have fuelled a million thoughts for future 100 Ways in 100 Days modules.

So we’re back to storytelling. It runs like a golden thread through everything we do here at 100 Ways; helping people green up their lives by making quick, easily achievable, planet friendly choices. All in the spirit of marginal gains where, many people making many small changes really can have major impact.
 
Interested in firing up your workforce with green goodness and driving employee engagement? Do drop us a line. Our new ‘100 Ways Express’ programme (for individuals) is now live as well!

Around the world in 100 Ways…

100 Ways in 100 Days founder Sue Skeats and behavioural psychologist Claire Gregory, MBPsS, from the University of Surrey were thrilled to guest on educational publishing group Sage’s recent international employee webinar. Our topic? One of our favourites: ‘Save Money, Save the Planet’.

But when you have an audience that stretches from Devon to Delhi and Italy to Indonesia, one-size-fits-all green tips and tricks don’t work. Take into account climate for instance (you wouldn’t tell someone in Saudi Arabia to turn down the heating), the maturity of sustainability in each region, then status of political governance, infrastructure, and always, always culture.

But at 100 Ways we love a challenge. We had a fun, fact-packed hour of green power. On environmental and sustainability issues that are familiar to everyone. Where everybody can do something, while cutting costs for themselves and/or their employer.

Vampire energy

We talked about ‘Vampire energy’, the unseen power sucked by electrical equipment on standby, or not in use. Halving it, in the US alone, would be equivalent to turning off the carbon emissions of Jordan or the Lebanon.

We suggested easy ways of seizing our metaphorical garlic to hunt it down and turn it off. It can make such a difference. One journalist from tech magazine Wired recently reported saving 30% on his energy bills.

Food waste

Then onto food waste, one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas offenders. Our 100 Ways kitchen hacks gave ideas to revive bagged salad and breathe luscious new life into battered bananas and stale bread.

Developing ‘green’ habits – easily

Claire explained how, if we all work at making small changes, there’s a bigger impact than if a few people make large changes (though they help too). All totally in keeping with 100 Ways’ marginal gains theory.

In fact focusing on small changes is easier to maintain – and doing them in a group encourages social accountability, so we’re more likely to stick to them. They can start to change culture as whole.

Many of our super-engaged audience turned out to be keen sharing community members, for unwanted food – and non-food items too; avoiding wastage and often bagging free goodies into the bargain.

Back to the future

There was animated chat around green habits we can learn from our parents and grandparents, some of which are seeing a resurgence today.

We got excited about clay flagons from India and Nigeria, that cool water, naturally, with no need for a fridge. (They’re on Etsy and other sites now!)

A colleague’s photo, sent from Indonesia that morning, showed the time-honoured custom of using leaves as plates. No washing up; yay! Ditto ‘leaf’ drinking cups from India. Other people tipped precious water saved from washing rice into pot plants, while in China they used eggshells in theirs, as free fertiliser.

A hugely interactive and inspired melting pot of actionable ideas. What a glorious green global village.

Thank you Sage. What an awesome employer!

Five top tips for planet-friendly penny pinching

Our founder Sue is a regular guest (talking about easy sustainability) on Danny Pike’s entertaining BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey Sound Advice slot. This month, as the cost of living crisis continues to bite, she and Danny had a banter not only around unnecessary consumption, but the unnecessary spending that goes along with it.

We thought it was indeed such sound advice that we’d share it a little wider, with 100 Ways in 100 Days blog visitors. So, here we go with…

Five awesome tricks to cut down on splashing the cash – and be a planet-saving superstar

*Thanks to Kevin Karaca, No Spend Club for inspiring this list – and to our own wonderful 100 Ways psychologist, Claire Gregory, whose expertise is in the field of decision making, for her own take on the topic.

Before reaching for your phone or wallet, just ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you already own something that does the same thing?

Or more or less the same thing, that will see you through? Do you already have an Alexa, but have a separate Bluetooth speaker on your wish list?

