News & Insights

Read and share Parliament Hill insights and news on the tips, trends, and key developments we’ve identified for benefit management and member satisfaction.

Rewinding the years – A look into sustainable habits

Being sustainable in our everyday lives is something that we are always working towards. This is why looking back to how previous generations lived and the processes they followed could be the key to keeping our sustainable habits alive. At Parliament Hill we have looked into the past to explore habits that we may have forgotten about.

The subject came along one day after speaking with a family member about ways in which we used to be more conscious about food and clothing that we owned and how we would re-use certain things. It then got me thinking about how a lot of these ways of re-using and 'fix it, if it is broken' approaches aren't as common anymore, but are habits that we should be continuing.


Fast fashion has now become the norm for a lot of people. Have a night out planned? Dinner with friends? You can grab whatever you need in-store and online that fit the current trends and won't break the bank. However, once the night is over, it gets put in your wardrobe never to be seen again or worse, thrown away. Years ago, this wouldn't have been an option. You would 'make do and mend, no extravagances, and if something broke, you fixed it' – Andrew . Knowing how to sew and knit was very common in previous years. Learning these specialist skills would be very useful to prevent people from throwing things away when they sometimes just needed a quick fix. Speaking with my colleagues, friends and family members these were some top tips on how we can keep the life in our clothing for longer:

Clothes rail
  1. Instead of throwing socks away when they have holes in, they could be darned or are great to use as dusters. This way we can make use of the fabric, and avoid wastage.
  2. Is there a cardigan or jumper that has seen better days? By unravelling the jumper, you can re-use the wool for future knitting projects.
  3. Shirts looking a bit rough around the edges? Unstitch the collar and cuffs, then turn them inside out, you can re-sew them back on and make the shirt look brand new.
  4. No need to throw your shoes away when the heels and soles are looking worse for wear. There are professional cobblers that can make various amendments such as re-heeling and re-soling. Much cheaper than buying a brand new pair and it also means you can enjoy wearing them all over again.
  5. With disposable nappies becoming more expensive, towelling nappies are becoming more popular again. Towelling nappies are reusable by using the correct disinfectant and washed in the washing machine, they can later be re-used as dusters.
  6. Hand-me-downs and second hand shopping in charity shops, and car boot sales are a great way to sustainably find new fashion. You are always going to find a great hidden vintage gem that is unique or something that ends up being exactly what you have been looking for.


Food wastage is an ongoing issue within our day to day lives. It is estimated that in the UK, we throw away around 9.5million tonnes of food waste annually (, which is a shockingly high amount. Food hasn't always been so easy to come by however, but with large supermarkets producing endless amounts of produce, it has never been easier to get what you want whenever you want it. This hasn't always been the way, food has somewhat been more of a luxury to people, and wasting it was not an option. When speaking to our Managing Director, Andrew , he said: 'My mum and dad were born before the Second World War, and lived through rationing (which only ended in 1954). As such they got used to a simple life and a simple diet; my mum can still remember the excitement of trying a banana for the first time when she was 10 or so'. This is a great example of how food was looked at. There are ways in which we can improve our food wastage by looking into old habits with a new way of thinking:

Bunch of carrots
  1. Freeze leftovers – if you know you can't eat them straight away and keep dates on them.
  2. Keep your eggshells and use them in your plant pots- it a great way to provide an organic source of nutrition for your plants. Sprinkle the smashed shells onto the soil surface and let them break down overtime.
  3. Meal plans – With a family of 5, our Account Executive Katie knows that by creating fortnightly meal plans and sticking to them, really helps reduce food waste. It means she can batch cook and freeze meals for when they are needed and helps her keep on top of not having food in the fridge that will go off and get wasted.
  4. Katie also makes her own oat milk at home, which is easy to do. Adding different flavours and seeds has been a great way to not only get the nutrition her and her family needs but it is a lot cheaper that buying from supermarkets and cuts out some of the emissions that would come with factory and transporting.
  5. Wrap food scraps in newspaper rather than a plastic bag. You can also use your scraps for compost, where some councils will provide food waster bins for you to do so. If this isn't an option you can also use your food waste to help fertilise your soil.

Homeware and Technology

Although technology wasn't as common in many households in previous years, the upkeep still carries the same attitude when it came to looking after your TV, radio, or other appliances. I still to this day have my Grandad's radio, which to everyone was known as the 'wireless' and has been in our family since the early 50s. It looks brand new and still works as if it was bought yesterday. It was like that with a lot of purchases people made for their home. Although items could be expensive, they were always extremely well cared for, which meant they would last the test of time. Here we have looked into ways we can protect our items more:

  1. Our Account Executive, Jenny , stated that if you have an item that is broken beyond repair, you can donate a lot of your tech. There are lots of high street charities will accept your unwanted electrical devices. The British Red Cross, British Heart Foundation, and Marie Curie are all examples of charities which accept donations of old tech.
  2. Have TVs, phones, and other tech repaired rather than replacing them.
  3. You can buy refurbished or re-used tech which is not only cheaper, but means you can give old tech a new lease of life.
  4. Reupholster furniture that has become worn and torn. If you fancy a change, you can also make adaptations to pieces you already have. Change the fabric or add small details like studding.

These are just a few hints and tips to help you become more sustainable. What will you do differently to save money and make a difference to the planet?

Author: Becky Brookes, Marketing Assistant, Parliament Hill.

Becky is part of the Sustainability team at Parliament Hill and Editor of our Sustainability Content Hub. To find out more about Parliament Hill's Sustainability journey, click here .

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