Clodagh McKenna’s 4 nifty tips for living more sustainably

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Clodagh McKenna
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By Ella Walker, PA

Whether you’re newly interested in gardening, concerned about the health of the planet, or just keen to cut as much waste as you can (and save a little cash in the process), many of us are looking to boost our eco credentials.

Fortunately, it’s really quite easy to do, however overwhelming the idea of ‘solving climate change’ might feel.

“It seems so big, right? The whole sustainable thing, and then you just don’t do any of it,” says Irish food presenter and cookbook author Clodagh McKenna. “[But] there are small things that you can do, steps that really make a difference in the big world, if everybody’s doing it.”

Here are her tips for steps you can take today…

1. Save your coffee grinds

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“Create a little pocket or container beside your kettle and put your coffee grinds in there. And then use that as coffee compost for growing your plants,” says McKenna. “Things that really love it are acid-loving soils – they also love a cup of coffee in the morning! Just mush it into the soil around roses, hydrangea, blueberries, radishes…

“It’s amazing once you start putting all your coffee grains into the bucket, how much that weighs. So, instead of filling up your rubbish bin, actually feed it into the earth; you’re improving the soil.”

2. Invest in a rainwater collector

“Honestly, I felt like a green goddess when I did this: I got rainwater collection containers. They’re really not expensive,” notes McKenna. “They collect the rain when it rains, and then you just pour it into your water container to water all of your plants. And that is just so important to do, because all the minerals in rainwater are so much better for your plants [than tap water].” Plus, it saves on water bills and wastage.

3. Reuse your lemons

“The next time you have lemons leftover, don’t throw out your lemon. Instead, you know the first tray on your dishwasher with the nozzle sticking up? Pop it on that and it completely degreases, deglazes and brightens up your whole dishwasher – your glasses come out sparkling. You don’t need to use rinse aid for it anymore. And it smells lovely and shiny. It’s amazing.”

4. Make the most of pine cones

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“Pick up pine cones [if you see them out on a walk]; they are fantastic firelighters, they just spark up and get everything aflame – traditional firelighters are so bad for the environment.”

Clodagh’s Weeknight Kitchen by Clodagh McKenna is published by Kyle Books, priced £20. Photography by Dora Kazmierak. Available now.

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