“A mother and her nine-year-old son have been named the UK’s most eco-friendly family after wi
ing an award for their environmental initiatives.
Carrie Cort, 51, from Sussex gave up her high powered corporate job ru
ing a video communication company in 2014 to focus on environmental campaigning.
Now every aspect of her life is eco friendly, from her son Adam’s birthday parties to her clothing, and she recycles everything from empty pens to milk bottle tops – but it’s not just the environment reaping the rewards.
‘Changing our family lifestyle to green has saved us around u00a311,000 every year, which has given us more financial stability,’ Carries told Femail. ‘Living green has made us healthier and I feel younger now than I did twenty years ago, when I lived a less healthy lifestyle of processed and heavily packaged food.
‘However, the main benefit has been that our family has had such fun doing this. We are happier than ever before and we spend more quality time together than we ever did.
Carrie Cort, 51, from Sussex and her husband Brian with their son Adam. She says their family is happier than ever since embracing a greener lifestyle
Carrie with her husband Brian, and her mother, showing off the fun art projects children can enjoy with recycled materials
‘Itu2019s just so nice knowing we have done this together, knowing that we are all helping not just Adam and his kids one day, but for many generations into the future.
‘There are many benefits to greener living, firstly you know that it is better for the environment, less natural resources taken, less energy and water used to manufacture goods or transport food.
‘Being frugal definitely saves you money, and it is fun seeing what you can make with unwanted or broken things, like reusing my old washing machine as a fantastic BBQ, wok cooker and log burner.
‘Growing your own food is great exercise, good for wildlife, the food is much more nutritious, tastier, no food miles and no packaging. It is a win, win all around.’
Adam and his grandmother with two of the family hens
THROW A GREEN BIRTHDAY PARTY Carrie ensures her son’s parties are environmentally friendly. Here’s how she threw Adam a Super Mario party for his fourth birthday. Invitations: We designed A6 Super Mario invitations – no envelopes – which were hand delivered to nursery friends and walked to local friends. Children loved receiving these miniature cards. Decorations: We used a Christmas multi-coloured central table decoration and added little Super Marios which were printed on the back of used paper and stuck onto the Christmas stars. Ba
ers: We made a Happy Birthday ba
er out of paper plates strung up with ribbon. The plates can be redecorated each year and eventually put in the recycling bin. I have also seen people making flags out of old maps and stringing them up, they look pretty neat. Lego bunting and decorations made from upcycled jars at one of Carrie’s eco-friendly parties Cups and plates: Rather than using Super Mario one-time use paper cups and plates we used existing every day plastic colourful plates. Table cloth: We used a white paper tablecloth which the children decorated as part of the party fun. Paper tablecloths, as long as they are not wet or covered in food, can go in the paper recycling. If they are wet or dirty then tear them up and put them in your compost bin. Give children party food on plastic plates that can be washed and reused Secondhand presents: My son has a cousin who is 2 1/2 years older, so he often gets hand-me-down books and toys. I suggested a rather magnificent world educational globe, which was likely to be handed down any day, was wrapped up and given to him as his birthday present. I have decided not to buy any plastic toys new now, only secondhand. Lots of the plastic toys are made in the far east, so due to the transportation they come with a high carbon footprint. We found a beautiful ELC Castle of Doom from the Cancer Research charity shop for u00a310, rather than u00a380 new. Alternatively, a lovely present and a way of co
ecting children with the great green outdoors is to join them up to the Nature Detectives Club or why not buy them a butterfly kit. Wrapping paper and cards: Our family uses ‘paper for life’, passing it to and from each other for birthdays from year to year. The same goes for cards. Party bags: They get opened, emptied, put straight in the bin and then go off to the landfill. My husband bought me a beautiful Valentine bouquet which was wrapped in a sheet of clear plastic and several sheets of red and orange tissue paper. We cut this into oblongs and taped it into bags with a Mario character printed onto the back of some used paper. They included a paper colouring book, that can be recycled. The boys had a little Superman model which came from a jumble sale and the girls had the equivalent! Party Games: These included pass the parcel of course, using secondhand wrapping paper from an earlier birthday party. Lots of outdoor games thanks to some unusual February mild weather. Children enjoying outdoor games at a Green Play Arcade where they can learn to build their own robot Food: Most was bought locally from the market and small supermarket, avoiding packaging. Where packaging was required we selected products with recyclable packaging. Thank you cards: We saved the birthday wrapping paper and made our own recycled thank you cards. Even if you only put into place a few of these ideas, your childu2019s birthday party will be a little greener than last year’s.
Carrie and Adam were both And the pair have been honoured amongst the UKu2019s most inspiring environmentalists at the WWF Earth Hour Hero awards.
‘u200bI have always had a great empathy with nature and the environment. I studied and have worked in three Agricultural colleges,’ Carried told Femail.
‘My concern for the way we humans are treating the planet which sustains us was really roused in 2008 when Adam was born.
‘With motherhood came serious concern about environmental sustainability and a burning desire to learn how we can live more environmentally friendly lifestyles, in harmony with nature.’
Carrie wearing a waistcoat made out of old ties. She finds a new life for everything so that no old clothing goes to waste
Carrie (right) and her mother foraging for wild herbs and nettles
RECYCLE ALMOST ANYTHING!
Although some waste resources canu2019t be put in household recycling bins sometimes they can be taken to the local Household Waste Recycling Facility run by the local authority.
Search the internet to find ways of recycling or donating waste resources which canu2019t go in peopleu2019s household bins.
Offer your unwanted items on Freecycle, Freegle and Trash Nothing, or give to jumble sales and charity shops.”