Countless news reports of growing rubbish, a potential plastic tax for the UK and reports of more than 95% of the world’s population breathing in dangerous air are proving there’s an increasing importance of reviewing our personal impact on the environment.
Just a quick search of the ‘Great Pacific garbage patch’ demonstrates the need for immediate action. But how can you reduce your own impact on the environment? Here’s our list of just some very easy steps you can take to do your bit for the planet.
1. Lay out a plan
The first step to take when looking to reduce your impact on the environment is to set out a plan. This will help you stick to your promises and make them habit, rather than a one off event.
First think about all the ways you have a bad impact on the environment. What do you frequently buy? How often do you buy a coffee and throw away the cup? Are you more inclined to pick up a plastic bottle of water rather than use your own?
Once you’ve taken all of this into account, consider what your worst area is and focus on this first. Perhaps you’re in the habit of driving everywhere, or leaving the lights on when you leave a room. Once you’ve done this, write down some simple things you can do to reduce this.
2. Rate your rubbish
Often we don’t spare a second thought when we’re throwing out our rubbish. It’s the norm – take out the bins and wait for them to be collected each week. But just because everyone else isn’t doing it doesn’t mean that you have to. Like every mum has said at one time or another, if they jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?
It’s time to have a think about the rubbish you throw out and consider the different ways of reducing this. Buying more fresh food from local traders rather than supermarkets, taking your own bags with you wherever you go, making a lot of your own foods so you don’t needlessly waste packaging.
These are just some of the ways you can help reduce the amount of rubbish your household produces.
3. Donate, donate, donate
This one isn’t just easy, it’s therapeutic!
There’s no better feeling than cleaning out your attic, wardrobe and cupboards. Doing so brings a fresh perspective to your home – you’re cleansed of all the needless ‘stuff’ you don’t have a use for, it’s a new beginning.
But when it comes to throwing it all away, have a think. Could this be used by someone who needs it? If not, can you recycle it? Make binning your old bits and bobs the last resort, and instead donate what you can to charity.
4. Keep an eye on what you buy
You might feel like spending some money to make yourself feel better after a bad week, or to treat yourself for a recent promotion at work – but do you really need that new top? Are those shoes going to last you at least 30 wears? If not, think again and simply walk away.
If you do feel like purchasing something new, there are a number of sustainable designers who create clothes that have minimal impact on the environment. Alternatively, buy your clothes from a charity shop where you know they’ve already been donated.
From clothes to compost, there’s no better way than to get rid of your garden waste. You can then use this to improve the fertility of your garden and save yourself some time and money.
The first step to composting is figuring out where to put your compost patch or bin. If you have a bigger area of land you might want to just leave the compost in a specific area, however if you only have access to a small portion of land you may want to use a bin to keep things contained.
For those who live in a flat or built up area, you can buy a small compost bin for your kitchen. To stop this from smelling simply keep it in a cool area and empty it regularly.
6. Switch it off
Another simple action you can take to reduce your impact on the environment is to switch of your electrical goods when not in use. We don’t mean just on the appliance, you should actually turn things off at the plug to make sure they are off.
This won’t just help save electricity (no one needs those little red lights on the TV!) but it will reduce the likelihood of a faulty plug causing a fire in your home.
7. Save water
There’s no doubt that it’s important to stay hydrated (we wouldn’t be selling bottles if we didn’t think so!) but that doesn’t mean you have to use more water than necessary.
Simple actions like turning off the water when brushing your teeth or taking a quick shower in the morning rather than a lengthy bath in the night can help save water and reduce how much you use by a surprising amount.
8. Cycle as much as possible
For commuters the drive to work can seem like a necessary evil, especially when there are so many others on the road at the same time. One solution to this is to switch up you’re drive in by taking to your bicycle and cycling in instead.
This won’t be ideal for some commuters, for instance those with an especially long commute, but for people living in an urban area, cycling can be the perfect way to get healthy, cut down your commuting time and get to work feeling energised.