Being environmentally conscious is not all about plastic bags; it’s about making everyday choices that can change the world we live in. We need to reduce the amount of trash we create, and to reuse or repurpose consumer goods rather than throwing them away. It can be hard to know where to begin, and it’s not going to be possible to offer a complete list of things you can do to help protect the environment. However, if you have made a 2021 new years resolution to become more environmentally friendly, here are six actions you can take today.
1 - Go plastic-free with natural soap bars - no more liquid soap.
Plastic is a massive contributor to pollution. There’s approximately 9 billion tons of it in the world today and over 6 billion tons of that remains unrecycled. So, where does it go? The majority of it ends up in landfills while the rest litters our communities, waterways, and oceans. A great way to reduce your plastic footprint is to use soap bars and ditch the bottled soap and shampoo. Read our blog on the benefits of soap bars here.
2 - Fly less and lower your food miles
If there is one positive that has come out of the global pandemic, it is the environmental benefit of reduced air travel. Greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector are a substantial contributor to global warming. The Center for Biological Diversity explains that ‘if the aviation industry were a country, it would place sixth in emissions, between Japan and Germany’. As the world returns to normal, we all have a part to play in reducing unnecessary air travel. We can choose to holiday closer to home and to buy locally grown produce. It is not only nonessential flights that have an impact, fresh produce often flies around the globe to satisfy shoppers who ‘can’t do without’ fresh strawberries in the middle of winter!
3 - Say no to the plastic bag
Just say no! Big companies listen to their customers and follow trends, we can influence this trend by asking for less packaging and refusing plastic bags at the checkout. It’s so easy to accept a bag that you don’t actually need, however a small daily act becomes a habit and that can have a huge impact when performed by thousands of people. In 2015 the UK introduced a charge of 5 pence per supermarket plastic bag. Plastic carrier bag sales fell by more than 95% since the charge was introduced! This means that this year, the big 7 supermarkets handed out 322m fewer plastic bags than in 2018-19.
4 - Stop using bottled water
Globally, more than a million plastic bottles are sold every single minute and only a tiny percentage are recycled. Reducing your reliance on plastic bottles is a great way to become more eco friendly in 2021. This fantastic article by National Geographic describes how plastic bottles went from miracle container to hated garbage within a generation. The dual issue of plastic bottles is the number being produced and discarded along with the fact that It takes at least 450 years for a plastic bottle to completely degrade.
Make 2021 the year that you consciously avoid bottled water.
5 - Get a clothesline to be more eco friendly
For many households, the dryer is the third-most energy-hungry appliance, after the refrigerator and washer. Using a clothesline can reduce the average household’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year. If the environmental benefits are not enough to convince you, the financial ones should be. It is estimated that a family can save $1500 on electricity over the lifetime of a dryer. And that is without the cost of the machine itself! Save money and become more eco friendly in 2021.
6 - Encourage eco friendly green education
Habits are easier to form when you are young, encouraging green education for kids at school and at home will have a long lasting impact on our planet. The child that embraces recycling and renewable energy at school could go on to be an eco conscious business leader of the future. Environmental projects can be fun and schools just need the right help and encouragement to make them part of the curriculum. They can also be combined into almost every school subject, from a home economics vegetable patch to the physics of wind turbines. Here are some teacher resources from the WWF.