The world has been enthralled in the words of teenage activist Greta Thunberg in recent months. Climate change is causing havoc to our planet in many ways: temperatures are rising, growing seasons for farmers are changing, there are more droughts, and hurricanes are stronger, to name a few. As Thunberg said at the World Economic Forum in Davos on 24 January 2019: “I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” So, how can we as a nation help the world become more environmentally friendly?
Each year in the UK, nearly 30 per cent of residents will spend up to £100 on new clothing. A quarter of us spend over £300, while one in 10 of us aren’t sure of our yearly outlay. It’s clear that we like new garments, but what do we do with those we are replacing? Unfortunately, the majority is ending up in landfill. Britons bin approximately 300,000 tonnes of textiles worth £12.5 billion each year.
Of course, this is damaging our environment. So why don’t you make money on your old clothes instead? There are many ways you can do this, including taking them to a clothing bank or passing them on via swap shops. Companies such as H&M have now also set up a recycling programme in which you can swap your unwanted clothes (they don’t even have to be from H&M) for vouchers to spend in store. This incentive is trying to eradicate the huge number currently making its way to landfill.
Cut out plastic
Plastic pollution is having a hugely negative effect on the world. It’s causing issues on land, waterways and oceans. According to the Guardian, there’s been approximately 8.3 billion tons of plastic produced since the 1950s, but only nine per cent has been recycled. This has led to the world as a whole trying to think of ways to combat the use of plastic — Kenya introduced a law so that those who are caught producing, selling or using plastic bags risk four years in prison or a hefty fine. However, closer to home, what can we do to cut out plastic? Many supermarkets have now introduced paper carrier bags, or bags for life. The plastic bag charge law was first introduced on 5 October 2015 and has contributed to reducing new carrier bags by over six billion since its introduction.
However, as well as re-using our carrier bags, we can also get our milk delivered to cut plastic usage. Previously, it was a common trait for us to receive our dairy from the milkman, but it somewhat fell by the wayside in the millennium. Now though, millennials are calling for their return to cut back on the plastic bottles. Currently, milk deliveries make up approximately three per cent of the UK’s milk sales, but this number is expected to rise in coming years and with it, will help cut out our plastic usage.
Other easy ways to cut plastic out of our daily life includes avoiding disposable cutlery with our lunches and using a reusable water bottle and coffee cup.
Look after your garden
For fans of gardening, it’s simple to be more sustainable. Garden equipment such as compost bins can help your garden and the environment. This is because composting helps save water, recycles organic resources, reduces the need for commercial fertilisers and conditioners, and helps control soil erosion.
Doing this can help you grow your own vegetables too. Growing goods such as cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes and leeks can help you cut your supermarket bill while also reducing the need for harmful plastic packaging.
Drive an electric vehicle
By 2040, the UK government plans to have rid our roads of new petrol and diesel vehicles. This is to make our roads zero emission zones. However, why wait until then to go electric? Currently, poor air quality is the biggest risk to the UK’s public health and is linked to approximately 40,000 premature deaths each year. Electric vehicles can help eliminate this. Since their invention over 100 years ago, electric vehicles have upgraded. Nowadays, there are thousands of charging ports, the vehicles stay charged for longer, and they are no longer far more expensive than their diesel and petrol competitors.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. As a nation, there is a lot more that we can be doing to try to protect our environment before it’s too late. Don’t leave it in other people’s hands — do what you can today.
We’re very proud to bring you this feature in association with Dobies and Suttons.
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