I have focused my environmental posts on the reduction of single use plastic as this the issue I’m most passionate about. (If you want to catch up, all the posts about reducing plastic are below). However, there are many other changes you can make to reduce your environmental impact. Here’s some other switches we have made, which may inspire you to change.
This is simple. When you look to change your energy supplier each year (which is good to save some pounds too), also look for green energy companies. We switched to Bulb last year with 100% renewable energy and carbon neutral gas.
2. Reduce the amount of energy you use. Use less energy led bulbs, power saving modes
Using less energy doesn’t always seem simple but there are a few easy things to switch. Next time your light bulbs need changing, get longer life, lower energy LED alternatives. Really need your games console on ‘always on’ or your TV on standby? Look at smart plugs, which can turn it all off completely or activate power saving or Eco modes.
3. Compost your waste
If you have a spare corner in the garden, consider home composting and if not, consider getting a ‘brown’ bin subscription, Food waste can be easily composted, producing nutritious compost to help grow food for next year. (I’ve got half this sorted, composting for years but still need to build a planter to grow food, thats one for this year!)
4. Save heat with insulation
We recently got our loft boarded, which meant checking their was sufficient insulation. This keeps our carbon neutral heat where we need it.
5. Consider reducing your emissions
If you can, walk or cycle instead of driving. When you change your car, consider hybrid, plug in hybrid or electric options. I’ve recently gone to Hybrid with my latest upgrade.
6. Recycle recycle recycle
Recycle what you can. Terracycle what you think you can’t. Reduce buying the things you can’t recycle where you can and consider buying second hand. You can find out about Terracyle here.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock it’s likely been unavoidable to know about the plastic problem on this planet.
To tackle our plastic footprint, reducing single use plastics are the swaps we started with and there have been some easy switches I’ve made. (Though there are plenty more to make too).
It didn’t happen overnight. It has been a slow process of reducing bits one by one for us.
We started in the kitchen. Cling film was a big bug bear of mine so that went first. Swiftly followed were food and freezer bags and both of these were easily swapped for reusable tubs.
We then looked to the next big pile up of plastic: shopping bags. We began recycle our shopping bags and replace them with more permanent tote style bags. Most supermarkets have collection bins and Ocado even pay you to take them (with an order). For fruit and veg we started to take it loose too. There are plenty of alternate plastic-free fruit and veg bags out there if you really need to use something.
I then made an extra effort to recycle more and correctly. It’s amazing when you look at it what you can and can’t. Checking with your local authority is the place for this one.
Terracycle recycling began this year. A colleague at work set up collection for our company.
The Terrecycle scheme takes near to everything you can’t traditionally recycle. For example: crisps packets (grr), toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, chocolate wrappers, sweet wrappers…….the list goes on. And on and on and on. You just need to find a collector which you can do on the website, deliver to them and they send then on to Terracycle. (See my Terracycle post here).
From those reductions I’d only be less than quarter-filling my bin destined for landfill, rather than the previous three quarters.
But then the Munchkin arrived and so did disposable nappies. You only had to look in the bin every fortnight to see the effect with the bin back up to half full.
We had to try something different! We changed to Mio miosolo nappies when Munchkin was around 5 and a half months and then just use disposables for the nights as this is where reusables seem to struggle. It’s another load of washing so a little extra effort but that is a small sacrifice for the 25 nappies not ending up in landfill each week. Especially given those 25 extra nappies would outlive our little Munchkin by 100 years or more.
Future swaps I’m looking at are trying reusable baby wipes and biodegradable nappies for the nights (which are swapped and you can read about here). Though hopefully when Munchkin sleeps through the night the washable nappies may last.
It’s not about changing everything, and it’s not about doing it overnight. It’s about changing bit by bit overtime. It all adds up and makes a difference.