Adapting my lifestyle to becoming Greener: Rhian’s (Green Champion) story

Published: 3rd May 2022

Today, we spoke with Rhian Betty (School Health Nurse, South West division), who has joined the Green Champions Network, about her motivation for becoming environmentally conscious, as well as some of the actions she has taken to reduce her personal carbon footprint and waste. Rhian believes it is crucial for all of us to take action in our personal and professional lives. She wants us all to help the Trust deliver its Green Plan and support the NHS pledge to be the world’s first carbon net zero national health service.

“I’ve always been conscious of the environment but became even more so when I started my nursing career in a hospital. The amount of waste being produced in our department was really eye opening - knowing that this was just the tip of the iceberg changed my perspective. I decided I would improve my own carbon footprint and reduce the environmental waste I generate, in part to off-set some of the waste I was producing at work. 

My partner and I have made quite a few changes to reduce waste and to be more environmentally conscious at home. We’ve looked at areas where we could make changes easily. These were energy, food, product purchases and transport. 

Looking at energy, we selected a provider who use 100% renewable energy resources and that had a variable tariff. This also lowered our electricity bill because we can time-shift our electricity usage to when renewable generation is high resulting in cheaper electricity.  

Our milk and juice are delivered by a local milkman because they can reuse the glass bottles, on average 25 times. We avoid food spoiling and waste by doing regular smaller shops instead of doing a big shop; this also allows us to enjoy fresher groceries and is more convenient when getting there on foot or by bike. Most importantly, we've been reducing our meat consumption and regularly opting for plant-based and meat-free options and we've had some success modifying a few recipes.

We also try and avoid buying single use plastics and have invested in some reusable options. It was easy to switch to refillable water bottles and coffee cups, makeup wipes and ear buds. I also recommend visiting refill shops, where you can get most cleaning and bathroom supplies, as well as some dry goods for cooking.

To reduce our reliance on ‘fast fashion’ we only buy what we need and often choose second hand items from charity shops. My partner has not bought any items of clothing in nearly two years! 

We’ll be taking the Eurostar for our next holiday abroad to the Netherlands. We’re looking forward to enjoying the cafes without the guilt of flying, while also experiencing a country hailed as being a cycling nirvana. 

Our biggest change has been selling our car, and choosing to walk, cycle or use public transport instead. We have purchased an electric bike for longer journeys and a cargo bike and signed up to the Zipcar car share scheme. We have realised many of our car journeys were unnecessary and could have easily been walked or cycled. We’ve nearly reached a year of being car free and we certainly won’t be looking back. 

I was excited to find out that there was Green Champions Network running for staff when starting my new role in October 2021 with CLCH. It’s been great to find out more about what the Trust is doing to become sustainable and I’m looking forward to being part of a group of likeminded people who share similar beliefs and values and collectively aim to achieve our Green Plan objectives."

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