Recycle, recycle, recycle
It may be one of the more familiar sustainable trends nowadays, but it certainly shouldn't be overlooked. Failing to recycle has catastrophic impacts on the environment - but it is one of the simplest actions we can take to lead a more sustainable life. Recycling conserves natural resources, some which are in short supply, and it also requires a great deal less energy than making new raw materials.
An easy way to recycle at home is by having two separate bins in your kitchen and bathroom to separate paper and plastic from your general waste, before disposing of the recyclable materials either in your home recycling bin for collection, or at a local recycling centre.
Minimise driving or go electric
The rise of the electric car is happening, with more and more charging points popping up all over the country. So is it time for you to consider making the switch to an electric vehicle?
Lower running costs, substantial benefits to the environment and government incentives are just a handful of the benefits when you go electric. If you spend a lot of time in your car and you’re worried that a full charge may not get you through your long commute, hybrids are a great ‘meet in the middle’ option. With the choice to switch between electric and fuel, you can still deliver environmental benefits whilst having the safety net of using fuel.
If you cannot commit to a new car, why not ditch the car more frequently and look for alternative methods of transport? Walking, biking, bus and trains are all fantastic ways of reducing emissions and switching to a more cost-effective mode of transport.
Eat less meat
Meat-free Mondays? Veganuary? There’s never been a better time to reduce the amount of meat in your diet. Cutting down on meat consumption is widely argued as the single greatest way we can all reduce our environmental impact. According to recent studies, meat and dairy farmed for human consumption produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Reducing your consumption also decreases the pressure on land and saves a considerable amount of water. Supermarkets are packed with fantastic meat-free alternatives and with the UK market for meat substitutes already worth over 400 million pounds, you’re sure to find something you like!
Maximise recycled alternatives
Coffee cups, reusable containers and water bottles are just a few of the items you can reuse time and time again to save your reliance on single use plastics. Most coffee shops offer a discount for anyone using their own bottle or cup - so your pocket will feel the benefits too! The demand for reusable cups is increasing by the day and there's now a wide selection available for a reasonable price.
Ditch fast fashion for vintage
Filling your wardrobe with pre-loved clothes is a brilliant way to lower your carbon footprint. The fashion industry is widely regarded as the second highest polluting industry in the world.
Throughout a product’s life cycle, pre and post-consumer, the environmental impacts can be huge. 85% of garments go into landfill each year and with the fashion industry responsible for 10% of humanity's carbon emissions, many argue it's time to change how we shop. With online marketplaces such as Depop and Vinted booming for pre-loved items, the choice available when it comes to vintage clothing is growing all the time.
Don’t let leftover food become waste
Reducing food waste is another way you can quickly reduce your carbon footprint and live more sustainably.
Food production uses a lot of energy and water and therefore wasting food, wastes a significant amount of this energy and results in more waste ending up in landfill. Why not get creative with your meals and use the leftovers for an exciting new dish, rather than throwing them away? Much like the way we use every part of the Christmas turkey for weeks on end, maximising how far your yearly meals go will make a big difference to the planet.
Be water wise
Many people ask why we are concerned about saving water when 71% of the earth is taken up by water? Well out of all the water on the earth, 97% is salt water and therefore is not suitable for drinking. The remaining 3% is fresh water however only 0.5% of this is suitable to drink - so therefore as the population increases the strain on resources becomes even greater.
Reducing unnecessary water consumption decreases the amount of energy required to process and deliver it to homes, businesses, farms and communities, which in turn reduces pollution and conserves resources.
Run your home on renewable energy
Becoming less reliant on fossil fuels and adopting renewable energy sources is an effective way of making your home more sustainable. In recent years, the emphasis on renewable energy has soared and it is not expected to stop any time soon. Solar panels are a common way of incorporating renewable energy into your home, as are air source heat pumps - which use outside air as a heat source. Getting up and running with renewable energy is not cheap, but the long-term benefits both in terms of spend and your impact on the planet, far outweigh the monetary outlay.