10 Tips on How to be More Sustainable – By Senior Paraplanner, Rachel Naulls
It is becoming harder and harder to avoid the media and narrative that we need to do something to save our planet. Just by watching David Attenborough documentaries, such as Frozen Planet, we are seeing more and more images of the destruction taking place every day and it really tugs some heart strings.
Do you want to make a difference without committing a criminal act like camping on a bridge, or throwing soup over a Van Gogh painting? We’ve compiled a list of 10 tips on how to be more sustainable, to help you do your part this year!
We’re going to start with a classic! Reduce, reuse, recycle! It takes around 450 years for a single plastic bottle to decompose in a landfill site. And with the average UK adult using at least 3 plastic bottles a week, this adds up to a lot of time! Not just plastic but paper too. The decomposition time may be less, but if we don’t recycle paper, we will have to chop down more trees!
Not everything in that we throw away can be recycled, such as crisp packets, so make sure you check the label!
- Public transport and car sharing
A typical car emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. By car sharing or using public transport, we are reducing the amount of carbon that is emitted into the air by reducing the number of cars on the road. This could also have a knock-on effect of reducing the traffic which we would all love!
- Walk/ Cycle to work
With the above in mind, if you are within walking distance or cycling distance of work, maybe ditch the car all together and get those legs moving. Not only will it be good for you, but some companies, like IFP, have the cycle to work scheme. If that sounds interesting, make sure you check if your employer subscribes to the scheme.
- Gardening and planting trees
Greenhouses gases are gases in the earths atmosphere that trap heat. The sun shining during the day will heat up the earths surface. At night, when the earth cools, this heat is released into the air but is trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is one example of a greenhouse gas that is slowly warming our planet.
By planting more trees and leafy plants in our gardens, we are creating spaces that can help towards reducing the C02 in the atmosphere and producing more oxygen in return. Not only that but creating animal friendly gardens can help boost our nations wildlife populations, who doesn’t love seeing a hedgehog out in their garden?!
If you have some spare time, you could volunteer with a local environmental charity. Or grab yourself a litter picker, head to the nearest beach and do some picking! Studies have shown that the amount of litter on our nations beaches is reducing but that doesn’t mean the war is over. There is so much rubbish in the oceans, picking it off our beaches and making sure we don’t leave our own rubbish there, helps towards making our planet a cleaner place.
- Change your eating habits
Eating more fruit and vegetables instead of lots of meat, could help the environment, and your own health. If we reduce the amount of meat that we eat, this can help towards saving more water (large volumes of water are needed to produce animal feed) and reduces greenhouse gases which come from the animals themselves and transporting them etc. More and more land is being used by farmers who need space to raise the animals, reducing the biodiversity of the planet.
By not having meat with every main meal every day, we could help to reduce this enormous impact.
- Conserve water
We live in a rainy country however, that doesn’t mean we have an abundance of water. Hosepipe bans are becoming more commonplace, with the most recent one declared over by Yorkshire water on 6th December 2022! With all the rain we had in November, that’s a scary thought that we were still at risk of running out.
One idea that may help your gardens and the water supply, especially in summer, is to buy a water butt. You can then collect the rain and use this to water your gardens/ tend to any fruit or vegetables you may be growing. This should be cost effective too, even more so if you are on a meter.
Also, you could turn the tap off while you brush your teeth. Statistically, dependant on how long you brush your teeth for, you can waste between 2.5 and 7.5 litres of water each time you brush! Turning the taps off while you brush, alongside having shorter showers and flushing the toilet less often can help towards conserving water.
- Shop wisely/ local
Not only does it boost local economy, but shopping locally can also reduce your carbon footprint. Most of our produce in the supermarket now comes from abroad, and this needs to be transported on big ships or planes which produce a lot of carbon.
Having local or even national food sources helps to reduce this. Also, fun fact, eating local honey is good for reducing hay fever symptoms in the summer!
Another habit to get into if you want to make a difference is reducing the number of times you go to the shop. If you are travelling by car to and from the shops every day, this increases your own carbon footprint. Also, you are more likely to buy things you don’t need if you go every day, and spend more on average than if you go once with a list.
- Reduce your electric and gas usage
Reducing the amount of electric and gas you use daily will help towards reducing our overall fossil fuel consumption. Leaving appliances in standby mode still uses electricity therefore making sure you turn things off at the wall will help towards reducing your household carbon footprint.
- ESG investing
And finally, if you are doing your bit personally but you are not sure about how you can make your longer-term investments do good, there is ESG investing.
Before jumping in and investing we would always recommend that you seek financial planning advice if you are looking to invest in order to determine which is the correct investment for you and your needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us if this is something you are thinking about on 01482 219325 or email [email protected].