There are many ways in which you can reduce your impact on the environment that will help reduce our society’s ravaging impact on nature. Our dependence on plastic (especially) has made headlines in recent news as huge islands of plastic waste have been found washing up on beaches around the world, killing all manner of marine life in its path.
Being conscious of our impact is a great start, but let’s look at smart ways we can massively decrease our ecological footprint on the world, now and in the future.
Reducing Your Environmental Impact
We came up with five smart ways in which you can start to make a change in the world, by reducing your impact on the environment.
Reusable Bags and Containers
We’ve all got a drawer or cupboard at home that is overstuffed with plastic bags we’ve picked up at the shops and never used again. It’s one thing to want to reuse them and quite another to remember to reuse them!
The best way to remember to reuse them is to always have a bag on you and to keep a stash in the car, so you’re never caught short. The same can be said with a reusable cup and food containers, which can be brandished whenever the need arises for takeaway drinks and meals.
Pro tip: Fold plastic carrier bags into small triangles and to stow them away easily in your handbag, glove compartment, or other convenient places! Begin by laying the bag flat, smoothing it down to create a rectangle shape with the handles protruding from one side. Then, starting from a long side of the bag, fold the bag in about 5cm increments, until you are left with a very long thin rectangle. Then, from one end, fold a corner up to make a small triangle, and repeat this until you are left with a few centimeters of bag. Tuck this last bit back into the triangle, and voila!
Become More Energy Efficient
Reducing the energy you use is just one way to become more energy efficient, but the really smart way to tackle this is to install a renewable energy source in your home. This will help save the planet, while also saving you money on your electricity bills.
Few of us have the land needed for wind power, but almost all of us have a roof for solar panels, which also have the added benefit of adding value to your home. In fact, research suggests that spending £6,000 to £8,000 with a local installation company can add an average of £16,000 to the value of your home. Now that’s smart!
Even if your roof space isn’t suitable, there are other options such as ground-mounted panels which could be incorporated into your property, as well as foldable panels which are a popular choice for campers and those with RVs.
It is predicted that by 2050, a quarter of us will likely live in a country affected by chronic or recurring fresh-water shortages. This crisis is no longer limited to developing countries. Our environment cannot keep up with the increasing demand, and countries like South Africa and Australia have found themselves drawn scarily close to a “Day Zero” scenario in recent years.
Taking showers instead of baths and running the washing machine less often will make a huge difference to your water usage. If you want to be really smart about it, you can also install low-flow shower heads and collect rainwater for watering your plants.
Did you know that you can also save over 30 litres of water per day by putting filling a plastic water bottle and placing it in your toilet cistern? This reduces the amount of water used for each flush.
Making small changes, like turning off the tap whilst brushing your teeth, and only doing full loads of laundry or dirty dishes, can also have a significant effect on your water usage.
Taking public transport and car sharing where possible is great, but we should all start considering taking our holidays closer to home too. It’s thought that the aviation industry alone is responsible for around 5% of global warming!
Find the hidden gems on your own doorstep. Many of us are guilty of over-looking the beauty that is often right in front of us, as we are drawn to the idea of travelling abroad for more exotic adventures.
Spend some time exploring places a little closer to home, by visiting national parks, historic towns and villages, campsites, BnBs, and resorts, that are within driving distance of your home. You may be surprised at what you can find – and, odds are, you’ll save money too!
Reduce Your Use of Chemicals
Using chemicals in the home and garden eventually end up in our water systems and upset the balance of nature and wildlife, not to mention what damage they do to our bodies! From chemical weed killers, to bathroom cleaning sprays, there are more natural ways to keep weeds out of the garden and our homes clean, which are kinder and smarter.
In fact, most household chemicals can be avoided by using a combination of vinegar, essential oils and baking soda. There are plenty of recipes online that are easy to follow, even if you are a cleaning novice!
Shopping for personal care products which are labeled as “fragrance-free” is also a great way to do your own health a favour, as well as looking after our planet.
Purchasing food that has been grown locally will reduce your environmental impact as well as provide valuable support for small businesses in your area.
Eat seasonally: fruit and veg which has been flown, shipped and driven half the way around the world before reaching your shopping basket will have a huge carbon footprint of its own! Take this opportunity to visit local markets and independent stores.
Shopping locally extends beyond just what goes on our plates. Transporting physical goods to your home or business uses fuel and creates emissions. Consider sourcing goods from close by and use vendors nearer to you when possible. It will likely save you money on shipping costs as well as being the greener, smarter choice!