When we think of environmental issues, it’s easy to consider them as the Government’s problem or something we’re not able to change by ourselves. How often have you heard, “I’m just one person, what could I possibly do?” It is completely understandable to feel helpless or unable to make a difference. However, we’re here to tell you that you can!
Believe it or not, there are so many small things you can do which compound into making a huge difference. And, if everyone does their bit, the impact is exponentially great. In this article, we will give you a few fantastically easy ways to support the environment and reduce your footprint on the planet.
Why The Environment Is Important
As we humans have developed, we have changed the face of this planet. In some cases, we have damaged it permanently. In others, the damage is still reversible. When you see stats from EcoFreek Blog that show how much non-biodegradable waste is placed into landfills every year, you start to see the issue. Take the UK, for example. In the UK, over 26 million tonnes of waste are produced per year, of which 55-60% end up in landfill sites. This means 14 million tonnes of waste is dumped every year, the equivalent of 1,200x the weight of the UK’s tallest building, The Shard.
Aside from this, we also produce tonnes and tonnes of carbon dioxide waste, as well as other chemicals and gasses that are released into the atmosphere. These gasses are created as by-products of manufacturing, travel, and farming processes, amongst others. These gasses are slowly damaging our ozone layer and heating up the planet, almost to the point of no return, leading to ice caps melting, sea levels rising, and deserts becoming hotter than ever.
So, what can we do to reduce our landfill and gas waste?
Don’t Buy Single-Use Plastics
Plastic is everywhere. The problem with most plastics – especially the ones most commonly used – is that they do not biodegrade. They may break apart over time, but they almost never rot or degrade. Plastics will stay in their plastic form for hundreds or thousands of years. This leads to overflowing landfill sites, full of materials that are never going to erode, and an ocean absolutely packed with plastic waste. There is so much plastic in the oceans it’s starting to have grave consequences for marine life.
The absolute best thing you can do to help reduce landfill and ocean waste is to stop buying or using single-use plastics. For example, it’s incredibly easy to visit the supermarket with a backpack or tote bag. This way, you’ll not have to grab a plastic bag at the till. Another simple plastic-reducing tip is to buy your own reusable water bottle. Filling it up at clean drinking water fountains or taps will stop you from buying plastic bottles on your daily travels, therefore reducing the number of plastic bottles potentially ending up bobbing around in the ocean.
Shop Locally For Food
Did you know that lots of food on your local supermarket shelf has traveled thousands of miles to be there? Fruits grown in the southern hemisphere may make a couple of stops en route to your local store, usually via plane. This is hugely damaging for the environment and is often referred to as ‘Food Miles.’ Why are food miles important? Well, the further an item has traveled to be with you, the more carbon emissions have been pumped into the air, as well as more fossil fuels being used for planes and ships. This contributes to the damaging effects of global warming.
However, if you choose to shop locally, you could reduce your food miles by literally tens of thousands…per week! Simply buying your weekly fruit and veg from a local market instead of from a superstore where it’s flown from all around the country or globe means you are cutting all those transport miles. The more people that choose to shop locally, the fewer flights and freights required to ship food.
Recycle and Re-use
25 years ago, we barely knew what recycling was. Now, almost every home in the developed world has a recycling bin. However, simply looking at our figures from the UK earlier, you can see we are still a long way off. We still throw away at least half of our waste, of which an estimated 85% is now recyclable. If you don’t already, take a look at the back of every product before you chuck it. Often, it will say how recyclable it is. If it is, separate it and put it in recycling. There really are very few items nowadays that cannot be recycled. If you find any that aren’t recyclable, simply don’t use them again.
Travel By Foot
We have mentioned our carbon emissions a few times now. One of the biggest contributors to gas emissions is transportation. Our advice for reducing your carbon footprint is to travel on foot. Walking, cycling, or any other human-propelled mode of transport is far better than jumping in a car or on a bus. Obviously, if you live 30 miles from the nearest town, you might need to drive sometimes! But, for those of us who can, we really should be walking. There is no need to fire up the car’s engine for a 3-minute drive to a restaurant, bar, ATM, or workplace. Walking does the environment good as well as helping improve physical health, so why not walk to work?
Share Your Knowledge
Doing these things is a huge help to the environment, but, as we mentioned earlier, you may not feel like you’re making enough impact. If that’s the case, why not share your knowledge? Telling people about the great things you are doing for the environment might help them realize how simple it is. It might inspire friends, family, children, colleagues, or anyone else we meet, for that matter, to make small changes. If a lot of people make small changes, the overall difference to the environment will be huge.
Take these suggestions on board and try to do a little better for the environment. After all, we only have one planet and one chance to look after it. Let’s do it right.
WRITTEN BYDaria Brown