Turn over a new LEaF challenge

This Friday, 22nd April 2022, is Earth Day. The environment is something we really care about here at LEaF Translations and so we have come up with a sustainability challenge for you all to help you turn over a new LEaF.

Earth Day was one of the first global initiatives established to protect and conserve the Earth and it has become an annual event. The theme for 2022 is Invest in Our Planet, for this there are many events and activities that we can all get involved in to make a positive impact on the environment around us. Sustainability, ethical business, and protecting the environment are all things that are important to us at LEaF and we make a conscious effort to increase our positive impact on the world. For this reason, we thought we would take it one step further and come up with our own challenge for you.

For the next four weeks, we will be sharing a series of changes you can make to try that week and hopefully make some more long-term swaps in your daily life. There will be 4 little challenges and 1 big one that you can choose to commit to. You can find these here, where we will include some useful resources and links, and on our social media pages – we’d love to see you sharing some photos of your efforts and tagging us @leafttranslations and #leafchallenge.

Week 1

The little challenges:

  • Walk or cycle instead of driving – we are starting with a simple, yet very important, one. This is fairly self-explanatory but will have a big impact on both the environment and your physical and mental health. Why not try cycling for the school run or having a walk to the post office instead of taking the car?
  • Plan your meals for a week to avoid food waste – this way you know exactly what needs to be on your shopping list and everything you buy will get used (also a great money saver). You may need to rearrange the order of your planned meals when you know the expiry dates to make sure you don’t have to throw anything away. Other great ways to avoid food waste are using the Olio and Too Good To Go apps.
  • Try a shampoo or soap bar – if you’re used to liquid from a plastic bottle these may take some getting used to but stick with it! There are so many brands who offer these now so you can find them in most places, Lush have some great options available and there are many small businesses that you can find locally or on Etsy (or similar platforms).
  • Use wax wraps or other non-plastic alternatives instead of clingfilm – these are becoming much more popular and are another great money saver as you can reuse them time and time again. Beeswax wraps are a great product to try, here is one example of where you can get hold of one, but they can also be found in shops such as Lakeland. Alternatively, move any leftovers or your packed lunch items into reusable Tupperware.

The big challenge:

  • Switch to an ethical pension that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels – look for one that goes out of their way to actively improve things rather than harming society or the environment. PensionBee is a great example of this as they offer a Fossil Fuel Free Plan, among others. Find out more about this here.

Week 2

The little challenges:

  • Use refillable travel bottles rather than minis – if you have a trip or holiday coming up, this one is for you! Refillable travel-size bottles can be found in most health and beauty retailers, even shops like Primark. They aren’t expensive and mean you can take your favourite products away with you each time, whilst reducing plastic waste.
  • Use eco-friendly toilet paper – toilet paper is essential in every household/building so swapping to a sustainable alternative will make a great impact. We definitely recommend Who Gives A Crap! Not only do they have carbon neutral shipping and plastic-free products, but they also donate 50% of profits to help build toilets for those who don’t have access to them.
  • Avoid disposable takeaway coffee cups – treat yourself to a reusable coffee cup. There are so many lovely options out there to suit all tastes and preferences. For example, Lucy has a KeepCup Brew Cup (a glass with a cork band) and she loves it. Most cafes will fill up your own coffee cup rather than giving you a disposable cup, some even offer a small discount for bringing your own (such as the University of York campus cafes).
  • Use recyclable paper for presents and paper tape not sellotape – wrapping paper often contains elements that make it non-recyclable and the addition of sellotape doesn’t help. Check if your wrapping paper is recyclable before purchasing it, or do what I do and use simple brown paper (with reusable ribbons to make them look more exciting). Using paper tape as well is even better, there are so many lovely washi tapes to take your wrapping to the next level. You can find these in most stationery shops, but why not support a small business at the same time and check out Etsy.

The big challenge:

  • Do at least 50% of your shopping locally and make wise produce choices focus on supporting independents and local businesses rather than large supermarket chains. For example, greengrocers and butchers. As well as this, think about the items you’re buying and what effect they may have. Purchase seasonal fruit and vegetables grown in Great Britain not the other side of the world as these would be transported by plane so have a negative effect on the environment.

