With the world having to face climate change, we all need to do our part to tackle the issue. Though most of us won’t have the skills or resources to regulate the climate on our own, there are definitely things we can do to contribute something to the common good.
With this being said, let’s look into how we can live a little greener and make simple changes to our lifestyle to show a bit of love to the environment. You don’t need to completely alter your lifestyle, stick to a strict vegan diet, or only wear organic hemp clothes to make an eco difference. Try following a few of these easy steps!
So, you have probably heard of recycling, but have you come across the term precycling? Well, precycling is essentially a concept in which you think about the “end life” of a product before buying it. For example, if you’re grocery shopping, you take notice of how specific products/goods are packaged. Ask yourself:
- Are they wrapped in lots of layers of plastic?
- Are they held together by rubber bands or cable ties?
- Is the item being packaged in an unnecessarily large box?
By taking note of all these factors, you can better imagine what the recycling of that product will entail. This way of thinking enables us to make an informed decision and choose the products with the most minimal packaging. At the end of the day, it’s less waste for you to deal with and less pollutant plastic going into landfills.
2. Pay Bills Online
Most companies have an online option to pay bills. If you are still receiving paper bills via post, you should look to switch to a company that offers an online payment system or ask your current provider to stop sending paper bills. Doing this simple task will reduce the amount of paper post you receive and cut down on the quantity of paper you need to recycle.
In the UK alone, we use about 12.5 million tons of paper every year. The trees required to produce this amount would cover about 21,000 square km, around the size of Wales. The amount of paper we throw away is substantial. Thrown out paper accounts for around 20% of all UK waste.
3. Decline Receipts When Possible
Another good way to reduce paper waste is to say “no thank you” to a copy of the receipt if you don’t need it. If you’re running to the shop to pick up a pack of gum, you probably don’t need a receipt detailing your purchase. So, before they scan through your item, politely ask them not to print a receipt. This is a simple, fast, and impactful way to reduce waste.
If they do just happen to print out a receipt, please make sure to recycle it. We recycle around 80% of the paper in the UK. If everyone in the UK recycled only 10% more of their paper waste, we would save about 5 million trees each year. By recycling just one tonne of paper, we can help save 17 trees and 4000 KW of energy. That’s enough to power a house for an entire year!
4. Unplug Appliances
It’s unknown by many, but leaving your appliances plugged in when they are fully charged can waste energy. The Energy Saving Trust has reported that any switched-on charger that is plugged in will still use electricity, irrespective of whether the device is connected or not. The amount of electricity produced from this may only cost you a few pence, but it will shorten the shelf life of the charger and waste energy. So remember to unplug and switch off. It may not waste a lot of energy or money, but every little count, right?
5. Buy a Reusable Water Bottle
There are a few drink brands out there that actually bottle water from springs and mountain streams, but most bottled water is just glorified tap water (tap water that has been purified). If safe to do so, you can fill reusable water bottles with tap water and help save plastic waste.
Around only 1 out of 5 plastic bottles is recycled. The rest just becomes litter or gets buried somewhere. Worldwide, more than 100 million plastic bottles get used every day, and it takes 1 PET plastic bottle 700 years to start decomposing. Plastic bottle waste is a real problem, so do your bit and drink from reusable water bottles.
6. Invest In Green Energy
We all like our creature comforts, like watching TV in a warm, clean home, and there are ways we can make sure it is not at the detriment of the environment. One way to do this is to switch to a renewable energy provider. There are many renewable energy companies out there that offer very competitive rates, so your bills won’t go up by switching to green.
If you are interested in investing in the renewable energy market, you could look into renewable energy stocks or even installing solar panels on your home so you can generate your own power. Any excess power can be sold back to the national grid. This is a great way to live a greener life and make some extra cash.
7. Do Less Laundry
We have all been there, our favourite top is dirty, but we want to wear it that evening, so we pop it in the washing machine and do a small load. Washing machines take a lot of energy to run! On average, a 6-litre washing machine uses around 1kWH for an hour’s wash, and that’s not even considering the water consumption.
Make sure you are only washing with a full load and use low water temperatures whenever possible. You may feel like this is unhygienic, but we don’t actually need to wash our clothes in such hot water. It will save energy and help keep your clothes newer for longer.
8. Second-Hand Clothing
Speaking of clothing, try to move away from fast fashion and check out your local charity stores. Not only will this help to care for the planet, but you will also be donating to some great charitable causes. As fun as buying new fun clothes can be, the fast fashion industry is doing some serious environmental damage.
The fast fashion industry churns out a massive 80 billion garments a year. That’s around 10 items for every person on earth. On average, these items get worn only 10 times before being thrown away. The majority of these thrown out items are neither recycled or donated, so instead, they end up in landfill or get incinerated. Clothing can take 200 years to decompose, so we are just continually polluting the planet. Think next time you buy a garment, stick to wardrobe staples that will be loved and used for many years.