Being More Environmentally Friendly - Household and Personal Edition
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Many people believe that being environmentally friendly is an additional hinderance and don't take the time to recycle, buy reusable products, or even switch off lights when not in use. Yet small, simple steps like these can have massive impacts on lots of different things. This article is a simple list of tips of how you can be more environmentally friendly, and how it benefits our planet. 1. Switch off lights and appliances when not in use Probably the most simple step to being more environmentally friendly. Although a small step, it is worth getting into the habit of switching off lights any appliances such as TV'S, radios, chargers etc off at the mains when they are not in use. Not only does switching appliances off save you money on your bills, but it reduces the CO2 emissions generated from the production of energy and electricity. Many lightbulbs lose energy as around 90% of it is wasted in heat production. Buy energy-efficient lightbulbs such as halogen incandescents. It is now believed that by simply switching off electrical appliances and lights has a significant effect in reducing emissions. However, the same works in reverse. So by simply leaving lights on or leaving the TV just on standby, it is contributing to these high emissions more than you think. 2. Use cooler washing cycles and hang out washing as often as possible Just by washing clothes at a low temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, you're using around 40% less energy. Nowadays, there are many brands of detergents specifically designed to work well at low temperatures, giving your clothes just as effective wash. Saving energy reduces your bills and helps the planet, what's not to love! Also, hang your clothes out whenever it's dry, it doesn't need to be sunny. If you're from Scotland I get that this is a bit more difficult to do as the weather has a mind of its own, so why not consider a clothes airer? Yes, it takes longer to dry but if you're not needing them in a hurry, take the initiative and just leave them to dry. 3. Buy a reusable water bottle Did you know a plastic bottle takes up to 1,000 years to break down? As it breaks down, it releases harmful chemicals into water supplies, killing marine life and potentially affecting the health of those higher up in the food chain. Every single DAY, around 8 million pieces of plastic pollution finds its way to our oceans. For every mile of UK beach, there is pollution of over 150 plastic bottles. The Ordnance Survey, the mapping authority for Great Britain, records the coastline as 11,073 miles. Do some maths and that's 1,660,950 plastic water bottles polluting UK beaches alone. The average human needs to drink the equivalent of 4 water bottle sizes of water a day, so if you purchased a reusable water bottle, you'd save a massive 1,460 bottles a year and you'd save yourself money. If every day you bought a £2 bottle of juice/water you'd have spent £730 by the end of the year! It is also believed by many that drinking from cheap plastic bottles frequently can have serious consequences for our health. Not only that, if you switch to a reusable water bottle you'd stick to water or juice, avoiding soft drinks which in turn benefits your oral and general health. 4. Don't litter! To put it bluntly, I believe if you litter you are inconsiderate. My dad and my granny brought me up recycling and always taking my rubbish home with me if no bins were available. By littering, you may end up causing harm or death to animals. My guess is that because people do not see these harmful things happen they do not care, out of sight out of mind type of thing. Why throw littler out your car when you're on you're way home/to work/ a friend's house, where there's a bin? It costs tax payers money to clear it up!
5. Try having one meat/dairy free day a week
Or if you're really committed to the cause, go veggie/vegan!
To produce 1k of beef, 15,415 litres of water is required, 10,412 litres for 1k of any sheep meat, 17,196 litres for 1k of chocolate, 5,988 litres for 1k of pork and 4,325 litres for 1k of chicken. For vegan products- 214 litres are required for 1k of tomatoes, around 400 litres for 1k of wheat, 287 litres for 1k of potatoes, 1,608 litres for 1k of bread, 1,849 litres for 1k of pasta and 2,497 litres for 1k of rice. On average 4,000 gallons (roughly 15,142 litres) is required per day for a typical meat eater, whereas for a typical vegan only 300 gallons (roughly 1,364 litres) is required daily. Fun fact: you save more by not eating a pound of meat than you do by not showering for 6 months. SIX MONTHS!!! Not only this but the meat, egg and dairy industries account for roughly 65% of the world's nitrous oxide emissions. This gas is 300 times more potent as a climate change gas than carbon dioxide is. Also, consider this, where is all the faeces of the 21.4 billion animals used for food going? Into pond like areas known as lagoons which can eventually flood into our lakes and rivers, polluting them and water supplies.
6. Buy local/animal friendly Visit local farms and buy their products rather than contribute to mass production industries where the animals are treated beyond inhumanely. Not only are you avoiding funding inhumane mass production, you're supporting your local community. Their products will no doubt be more organic and taste better! Make sure you buy animal friendly products such as dolphin friendly tuna. Under the law, “dolphin safe” means that no canned tuna can carry this label if dolphins were chased, encircled, or killed. For fishing companies to gain this dolphin friendly label all fishing captains have to be trained and confirm that none of their fishing gear will injure or kill any dolphins. 7. Use reusable shopping bags, avoid plastic ones Animals eat food wrappers, including plastic bags which ends up leading to digestive problems, often resulting in death. Buy reusable shopping bags for a mere £1 and not only will you save money, you'll save animals! It is estimated that around 100 million marine animals alone - so not including land animals - are killed per YEAR by plastic waste. With this number so high, it is more than likely that anyone who uses plastic products in some way contributes to this sickening statistic. Take a small step in reducing this plastic waste, Forgetful like me? Leave reusable bags in the front seat of your car, glovebox, jacket pocket, handbag etc. Be more aware of the problems plastics cause and you won't forget your own bags next time. Even continually reuse the plastic ones you've bought and when they've worn out, responsibly recycle them at recycling drop-off locations. Many supermarkets now have plastic bag drop off points.
8. Other tips > Wrap gifts in last years paper, fabric, newspaper, and other recycled or reusable materials. Wrapping is binned as soon as the present is opened so why waste so much paper? > Start a compost heap. Put any food scraps and garden waste to good use while cutting down on greenhouse gases released from landfill sites. My grandad has a compost heap and he uses it in his greenhouse to grow his own vegetables. > Borrow books at your library or buy second hand ones. Uni textbooks are extortionate and many students only have them for a year. Rather than buy a new one, buy a cheaper second hand one, many students look after their textbooks and new ones end up scuffed in bags easily enough anyway. Also sell your own at the end of your semesters if they're no longer needed. > Buy rechargeable batteries and learn how to dispose of old ones properly. Many supermarkets such as Tesco have battery recycling points where you can dump your old ones. > Make sure your home is properly sealed and insulated. This saves energy and money by leaving the heating off. > Use paper matches rather than lighters; 1.5 billion plastic lighters end up in landfill sites each year. > Avoid foods wrapped in single use plastic or un-recycable material. If you are buying fruit and veg, buy the loose ones rather than those in plastic wrap. If everyone avoids plastic wrapped fruit/veg, supermarkets and shops will have no choice but to do away with it. It is completely unnecessary waste. > Get the word out! Make saving the planet everyday conversation so that being environmentally friendly begins to become second nature. Email email email big companies/supermarkets/anyone you can think of that has a damaging affect on the environment. Demand they change their ways or they'll lose valuable customers!