Week 3

The little challenges:

  • Use refillable water bottles rather than single-use plastic bottles – if you can only choose one thing to do this week, this would be the one I recommend as I take mine everywhere with me. Again, it is another money saver but significantly reduces the amount of single-use plastic in your day-to-day life. I would highly recommend checking out Chilly’s, they have some great options that keep your drink hot or cold (as well as coffee cups and food pots). If you’re not so great at drinking water, try air up – this uses a scent attached to the water bottle to trick your brain into thinking you are drinking a flavoured water.
  • Swap to a sustainable deodorant – deodorants are bad for the environment in many different ways. Aerosols pollute the air with damaging chemicals, chemicals in the deodorant cause water pollution, and the packaging is almost always a non-recyclable material. There are now some great, sustainable alternatives to the average deodorant in a supermarket. I have recently swapped to Wild (plastic free, compostable packaging and all-natural ingredients), another similar example, as seen on Dragon’s Den, is Fussy. Or you could try a crystal deodorant by one of our clients, Salt of the Earth.
  • Buy metal or bamboo straws – or better, don’t use them at all! This is a great way of cutting down on single-use plastic and if, like me, you don’t like the feel of paper straws, carrying your own reusable ones with you is a great way to get round this. I prefer metal straws as they keep your drink cold, you can also get collapsable straws to fit perfectly in a handbag, like this one.
  • Say no to coffee pods – buy bags of roasted coffee beans instead to reduce waste. If you have a coffee pod coffee maker, use refillable pods instead. If you want to go one step further, source your coffee from an ethical producer. North Star Coffee Roasters, based in Leeds, is a great example of this.

The big challenge:

  • Switch to an ethical bank – we don’t often know where our banks are investing their money, it is likely that this money is being invested into fossil fuels and nuclear weapons. By swapping to an ethical bank, such as Triodos, you can be reassured that your money is having a positive impact on the world. Triodos is completely transparent about where their money gets invested and it cares about making a positive change, click here to read more about their values.

Week 4

The little challenges:

  • Unplug your devices from wall sockets when away from home – turning off your appliances is important, but that doesn’t stop the appliance using electricity. If you’re not using an appliance or you’re away from home completely, make sure to turn off these appliances at the wall to reduce the amount of electricity you’re using.
  • Set up an account with Ecologi – sign up to a monthly subscription (costing less than one cup of coffee per week) to donate to plant trees, support climate projects around the world, and offset your carbon emissions. Ecologi accounts are available to both individuals and to businesses. You can also gift trees via Ecologi for birthdays, events, or special occasions. At the time of writing, we have currently planted 1,526 trees and offset 43.55t of carbon emissions, check it out.
  • Use a bamboo toothbrush and a toothpaste alternative – like many of the toiletries we have seen so far throughout this challenge, toothbrushes and toothpaste use a lot of unnecessary plastic. Denttabs is a great alternative for a zero waste toothpaste and they also sell bamboo toothbrushes. Click here to find out why their toothpaste tabs are better than toothpaste.
  • Have 1 or 2 meat-free days this week to reduce the amount of meat you eat – if going vegetarian or vegan is not for you, why not consider having Meat Free Mondays to reduce your meat consumption. Keep it simple by swapping Quorn Nuggets for chicken nuggets, or replacing half of the mince in bolognese for lentils. Here is some more inspiration to help out.

The big challenge:

  • Switch to renewable energy – with the increase in prices of bills, now is the perfect opportunity to look at your options and make a big change. Two companies you should check out are Ecotricity and Octopus Energy. I would definitely recommend Octopus Energy as they made opening and closing an account at my university accommodation so easy, plus you got to spin a wheel each month to win credit on your account!

Kitty LEaF blog 2021

About the Author


Kitty Trewhitt is a translation project manager at LEaF Translations. She oversees each phase of the translation project and keeps in contact with both the client and linguists throughout the process. Besides managing our projects, Kitty also translates and proofreads texts from French and Italian into English, as well as creating LEaF’s monthly newsletter and managing the company social media accounts.