10 Simple Ways to Reduce your Environmental Impact
This week I thought I would share my top 10 simple ways to reduce your environmental impact. These include some of the most basic tips to start you on your journey to becoming more sustainable and hopefully some other tips you haven’t come across before. I hope these tips are helpful and that this post is informative in some of the simplest things you can do.
1. Bring a reusable water bottle
Bringing a reusable water bottle with you is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce your environmental impact, as it will stop you buying plastic water bottles. Use the Refill app after you’ve drunk your water to find the nearest places to you where you can refill your bottle. According to the newest UK Parliament report: “The UK uses 13 billion plastic bottles every year. Only 7.5 billion are recycled. The remaining 5.5 billion are landfilled, littered, or incinerated”, so it’s vitally important that we reduce the amount of plastic bottles we consume.
2. Bring a reusable coffee cup
Another simple way to stop sending disposable coffee cups to landfill is to have your own reusable cup. You can even put iced drinks in them to reduce all of the single-use plastic involved. I would recommend the brand keep-cup which has a variety of sizes and designs for all your coffee needs. Also, most (if not all) coffee shops now offer discounts for bringing your own reusable cup with you, for example if you ordered a Grande Cafe Latte at Starbucks for £2.45, your 10th cup would effectively be free.
3. Reusable Bags
I always like to carry a reusable bag with me to make sure I don’t need to get a plastic one when I do my shopping. To ensure I never get caught out I like to keep them in lots of different places so I always have them around. Try using reusable bags you already have lying around at home, or repurpose the plastic ones you already have before buying more. Not all reusable bags are created equal though, so if you do need to buy some try to get some which are made using recycled and/or organic materials. My recommendation is this WWF reusable tote bag.
4. One plant-based meal a week
Switching one meal a week to a plant-based one is an easy step to make to reduce your environmental impact. According to The Meatless Farm Company, “If each household swaps just one red meat meal per week to a plant-based meal, we’ll cut emissions by up to 8.4% per year. That’s like taking 16 million cars off the road”. If you’re already managing one plant-based meal a week, try switching to one plant-based meal a day.
5. Switch to a plant milk
Switching to a plant milk instead of drinking cows milk is a great way to reduce your environmental impact. “It is estimated that cows produce between 250 and 500 litres of methane a day” which all goes straight into our atmosphere. The best plant milk to switch to (and the one which tastes the most similar to cows milk) is oat milk. It has the lowest environmental impact, is easy to find in shops or make at home and tastes amazing.
6. Put plants in your home
Putting plants in your home is a great way to purify the air in your home and reduce your indoor pollution. Succulents are the easiest to keep alive and plants are also known to your improve your mood, so having them around is a great way to reduce stress (and pollution!).
7. Reduce meat and dairy
It’s no secret that meat and dairy consumption has a dramatic impact on the environment. “Meat, aquaculture, eggs, and dairy use 83% of the world’s farmland … despite providing only 37% of our protein and 18% of our calories”, it also contributes to around 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. You don’t need to completely cut meat and dairy out, but reducing your consumption of it will greatly help the environment (and your health).
8. Use public transport
Using public transport (and reducing your car and flight usage) is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. According to the Environmental Literacy Council, “Using public transportation is estimated to save over 1.4 billion gallons of gas and decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 million tons each year”. Trains are the best and lowest carbon emission emitting form of transport to use, so always aim to use public transport where you can.
9. Use a zero-waste shop
Using a zero-waste shop is a great way to bypass all of the disposable packaging found in your typical supermarket. By refilling containers with food, you’re eliminating the throw away packaging you would have had if you bought at a supermarket. My local zero-waste shop is The Clean Kilo, which I will be writing an article about in the upcoming weeks, so keep an eye out for that. Of course, buying at a zero-waste shop isn’t always possible, so when you do have to shop in a supermarket, try to go as plastic free as possible. A great way to do this is buying loose fruit and veg instead of pre-packaged ones.
10. Reduce the amount you buy
By reducing the amount you buy, you will be reducing the amount of stuff you then have to throw away. You can apply this to many aspects of your life including clothing (read my post on sustainable fashion here).
Not all of these tips may be possible for you to implement, but even adopting a few of things will be helpful in reducing your environmental impact. Let me know what you think!