Most of you know all too well just how serious an issue climate change continues to be. Sea levels on the rise, water shortages being seen across the globe, and ice caps continually melting at an unprecedented rate. If something isn’t done about it soon, the world as we know it will become a very different place (even more different than what we’re seeing today as a result of the existing pandemic).
One of the most effective ways of combatting climate change comes through a simple changing of attitudes. If we all appreciate the fact climate change is actually happening and strive to do something about it, then we can make a huge difference.
And that’s where you come in. While it’s likely you’re already doing a number of things to improve your carbon footprint, each and every one of us can do a lot more to become sustainable. From reducing the amount of time we spend in the shower, to using reusable carrier bags at the supermarket, even the tiniest change can make the biggest impact.
Reducing our levels of waste can also make a vast difference. Current research shows UK households, on average, throw away approximately 6.6 million tonnes of waste each year – 70% of which is food that could have been eaten. Therefore, reducing this level of waste is absolutely imperative – but what can you do?
In this article, we take a detailed look at five effective ways you can cut down on waste and create a ‘zero waste lifestyle’. From eating ice cream to drinking coffee, let’s get started.
1. Coffee: Think Reusable.
If you can’t imagine life without coffee, don’t worry – we’re not here to tell you to give it up. Fairtrade coffees, in particular, are sustainably produced so are fine to drink, just try to compost any leftover coffee grounds where you can.
Then, instead of relying on disposable cups when you go out to visit Starbucks, Costa or whatever your favourite coffee chain is, take your own reusable mug instead. Find one you love, make it your best friend and work out ways to remind yourself to bring it with you. Placing notes in your car and setting reminders on your phone are two great places to start.
You can be even greener by opting to make your coffee at home using your own reusable mugs.
2. Meat: Think Less.
If you’re a big meat-eater, this may be hard to hear but it’s incredibly important. The meat and dairy industries are hugely responsible for the overwhelming levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Therefore, by cutting down on your meat intake, you will be sending a clear message to these industries that enough is enough. You can start by participating in Meatless Mondays and move on from there.
Likewise, if you plan on hosting a wedding, party or event in the future, try to make it as sustainable as possible. Buy local, reuse any leftovers and, when it comes to working with a caterer, ask them to create a menu that won’t cost either your morals, or the planet.
3. Packaging: Think Recyclable.
Plastic production not only contributes hugely to the amount of greenhouse gases continually pumped into the atmosphere, but it can also take years upon years to biodegrade once manufactured. Therefore, rather than throwing all your plastic goods and packaging straight into the bin, reuse or recycle them as much as you can instead.
Likewise, when it comes to buying food, try to purchase goods that come in recycled packaging. Tins, cans, glass jars and cardboard boxes can all be recycled fairly easily after they’ve been used, so opt for products sold in these forms.
4. Straws: Think Metal.
Ideally, try and avoid using a straw altogether. But, if you need to use one, make sure you choose reusable.
Plastic straws represent a huge issue globally, with statistics showing we use more than 500 million plastic straws each day. Many of these then end up ruining our oceans and destroying ocean wildlife, which obviously nobody wants. Therefore, buy your own foldable metal straw instead and reuse it whenever you need it.
5. Ice Cream: Think Cones.
As we’re on the theme of reducing the amount of plastic you use, when it comes to ice cream, opt for a cone instead of a cup or tub. Not only will you be doing your bit to save the planet, but you can also eat the cone as well, meaning there should be no waste at all. Talk about a guilt-free treat.