By Vanessa B
Many people are worried about climate change and its future impact on the world. Right now, eco-awareness is at a high level, with more people than ever showing concern about the effects their actions have on the planet. The number of people that are changing their habits to make more environmentally-friendly choices has grown since the pandemic started, which is excellent news. But, it can be hard to know how to put these good intentions into practice and make a difference that actually matters. You may have already changed the way you drive or even the car you own to help minimize your impact on the environment, but taking things a step further can feel challenging.
Although the issues facing the planet are huge, if everyone made consistent smaller changes, this would make a massive difference. Here are some of the small changes to consider in your daily life that can add up to a significant effort to protect the planet:
Cut Down on Waste
Most households generate a lot of waste each week, so if you find yourself squashing bags of rubbish into your wheelie bin, you will be only too familiar with the amount of stuff you throw away. Statistics show each person in England generates an average of 392 kg of waste per year. Research also shows that UK households generate approximately 5 million metric tonnes of food waste each year. So, it is clear to see that waste is a massive problem and one that needs to be solved to prevent further damage to the environment.
Minimising food waste is an excellent way to not only cut down on how much food you throw out but will also help you reduce the cost of buying groceries. Only cooking and buying what you need is the best way to stop food from being thrown away. Finding creative ways to use up groceries you have left before they go off is also a great idea and an effective way to cut your waste. Looking for creative ways to use up your leftovers by blitzing them into smoothies or batch cooking meals can help. You may find it helpful to begin meal planning, so you only buy what you need in the first place.
Get Smart on Packaging
When you buy something, you are probably focused on the product itself rather than thinking about the way it is packaged. But, considering packaging when making purchase decisions is a powerful way to reduce the amount of waste you produce. Buying items that do not require any packaging at all is the most obvious way to reduce waste. Looking out for zero waste shops in your area that simply sell the ingredients by weight and measure rather than buying it pre-packed will save loads of packaging going to the landfill. Of course, some products need to come packaged, so in this case, it is crucial to check the packaging can be fully recycled like these Nespresso compatible pods.
Shopping local and buying on a smaller scale should also mean you cut down on the amount of packaging that enters your life. Buying locally is beneficial for the environment in two ways; firstly, the goods usually feature far less packaging. Secondly, as they are locally produced, their carbon footprint is often lower as they have not been shipped long distances. Of course, the other bonus is you will be supporting a small business too.
It would be impossible to talk about reducing your packaging consumption without discussing plastic pollution. Disturbing images of the plastic floating through the ocean and littering beaches have been circulating for a while now, so plastic pollution is at the forefront of many people’s minds. Actively reducing the amount of single-use plastic you use is a positive step towards minimising the issue. Taking a refillable water bottle and coffee cup with you wherever you go can help save a huge number of plastic bottles and coffee cup lids adding to the plastic pollution problem each year.
Water is an essential resource but is frequently taken for granted. Unfortunately, lots of water is wasted each year, despite the fact that the Earth’s sources of freshwater that are suitable for drinking are scarce. Finding practical ways to save water will not only help protect this scarce resource but will also help save you money. So, it is worth the effort to look at the different ways you can start reducing the amount of water you waste.
Simple ways to save money at home include using water-saving devices throughout your home. Choosing a low flush toilet is a great starting point, but you could also switch to a water-saving showerhead to minimise the amount of water going down the drain. Getting a water butt to collect rainwater and then using this to water your garden is a helpful way to reduce the amount of mains water you use.
If you have a dripping tap or a leak anywhere in your home, this can also contribute to a lot of wasted water, so getting these repaired as soon as you can should also save both water and money.
Reduce Electricity Consumption
Finding the best ways to reduce your electricity consumption is vital for anyone hoping to make a difference to the planet. But, in a world where we rely heavily on technology, reducing electricity costs can seem impossible to achieve. A great place to start is to stop leaving items on standby unless they need to be. Switching off lights in rooms when they are not in use is one of the most obvious ways to save electricity, and you can make even more difference to your energy consumption by swapping to eco-friendly light bulbs instead. Minimising the use of electricity-hungry appliances such as tumble dryers can also be helpful.
Making lots of small changes to help the planet can seem like too little effort for such a significant problem, but even these small actions can make a vast difference.