When we enter a new year many of us decide we want to ‘better ourselves’, often in the form of New years resolutions. A new year, a new start for many and the idea to do something meaningful or effective gains a lot of interest. As we progress into January, there are many people who want to be ‘greener’, who would like to reduce their carbon footprint and just simply be kinder to our planet overall.
Environmental activists like Greta Thunberg have opened the eyes of the nation, and as such many people are wanting to take action and become more resourceful. The only issue is, many do not know where to start.
People often go to extreme lengths to try and reduce their carbon footprints, harbouring drastic lifestyle changes, which sadly often fizzle out after a while and old habits begin to arise once again. This failure is often due to taking on too much at once and overcompensation, when in reality, small, manageable steps are the best way to help live a greener, more resourceful life.
Cutting down on waste
News and media outlets are constantly talking about heightened landfill levels which are producing unprecedented amounts of CO2. So of course, the obvious conclusion is to go straight to the source of the issue and reduce our waste consumption, but how?
Rethink Purchasing Habits
All waste starts somewhere, usually, it’s down to excessive or impulse purchasing, especially when it comes to food. Food is a necessity which we all need, but supermarket bargains and indecisive buyers will result in over purchasing, much of this food will soon become waste when it gets forgotten and begins to expire. There are many ways which you can reduce your food waste, from freezing to donations but the best way to prevent the issue from the very start is in pre-planning. Creating a shopping list, meal planning and avoiding impulsive purchases will help to limit your purchasing habits and thus helps to prevent excessive food waste.
Whether it is accidental or purposeful, often many recyclable wastes get placed into the incorrect bins or even just the general waste. Recycling can often leave many confused, but simple research into the material types and your local authority waste collections can help you dispose of your recycling correctly. The key to good recycling is segregation and avoiding contamination. This means waste needs to be effectively separated and placed into the correct waste receptacles but that they are also clean first and excess unrecyclable components have been removed.
Plastics (and other material) often gets bashed for ‘filling up our oceans’ and ‘dirtying our countrysides’, which is a legitimate issue, however, it isn’t the material that should be branded as ‘bad’, it is the individual who left it there. Plastics and other materials do not build up in our countrysides and waterways on their own, they are the results of littering and poor waste management. This mounting waste will only see reductions when people begin to handle their waste more responsibility, whether this is taking litter home, or gaining a better understanding on how to handle their waste, this will mean it is no longer ending up in the wrong place.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Possibly the most important and simplest way to help reduce your carbon footprint is the 3 R’s, reduce, reuse and recycle. You can adapt the ‘Reduce’ element is many different ways, from reducing your purchasing habits to reducing the number of car journeys you do. Reuse is a simple tactic which not only saves you money but saves the planet – this can be simple things like reusing Tupperware, plastic bags and bottles etc. And of course the all-important recycle, which isn’t just limited to good kerbside recycling, you can recycle in many other ways such as donating to food banks, clothes and furniture to charity shops and even donating unwanted items to family, friends or neighbours.
These are easy and effective methods we can all incorporate in our daily lives which will help reduce our carbon footprint, helping us to start the new year greener!