Ten Easy Ways to Live More Sustainably
Want to do your part in the battle against climate change? Here are some easy things you can do - and it will benefit your bank balance, too!
It is easy to think that the efforts on an individual do not amount to much when trying to combat climate change and plastic pollution. However, if millions of people work together making small changes, the impact will be significant. Here are ten easy things you can do to help.
1. Ditch the car. If it is not necessary to use the car, leave it at home. Walk, cycle or use public transport instead. According to the Department of Transport, buses and trains combined contribute 5% of UK emissions compared to 72% contributed by passenger cars.
2. Buy fewer clothes or buy secondhand. The fashion industry produces 10% of all carbon emissions. It is also the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply (the average T-shirt uses the equivalent of 7-10 full bathtubs of water to produce) and pollutes the oceans with microplastics.
3. Eat less red meat. The Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. estimates that livestock contributes to more than one-third of methane emissions. The U.S. Environmental Defence states that if every American had a vegetarian meal instead of meat (including chicken) once a week, the carbon dioxide savings would be comparable to taking half a million cars off the road. And not only is eating meat better for the environment, it is also better for your health.
4. Grow your own herbs. Many supermarkets now sell herbs in pots, meaning you can keep them growing at home. Not only will you have a ready supply of your favourite herbs when cooking, you will also save money and use less plastic, too.
5. Use canvas bags instead of plastic ones when shopping. Approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used globally in a year. This equals more than one million bags every minute. Most of these bags still end up in landfills or in the oceans.
6. Buy loose products such as loose carrots or tomatoes. Buy them loose, or use paper bags, or even bring your own bags or containers to put them in.
7. Stop buying water in plastic bottles. Instead, invest in a water filter and a reusable bottle. Not only will you protect the environment, you will save a lot of money, too in the long run.
8. Get a reusable coffee cup. Instead of getting a new cup every time you want a cup of coffee, bring your own cup with you and ask the staff to fill that. Many places now offer discounts when you bring your own cup, so it is another sustainable option which is also good for the bank balance.
9. Take shorter showers. A typical non-conserving shower head sprays over five gallons a minute. If you cut your shower from eight minutes to three, you will save 25 gallons of water. Shorter showers also use less energy, saving money on electricity bills. They also reduce carbon dioxide emissions produced by the water industry.
10. Switch off your lights and appliances when you are not using them. A small act but one that can make a big difference, especially if using incandescent lighting. These types of light bulbs are the least efficient. 90% of the energy they use is given off as heat and only 10% results in light. Appliances when left plugged in are constantly drawing power. Individually this is only a small amount but in an average household these appliances can account to as much as 10% of the energy used.