2019 is the year we go green!
In 2018 climate change headlines, mass extinctions, rainforest loss and image of plastic choking our oceans dominated the media. Sometimes it feels like we are all hopeless against the giant corporations which push this greedy pillaging of our natural resources. That’s how they want us to feel.
For too long environmentally friendly options have been a middle/upper class affair; expensive hessian totes, fancy bamboo containers, organic vegetable boxes that cost more than your weekly shop. But now there are ways that everyone can get involved in an accessible and affordable green revolution!
Here are my 7 goals for 2019 to make my year, and the world, a little bit greener – join me!
Get More Bottle
Did you know the the average UK household still uses 480 plastic bottles a year, but only recycles 270 of them. Add to that a fifth of people still buy bottled drinks to consume at home. Think how many of those bottles could be eliminated by drinking water from your own reusable bottle! You can buy filters to ensure your water is safe to drink, and a variety of sizes of reusable bottles for different situations. I have a big gym bottle for workouts, and I’m going to put my smaller bottle in my rucksack so I never forget it before leaving the house – which is my worst habit.
Top tipple – Find places you can fill your water bottle for free at https://refill.org.uk/ who also have an app which shows all local refill stations. It’s handy and you know you’ll never have to go thirsty.
Give Things a Second Chance
The second of the 3 ‘R’s, reuse! A staggering 300,000 tonnes, or £140 million of clothes go into landfill every year in the UK. The clothes bought to replace them cause the annual carbon footprint equivalent to every household driving a car each year for 6000 miles! I’d never thought of clothes like that before, but now I have the more affordable and greener goal to buy my clothes, and other items, second hand. I can often find specific items on online marketplaces such as eBay, Vinted and DePop, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, charity shops and car boots are a great way of finding things you didn’t realise you needed!
Good as new – If you’re worried about bobbles, get yourself a ‘bobble trimmer’ or fabric shaver. These skim off bobbles from old clothes making them look fresh as a daisy. It has a small upfront cost but will save money in the long run.
Do You Even Recycle Bro?
Rethink how you recycle! You can recycle much more than you think. As it’s the beginning of the year, refresh yourself with your local council’s guidelines, such as the Cardiff ones here. Pay attention to items which can be taken to the tip to be recycled such as electrical goods. There are also new schemes popping up to recycle some of the pesky things filling up our bins such as pet food pouches and crisp packets. Terracycle have stations in towns and cities all over the UK to recycle the tricky things that local councils can’t. I’ve set up a couple of boxes at home to keep them in so I can go once a month to drop them off so it’s not even a hassle! Best of all, it’s all free!
Bag It Up
Like so many of you, I have so many reusable bags that I’ve picked up over the last few years, but sometimes I STILL forget to take one out with me – and I know I’m not alone! So this is the year we always have our reusable bags with us. Put one anywhere you might need it, in your handbag/rucksack, in the car, by the door etc. Plastic bags are so quick to end up in waterways, and therefore the sea, leading to it ending up in the food chain. A recent shocking statistic shows that 90% of all seabirds consume plastic, rising to 100% by 2050. This fills their stomachs and starves them, and contributes to a 67% decline in populations since 1950 to 2010. It’s an easy switch, a cheap one now plastic bags have charges, and has a bigger impact than we know.
Sometimes it feels like all we do is take from our natural environment, so make this the year that we give back. There are all kinds of things you can do to protect our environment. If you have some free time on weekends, consider getting involved with a local litter pick which are free to join, and some even provide credits to use with local services. If you have a garden, think about planting a wildlife area, or setting a bird feeder out to give local wildlife a rest stop. Some parks and nature reserves also have volunteer days where you can do your bit whilst making new friends and adding something great to your CV!
Got No Beef
The biggest thing that we as individual consumers can do to reduce harm to our planet through climate change and deforestation is to eat less meat. It’s not a popular opinion due to decades of being told that eating meat is the norm, but meat production currently creates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all of the worlds cars, trucks and airplanes put together. The practice of deforestation for land for animal farming risks mass extinctions of local species, as well as polluting streams and rivers. Whilst it is not something we notice day to day, it affects millions of people and species around the world. Even David Attenborough has gone veggie to save the world. Begin by having a meat free day a week, it’s easy to do as even discount supermarkets have a great selection of affordable meat free meals.
Shout About It
Living an environmentally conscious life feels great, and does great. But we need to put more pressure on big companies, the government, and the top 1% who are lagging behind. Email or tweet your favourite supermarkets to get them to cut down on plastic, let your local MP know how you feel about protecting green space. There is so much to be done, and if you get involved with a local campaign group, a charity such as The Wildlife Trusts or Friends Of The Earth, then they can help point you in the right direction of where is best to write to. Our voice is free and it can make the difference, so let’s use it!
Here’s some ways to get involved in Cardiff:
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