2. Can you borrow one?

Try friends and family first. If not joy there, try the Library of Things? It’s the brilliant social enterprise that helps people save money and reduce waste by affordably renting out useful items like drills, sound systems and sewing machines from local spaces – and by helping neighbours share practical skills. It’s THE bricks & mortar destination to borrow useful things for your home, projects and adventures.

Typical items for hire (especially pertinent as we enter yet another week of back to back rainstorms (thanks ‘stuck’ jet stream) are dehumidifyers and wet & dry vaccuums. Or for those who can’t bear to venture outside – maybe snap up a sewing machine for some cosy crafting or running clothes repairs at home.

Then there’s Olio. Originally a food sharing app it’s now brilliant to seek out non-food household items too (for borrowing or buying, pre-loved).

With two in three Olio-ers saying sharing has improved their mental health too it’s no surprise it’s become a runaway success. In fact it’s now in over 60 countries and new communities are being welcomed with open arms.

Then there are local WhatsApp groups for friends, communities and work colleagues to borrow almost anything you can imagine (Sue’s own local group came to the rescue with children’s World Book Day costumes earlier this year).

“My partner went out to buy vegetables for dinner and came home with a kayak. He forgot the vegetables and the kayak has never been used.”

3. How many times will you use it?

Quite. How about misplaced generosity. Will the recipient really use and enjoy it? We’re thinking foot spas and pasta makers here. We found some cracking examples on Buzzfeed, including this one: “My partner went out to buy vegetables for dinner and came home with a kayak. He forgot the vegetables and the kayak has never been used.”

Here’s another; one that may be more familiar, either because life was just too busy, or because, urgh, ongoing torrential rain precluded them being planted: “$75 in plants only to let them die because I forgot about them.”

4. Is it a “hell yeah!”?

Er, self-explanatory, this one

5. Is it in the budget?

Ditto.

SO, the golden rule is: if you still want it, put a reminder in for 30 days from now – then ask the same questions again

THEN, the all important follow-up questions

If you DO decide you want to make the purchase:

1. Will it last for a long time?

Check out reviews (though appreciate many people only review something they’ve just bought, not something they’ve had for 10 years!) And do look at the website Buy Me Once. It has some innovative, if [ouch] expensive products, but on the basis that these will DEFINITELY last for a long, long, long time, they can be really good investments.

Then, thinking about the garden… choose perennial plants (those that keep on coming; year after year, without too much ado). Once planted, they’ll avoid such hellish annual horticultural happenings as you’ve seen above.

2. Is it versatile?

The fashion editors’ favourite in the versatility department is the timeless ‘capsule collection’ of classic clothing that can be worn for years. A black polo neck and skinny jeans with loafers, a much loved Britpop bucket hat, a vintage blouse, a trenchcoat – or anything plain and neutral, jazzed up for different occasions with your [existing, secondhand, or swapped] accessories or jewellery.

The same principle goes with paint. Make your budget go further (and avoid having half tins left over) – by buying an economy sized, neutral shade of paint – for decorating multiple areas or rooms. To stop it looking ‘samey’, add a different vibe for each area with coloured cushions, bowls, lampshades. Even fruit can lend an amazing pop of colour and bring a room to life!

3. Is it made by a good business?

Check out https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ It’s the ‘green version’ of Which?, an easy to use, incredibly well-researched eco shopping guide. Covering more than 100 products and services, it helps you buy ethically, and avoid unethical products and companies.

4. Can you repair it if it breaks?

After so many years of ‘built in obsolescence’, with not very old electrical appliances being landfilled or worse (1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste is generated each year), new ‘right to repair’ laws have been introduced. It means the life of some household appliances can be extended, but not all, so make sure to check before you buy.

But some consumer and fashion brands have always been legends in terms of repairs (though they do tend to be at the premium end, meaning they’re out of reach of many). But they can offer superb lifetime value. Sue had her 21 year old Dualit toaster repaired (a present from back in the day); now it’s good for another 21. Check out chilled clothing brand Toast too. It offers free repairs for ANY of its clothing, no matter when and where it was bought.

