Finally, humans, as a species are becoming collectively aware of their impact on the planet. It is wonderful to see so many socially, ethically and environmentally responsible people around.
It's never too late to start making small changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started. It's not as difficult or as daunting as it seems (and no, you don't need to start building a windmill in your garden!)
1. Standing by?...switch it off instead!
Leaving electrical items on stand by is an easy thing to do but did you know in 2010 the Energy Savings Trust estimated that each UK household spends around £50 - £86 a year powering appliances left in standby mode or not in use.
Let's stop this energy and money wasting madness and remember to turn items not in use off at the plug, everything from the toaster to the TV. There's absolutely no need for them to be left on.
Not only will this reduce your carbon footprint but your wallet will thank you too.
2. Avoid Polyester/synthetic fabrics in Clothing.
Have you heard the recent news that micro plastics are now in our water supply? You may not be aware but a huge source of this is just from washing our synthetic clothing. Estimates vary, but a single wash can release hundreds of thousands of these fibers into our water supply, these eventually reach the ocean and once they're in, there's no effective way of removing them.
There is a two-fold solution to this problem:
- Change your future buying habits. Look for natural fibers when shopping i.e. 100% Cotton, Organic Cotton, Hemp, bamboo etc
- Use a guppyfriend https://guppyfriend.com/en/ when washing your current synthetic clothing - these help catch the micro fibers saving our Oceans from the burden of them
3. Change energy supplier
Not everyone has this luxury but it is worth looking into. A quick google search for a green energy supplier in your area, from there you can look on a comparison website to see what savings/deals you could make with switching. You will be surprised as green energy is not always the most expensive.
An interesting point to this is - if you just change to a green energy supplier, you will not need to worry about item 1 in this list as anything electrical in your house, whether on or on stand by will not be emitting carbon to the atmosphere...although, you will still have to pay for it so perhaps keep everything off to save that £80 a year anyway.
4. Insulate your home
This is something where you may have to spend now to save lots in the future. An un-insulated home is so much harder to heat and keep heated in the winter and much harder to cool in the summer.
Not only will it take more energy to heat/cool but that energy usage will hit your pocket. Look into home insulation in your area and how much you can save by doing so. It really is worth it.
5. Use led bulbs
What's not to love about these? They last longer, help reduce emissions and are available in a huge number of designs. Save you money, save the atmosphere from Carbon emissions.
6. Waste not want not
An estimated 7 million Tonnes of food is wasted every year in the UK. That's a lot! Help reducing your food waste by planning your meals before you shop, write a list, utilise your freezer and rather than throwing leftovers out, keep them for lunch the next day. Again, this saves you money and helps the environment.
7. Say no to plastic bags
They're cheap at only 5p a pop but plastic bags are littering our planet. Instead, invest in a sturdy tote or other reusable bag. It may not be huge savings but all those 5ps do add up. A good bag for £15 will last years and can be used again and again.
Our favourite totes are made using Organic Cotton and recycled plastic bottles.
Have a browse here: https://www.oneplanetmind.com/collections/tote-bags
8. Use old clothing over paper towels for cleaning
Let's face it, we really don't need more paper waste going on. Instead of reaching for disposable wipes or paper towels at the supermarket, cut up some old t shirts or other clothing into rags and use those instead. Make sure to check the label first because in another twist, natural fibers aka cotton/bamboo/hemp can be composted. So once those rags are done for, pop them in your compost bin and let nature do it's work - zero waste.
9. Start a compost bin
Composting food scraps/household products is a great way to keep things from being piled on top of yet another landfill. Not only that but if you are a keen gardener it will make excellent fertilizer for your next growing season.
For a list of all things compostable and how to get started see https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/100-things-you-can-compost
10.Stop/significantly reduce animal product consumption
Livestock farming has a huge environmental impact. It contributes to land and water degradation, biodiversity loss, acid rain, coral reef degeneration and deforestation, soil depletion etc, etc. Livestock farming contributes 18% of all human emissions. This is more than ALL transport put together.
We must move away from consuming animals if we are going to combat climate change.
It has never been easier to find Vegan food options than it is today, with most supermarkets bringing out entire ranges of products. Take it one meal at a time, go vegan, go vegetarian, have meatless Mondays, join up for Veganuary, join a plant based support group on Facebook for tips and tricks on how to start.
Some interesting viewing to get you started:
'What the Health', Forks over knives, Earthlings (this is the truth about what happens to these poor innocent creatures, it is not easy to see), Land of Hope and glory (again, the truth, on Organic and RSPCA approved UK farms), Cowspiracy.
For the scientific facts on what consuming these products is doing to you see www.nutritionfacts.org
If you start with one meal you have already done well. Being more conscious of what you are eating is good for you, your health, your bank account, the planet and the animals.
Thanks for reading!