Being environmentally friendly is ultimately a lifestyle choice. It’s no longer just about ditching the plastic bag. Instead, it’s about adopting a mindset that ensures you do your best for the planet every day.
Whether that’s reducing your time in the car or switching off the lights at home, there are plenty of ways you can make planet conscious decisions.
But what does that mean practically? Here are 6 ways to live more environmentally friendly to protect our future:
Follow the “Three R’s” principle
“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” has become a popular slogan for local councils up and down the country. But what do each of the “R’s” mean?
Reducing the number of everyday items we use will quickly impact the amount of waste thrown into landfills each year.
An excellent example of this is to avoid single-use plastics and opt for a keep cup for your takeaway coffee or grab loose fresh fruit and veg in the supermarket.
Reusing or repurposing an item will mean that you get the most use out of it, prevent rubbish building up and make your money go further.
- Empty jars can be used for gifting: think Christmas or Birthday candles, a jar full of brownie ingredients or a country chic vase for your spring blooms
- Paper can be shredded and used for animal bedding – hamsters, rabbits, mice etc
- Newspapers can be used to protect your furniture or surfaces as you paint or to clean windows
- Furniture can be fixed, upcycled, or donated
- Food scraps can be turned into compost
Recycling, in short, is the process where materials you throw away can be made into something new and used again. While recycling doesn’t come without its own set of wasted resources, it does cause less damage to the environment overall as it uses less energy and conserves natural resources.
Plan your weekly food shop
Did you know that ⅓ of food produced globally goes to waste each year?
The UK alone is responsible for throwing out 9.5 million tonnes a year, which is devastating when you look at the Office of National Statistics (ONS) data that reveals 8.4 million of the county’s residents are in food poverty.
While you are not responsible for an entire country’s relationship with food, planning your weekly food shop will ensure you only buy what you need. It cuts out impulse buying and allows you to make more informed choices about the things you buy – reducing packaging, food waste and your carbon footprint.
Find any extras in your cupboards that you know will go to waste but are still in their sell-by dates? Then consider giving your non-perishable foods to your local food bank.
Ditch the plastic
Plastic is infecting our oceans. Today, over 5.25 trillion macro and micro pieces of plastic are in our waters, with an estimated 46,000 pieces floating in every square mile of ocean.
Every year hundreds of thousands of marine animals and wildlife lose their lives after mistaking plastic bags for food. Some die from ingesting the chemicals found in the plastics themselves, and others get entangled and slowly suffocate.
While you cannot sift through the world’s seas, you can change how you use them. With the UK levy on plastic shopping bags, it’s easier and cheaper to bring your own with you anyway. Once they’ve gone beyond their base, make sure you recycle them!
Manage your waste
Separating out your waste at home will help you manage your rubbish better. With most local authorities supplying their residents with a food caddy, recycling box and refuse bin as a minimum, you have the basic tools at your disposal.
But sometimes, your waste can accumulate faster than your council is willing to collect. Or you might work in a busy office, a construction site or are growing your family.
Getting in touch with your local rubbish removal company will ensure your rubbish doesn’t get out of hand. Whether you need a regular clearance or a one-off, your local team will ensure all of your waste is disposed of in the most environmentally friendly ways. They will have good relationships with the local recycling and waste plants and charity shops.
What’s more, hiring your local clearance team will prevent your rubbish from causing you stress and keep you out of traffic waiting in line for your turn at the tip!
Buy second hand
One person’s junk may become your favourite, most used item!
Whether you invest in an antique piece to add a rustic or industrial vibe to your home, want to decorate your child’s room without breaking the bank or want a rug for your living room that doesn’t cost the earth, then take a look at the second-hand market.
Vintage and antique warehouses are springing up in city centres, towns and villages alike. Then there are the plethora of charity shops that take centre stage on our high streets, where you can not only snap up a bargain but put your money towards a worthwhile cause.
From GumTree to Facebook Marketplace, people everywhere are trying to get rid of their wares! But in the process, all of these avenues ensure that household items, clothing, cars and more have a second, third or fourth life that cuts their carbon footprint immediately.
Donate to charity
If you’re having a clearout, then think about donating to a local charity shop, clothing or furniture bank or shelter. Not only are you reducing each items carbon footprint, but you are potentially helping someone in need.
If you want to help out local organisations, get in touch with churches first. Most of them will have a social action project in place, such as a food bank or a homeless shelter. Equally, if you are upgrading your computer or laptop, or the office is having a clearout, why not reach out to a nearby school and ask if they would like them?
Donations that charities widely accept typically include:
- Clothing and shoes
- Small appliances and white goods
- Books, magazines
- Furniture, such as sofas, chest of drawers, bookshelves etc
- Children’s toys, furniture and clothing
We can all do our bit for the environment from the comfort of our own homes. From donating to charity to walking to work, there are plenty of small steps you can take that will reduce your carbon footprint. Are you ready to choose a planet conscious lifestyle?