When learning about climate change, it’s easy to feel daunted by the level of change we need to make to our lifestyles.
So much of our society is built around the use of fossil fuels: we use petrol when we drive to work, then at work we spend all day on the computer, with the lights on, using electricity.
We then drive home, using more fossil fuels, and stop in at the supermarket to buy food that has been shipped halfway around the world (therefore using yet more fossil fuels), then put it in a plastic bag that can take up to 1000 years to decompose, before driving back home and using even more gas and electricity to watch television and cook dinner.
With 7.753 billion people on Earth, it is not surprising that this lifestyle is taking its toll on our planet. But there are small changes that you can make to your routine that will make a diﬀerence – here are five of them to start you off:
- Put A Recycling Bin In Your Bathroom/Lounge
Putting a recycling bin in the rooms where you make mess is an easy way to make sure you are doing your recycling as you go along. The danger with using one bin in these rooms, is that you may not be bothered to sort through it by the end of the week (particularly if sorting through rubbish grosses you out).
Simply placing a couple more bins around the house specifically for recycling means that you can separate your rubbish as you go along, saving you another job and stopping you from having to get your hands dirty. And it means that you’re more likely to make the eco-friendly choice!
- Switch To A Cold Wash
Did you know that by washing your laundry at 30°C instead of 40°C can help you to reduce your energy use by as much as 60% a year? Simply switching to cold water helps to reduce your energy consumption and carbon footprint significantly.
In fact, figures from coldwatersaves.org indicate that switching to doing 4 out of 5 washes in cold water could save 864 lbs of carbon emissions annually – the same as planting 0.37 acres of forest!
Not only that, but in a year, you will cut £12.00 from your electricity bill if you do your laundry at 40°C – and even more if you normally wash at a higher temperature!
- Walk More
Avoiding the urge to drive everywhere, and walking whenever you can, are great ways to reduce your carbon footprint without even trying. Walking to work, walking your children to school, walking to the corner shop instead of driving to the supermarket… these will all cut down on your carbon emissions, reduce your fuel consumption, and increase your exercise levels.
Working light exercise into your daily routine is also an excellent way to improve your fitness without overwhelming yourself. In short, by simply switching your morning drive for your morning walk, you can be more eco-friendly, reduce your fuel expenses, and improve your physical and mental health.
Or if walking isn’t your thing, you might also enjoy cycling to work. Cycling is faster, more eﬃcient, just as eco-friendly, and burns more calories.
- Don’t Waste Food
When food breaks down anaerobically, it produces CO2 and methane gas. And if you are regularly buying more than you can eat, you are wasting food, money, and the resources used to transport the food.
Try reducing your weekly shop so you stop buying what you don’t need. It will save you cash, make cleaning out your fridge more bearable, and help to save the planet while you’re at it.
You could even try learning some go-to recipes for using up leftovers. This will help you to save further money on food and reduce your waste even more.
And do you have vegetable peelings? Put them in your garden for healthier soil and happier plants!
- Buy Local
Buying your food locally makes a huge diﬀerence to the planet, and to your local economy. Supporting your local farm will reduce your carbon footprint and mean you are more likely to purchase from producers that practice sustainable agriculture.
This will help to promote natural biodiversity, while you may get some additional health benefits from eating food that is fresh and locally produced, as local food retains more of its nutrients than food which has been transported across a large distance.
In the case of meat and eggs, local food is also less likely to have harmful additives and preservatives in, and be more likely to be produced humanely. In particular, buying local honey is speculated to improve symptoms of hay fever and immunity levels, while also helping to preserve the diversity of your local ecosystem.
But the best tip for being more eco-friendly around the home? Find what works for you.
Only achievable, sustainable goals will stick for the long-term, so find what fits with your lifestyle and make changes gradually. Together, we can make a diﬀerence!