100 Ways graduates from Aster Foundation’s Inc. incubator and wins Engagement Award

Yesterday was a very special day. After 10 months of 100 Ways being part of the 2022/23 cohort of the Aster Foundation’s groundbreaking Inc. incubator, yesterday we graduated.

Although it was a bittersweet moment, with the current programme drawing to a close, it was uplifting too. 100 Ways in 100 Days was honoured and humbled to scoop Aster’s ‘Colleagues & Customers Engagement Award’ for our internal employee and external home renter programmes.

And when we say humbled, we mean properly, properly humbled. The cohort are all social impact businesses, single mindedly focused on making a positive difference in the world. It’s been a privilege to meet such warm and driven human beings, all with incredible ideas, energy and stories to tell.

They span technology that empowers independent living for older adults, to a monitor that measures invisible air pollution – and a platform for those with co-occurring addiction and mental health issues. Another platform is diversifying the cybersecurity industry. Then we have social gardeners who are pre-empting and combatting loneliness – and a practice of placemakers (architects creating vibrant, people-centred spaces that foster community and a sense of belonging).  A groundbreaking theatre project, for those with dementia, is jawdropping in its ambition.

A quarter of the ventures are dedicated to sustainability and helping save the planet.

We’ve just profiled Elle McIntosh (inventor of Twipes, the world’s first truly flushable wet wipes) on our website. Together with co-founder Al they are cleaning up, both here and in the US. Tze Ching Yeung on the other hand runs a community project aimed at getting young people into sustainable fashion. Ben Gibbons (who, incidentally, along with Compair’s Guy Monson, are two of the most elegant communicators we know) is founder of the extraordinary Circular11. It turns low-grade, otherwise unrecyclable plastic waste into building materials and home products.

So, thank you Aster Inc, and everyone who has made the last 10 months possible. Personal gratitude goes to: the wonderful Tamsin ‘the glue who holds it all together’ Southby; our sponsor, ball of strategic energy Aster COO Emma O’Shea, ‘The Chrisses’: Chris Bond, and, especially Chris Stenlake who encouraged us to apply in the first place. More thanks to remarkable Aster director Cam Kinsella and Aster’s financial wizard Toby Wernham. Mega-gratitude too, to superstar mentor Olya Yakzhina, head of people at the award winning social landlord data innovation, Switchee. Her razor sharp insights, practical advice and infectious enthusiasm have been an utter joy.

100 Ways in 100 Days is now a member of the ongoing Aster Inc. alumni group, meaning, together, we’ll deliver more impact, as a partnership across communities. We couldn’t be prouder.

The 100 Ways approach to food waste: Love your Leftovers!

Did you know that 33 per cent of food produced globally is wasted? And that uneaten and discarded food is one of the planet’s biggest offenders in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. They account for around 8-10 per cent.

If global food waste were a country, it would be THIRD LARGEST emitter after China and the US

That’s beyond shocking, isn’t it?

Various surveys have found that the top three wasted foods are bread, bananas and bagged salads, so for a slightly different, mini-blog, today we share some typically canny 100 Ways hacks to ensure your surplus grub is gobbled by YOU, not by your bin!

There are plenty of quick and easy ways to avoid waste. In our downloadable PDF, we’ve conjured up some delicious dishes for some of the most common groceries that get thrown away. Our Love your Leftovers micro-magazine has some super-easy tips to: revive wilty lettuce leaves, transform brown and bashed bananas into fancy French toast (fit for a boutique hotel) and to magic stale bread into crunchy, seriously scrumptious croutons.

Why not try them out? Just click the button below – and enjoy!

In today’s cost of living crisis it’s a relief to have ways of not only being kind to the planet, but being kind to your wallet as well.

You’re welcome!

French toast from Love your Leftovers - sustainable ideas in 100 Ways in 100 Days

Free tasty treat ideas to download