From climate change to plastic pollution, issues surrounding the future of the planet are rightfully gaining more exposure. At the Cop26 Climate Conference in Glasgow last month, 120 world leaders and over 40,000 registered participants came together to discuss working together to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees.
But how can we help as individuals? There are many small and easy changes we can make to be greener in our everyday life.
Here are 12 easy ways to protect the planet.
We’re starting with the basics here but recycling unwanted plastics is absolutely essential. Recycle from home where you can and utilise major supermarket collection points for things that can’t. Items like carrier bags and frozen food bags fall into this category.
Invest in renewable energy
Most households run on unsustainable sources like oil or gas. But by switching to a renewable energy source like solar, you’ll be doing your bit to protect the planet. Solar panels are also a great way to reduce your monthly energy bills.
Ditch the plastic water bottles
Did you know that a single plastic bottle breaks down into 10,000 microplastic pieces over time? And many of them end up in the ocean. A more environmentally friendly option is to invest in a reusable water bottle. You’ll save money and reduce your plastic consumption. Win-win!
… and the plastic straws!
Whilst we’re on the topic of needless disposable plastics, try to avoid plastic straws where you can. Since plastic straws take 200 years to decompose, they wreak havoc on the environment. If you really need to use a straw, invest in a reusable metal or bamboo one.
Reduce your meat consumption
The meat and dairy industries are responsible for a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Farming, production, processing, packaging… each phase of meat and dairy food preparation costs the environment. When you can, forgo the meat and go veggie instead.
Take public transport
If you can get to work by train, bus or underground, do it. Cars produce a lot of pollution and so they’re really not an environmentally friendly mode of transport. If you can walk or ride a bicycle to your destination, even better! You’ll protect the planet more than you realise.
Switch to eco-friendly toilet paper
A lot of trees are cut down to produce toilet rolls and the average person uses 100 a year. That’s a lot of paper! And a lot of trees! Bamboo toilet paper is a much more environmentally friendly option so making the switch is definitely worthwhile.
Eat seasonally and locally
Eating food that’s not in season means it’s probably been grown in some huge greenhouse with artificial weather conditions. Unsurprisingly, this is not great for the environment. And neither is food that’s been shipped across continents to get to you.
Refill your bottles
Shampoo and conditioner alone are responsible for the disposal of 80 billion plastic bottles each year. Yes, that’s right! 80 billion! Instead, consider using reusable bottles to refill your shampoo, lotions and conditioners. Many supermarkets are also getting on board with this.
Repair, don’t rebuy
If you’re guilty of throwing a broken item away rather than fixing it, you’re not alone. But this creates unnecessary wastage. Next time something stops working, look into having it repaired. Replacing it might seem like the easier option, but it can be hard on the environment.
Turn your fridge down
Believe it or not, your fridge is responsible for 13.7% of your home energy output. By setting your fridge at 37°F (2.7°C), you can reduce the amount of energy used and protect the planet in the process. Small changes really do make a difference.
Wave goodbye to junk mail
How many letters come through the door that you don’t even open? We bet you’ve lost count! To reduce paper wastage, opt-out of subscriptions that you don’t need. And go paperless for the ones you do. Not only will this help to protect the planet, but you’ll feel mentally decluttered too.