10 of the best books & films on sustainability

Wondering what you can do to reverse the tide against plastic? Want to know the nitty gritty on the global food waste scandal? Need some tips on how to reduce your household waste? These books and films will help you make more sustainable choices in your everyday life, and to know why it matters.

WASTE: UNCOVERING THE GLOBAL FOOD SCANDAL BY TRISTRAM STUART.

A brilliant book to get to grips with the true scale of global food waste and why it happens from farm to fork. Backed up by hard data and field research, Tristram Stuart – founder of anti-food waste campaigning organisation, Feedback – argues that a global food crisis is our own doing, but we can find ways to fix it too.

TURNING THE TIDE ON PLASTIC BY LUCY SIEGLE.

A straightforward and easy-to-read call to action to get us to rethink how we use single-use plastic. “The plastic we throw away in a single year could circle the earth four times”, notes Lucy Siegle in this useful guide to reducing plastic in our own lives. If only 12 of us adopt her 'reduce, rethink, refill, refuse' approach, we could potentially cut up to 15,000 single items of plastic in a year. A motivating read.

MINIMALISM: A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE IMPORTANT THINGS.

If you’re after a motivating Netflix watch, this documentary follows Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus as they reevaluate their throw-away, consumerist lifestyle, reduce their possessions to the essentials and find out what it means to live a meaningful life with less. Watch the trailer

JUST EAT IT: A FOOD WASTE STORY.

A brilliant watch if you want to get to grips with the global food waste scandal. The film follows Jen Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin as they commit to stop buying food for six months, relying instead exclusively on rescued, edible food ‘waste’. They look at everything from discarded food past its ‘best before’ to the wonky fruit and veg that don’t make it past strict supermarket cosmetic standards. “Wasting food is not only widespread, it is condoned”, they say, offering a stark view into a global problem with very simple solutions. Watch the trailer.

THE TRUE COST.

An eye-opening documentary that uncovers the ugly truth behind the fast fashion industry, from dangerous working conditions in developing countries to the damage cheap clothing is having on our environment. A must watch. Watch the trailer.

THE EDIBLE CITY: A YEAR OF WILD FOOD BY JOHN RENSTEN.

“When 60% of the world’s calories now just come from four crops (wheat, corn, rice and potatoes) isn’t there room for more variety in our diets?”, asks John Rensten in this practical guide to urban foraging. Rather than a sustainability manifesto, however, this book will show you how to reconnect to where your food comes from, with lots of tips on finding, picking and cooking from our hedgerows, parks and back gardens. Elderflower cordial anyone?

A ZERO WASTE LIFE IN THIRTY DAYS BY ANITA VANDYKE.

“The aim of the thirty day challenge is to show you that living zero waste is not about deprivation or sacrifice”. We’re fans of this friendly, back-to-basics approach to reducing waste. Through small, everyday actions, this 30-day challenge shows that we can all make positive steps towards a more waste-free lifestyle. 

SILO: THE ZERO WASTE BLUEPRINT BY DOUG MCMASTER.

Doug McMaster is the pioneering chef and owner of Silo, the UK’s first truly zero-waste restaurant. On his mission to go back to a pre-industrialised food system, making everything from scratch to avoid plastic packaging, sourcing meat that would otherwise be wasted and composting everything, Doug pioneered a blueprint of how zero waste really could work at an industry level. This book is his manifesto – a great, inspiring and fairly quick read that gives you an insight into his radical way of thinking.

THE THIRD PLATE BY DAN BARBER.

If you’ve seen Dan Barber, the radical chef and sustainable farming advocate, on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, you’ll want to read this. In these well researched and brilliantly written pages, Dan Barber argues why the health of our soil is so vital for a sustainable planet, and proposes a way of farming and eating that could solve our current food crisis.