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With the BBC recently claiming that 2020 was the second hottest year in recorded history, it’s clear that we all need to start doing our bit if we are to save the planet from catastrophe. To really understand why the climate is changing so rapidly, we need to look at the actions of companies as well as our own actions. Deforestation, huge wastage and plastic pollution have all contributed to the current climate but fortunately there are ways we can combat this before it’s too late.
With that in mind, here’s over 10 sustainable living ideas to help us all change the way we live this year, for the better:
1. Ditch plastic items in your bathroom
It seems that plastic, despite being a terrible material for the environment, is all around us. Just take a look in your bathroom for examples. Plastic hand wash, plastic toothbrushes and even plastic soap dishes.
Whilst on the surface it may look like an impossible task to eliminate plastic from your bathroom, it’s actually pretty doable!
Companies like goBambu offer a host of plastic-free options for the bathroom including bamboo toothbrushes, soap and shampoo bars and also bamboo soap dishes.
2. Reuse your bags
Plastic bags, especially when it comes to food shopping, is one of the most common types of plastic to end up at landfills. As they’re made out of polyethylene, they require specialist recycling techniques and can’t be thrown in your curbside recycling bin.
Purchasing reusable bags made out of organic materials is often a good sustainable idea. For example, you could buy an organic produce bag and never have to use a plastic bag for your fruit and vegetables ever again!
3. Opt for vegan options
Going for vegan options of products when possible is not only sustainable for animals across the world but is also an ethical choice.
There are many products that have vegan alternatives including leather-based products, soaps and even candles. A quick Google for vegan alternatives will open up a world of sustainable ideas for you.
4. Buy into a circular economy
Ultimately, we’ll become more sustainable as a nation when we adopt a more circular economy. A circular economy is basically repurposing an item once you’re finished with it. A good example of this is dog leads made out of mountain climbing rope.
Mountain climbing rope is an incredibly strong material but once it’s worn out too much to hold a human from daring heights, it can be used as a dog lead and still do a great job! With the circular economy in mind, let’s move on to the next sustainable living idea…
5. Buy second hand clothes
Fast fashion is responsible for a surprising amount of carbon emissions. Whilst fashion brands push out new clothing lines at lightning speed, perfectly good, barely worn clothes can end up at the bottom of people’s outfit choices, perpetuating a vicious waste cycle.
Sites like Depop and Preloved are great places to buy high quality, second hand clothes, eliminating the need for new production.
6. Take shorter showers
Water wastage is a big problem in UK households and one of the easiest ways you can cut down on your own water consumption is by taking slightly shorter showers. Even taking 2 minutes less in the shower can amount to hundreds of litres saved over the course of the year.
7. Turn off your devices when you’re not using them
Both a sustainable living idea as well as a money saving idea – turning off your devices when you’re not using them ticks both boxes. UK households waste roughly 10% of their energy on devices that aren’t doing anything. This phantom energy could easily be reduced if we just turned our switches off.
8. Get on your bike
Quite literally, get on your bike. Motor transport is one of the most polluting activities in the UK so if you have a bike and your commute is short – use it!
9. Grow your own forest
OK, slow down. I don’t mean throw some seeds into your garden and wait for a thousand trees to grow.
By planting trees via organisations such as Ecologi or One Tree Planted you can create your own personal forest and in the process offset all of the emissions you’re personally responsible for. Talk about sustainable living!
10. Switch up your search engine
We all know Google are the undisputed kings of search – so much so that the word ‘Google’ can pretty much be used as a verb nowadays. There are greener alternatives however such as Ecosia. Ecosia uses their profits from advertising to plant trees so every time you search you could be having a positive impact on the environment.
11. Attempt to go meat-free
The UN has estimated that almost 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are related to the meat industry. By eating more veg and less meat you could be responsible for a big reduction in emissions. You don’t have to go all out vegetarian or vegan to have an impact. Even something like meatless Mondays can go a long way.
So there’s 11 sustainable living ideas you can start implementing from today. Don’t just limit yourself to these ideas though – think about other ways you can have a green impact in 2021. If you have some sustainability ideas, feel free to put them in the comment section!