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Inspiration for sustainable(ish) living

Post by Robyn, who runs Eco Party Box Saltaire


Hiring a party kit is a great way to reduce waste at your next party and a great step on the journey to living more sustainably.


If you’re looking for inspiration on how to make more sustainable changes, the new book The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide by Jen Gale is an excellent read.

You’re here on the Party Kit Network website, so you’re probably already thinking about what changes you can make to help the environment.


If you're anything like me then you’ve made a few swaps already, but are on the lookout for things that you can easily and realistically do to help (in between looking after the kids, keeping the house reasonably clean and snatching the odd five minutes for a lukewarm cuppa).


Well The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide, by Jen Gale, is a great place to start.


Who is Jen Gale?

If you haven’t come across Jen before, she’s a mum of two boys (and former vet) who spent a year buying nothing new.


She started the Sustainable(ish) blog sharing the changes that her family were making and now, seven years (and a lot of hard work later), it’s grown into an online community of over 35k people who are united in their attempts at reducing waste.


It was Jen’s blog post about the party kit Frome Eco Party Packages which inspired the launch of the Party Kit Network and Jen now runs her own party kit.


Last month Jen released The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide - a practical workbook which offers tips and ideas for changes you can make at home to help fit sustainable living into the life you lead.

Is it all a bit eco-warrior?

Not at all. I think the ‘ish’ approach makes the book appealing to a wide range of readers.

This isn’t about being perfectly zero waste, it’s about making a start and giving things a go.

In the author’s own words:

“I’m not going to tell you that you have to eschew modern society, sell your house to move into a yurt in the woods, and start knitting your own yoghurt.”

In fact the book is full of practical advice that anyone can adopt. She breaks life down into 12 chapters, which means that you can easily dip in and out, rather than having to sit down and consume it all in one go.


What does it cover?

Each chapter provides a little context on the environmental impact with suggestions for changes you can make in that area and a little humour thrown in along the way to lighten the tone (without watering down the seriousness of the situation).


  • Conscious Consumption

  • Zero Waste(ish)

  • Plastic Free(ish)

  • Sustainable(ish) Food

  • Sustainable(ish) Fashion

  • Sustainable(ish) Family

  • Sustainable(ish) Home

  • Sustainable(ish) Work

  • Sustainable(ish) School

  • Sustainable(ish) Travel & Transport

  • Sustainable(ish) Celebrations

  • Activism(ish)

Readers are encouraged to highlight, annotate and fold down corners in a bid to make an actionable plan as they go along. After each chapter, Jen encourages you to write down the changes you can realistically make - I’ve found that writing it down and displaying it somewhere prominent at home really helps me commit to changes.


Jen has done a mini podcast series to introduce each chapter of the book, and Party Kit Network founder Isabel Mack joins Jen on the mini podcast for Chapter 11 Sustainable(ish) Celebrations.


My top 3 takeaways

It appears I’ve now reached a time in my life where reducing waste gets me excited. I really enjoyed this book and there were a couple of things that blew my ‘trying hard to be eco-friendly’ mind:

  • You can freeze crisps! Granted there are rarely crisp leftovers at our house, but I see lots going in the bin when I pick our party kit up from parties, so I’m spreading the word!

  • The amount of community groups and initiatives that are out there to help make it easier for you to live more sustainably – Zero Waste Near Me, Sharewaste and Repair Cafes.

  • “Switching to a renewable energy supplier has a higher impact than either switching to an electric car or going vegan.” We made this change a few years ago but I didn’t realise the impact it had – this is something that everyone can do relatively painlessly and the tariffs are often some of the most competitive.


The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide is available to buy online from a range of stores and in all good bookshops including Waterstones.


All images are copyright of Jen Gale or the Party Kit Network and used with permission.

Eco-friendly parties

Our network of party kits is an easy, convenient and often cheaper way of providing tableware and decorations for a party with the added benefit of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill at the end. 

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