We all like to have and do nice things and go to nice places, but have you ever thought about the impact it is having on our planet?
Technology can help us fight climate change. Going digital helps to save paper and can help businesses to be more automated and efficient in how they operate. You can use your computer to take notes, conduct meetings, and attend conferences and training online to avoid travel. Always remember to turn off your device when not in use.
You can also search the internet using an eco-friendly browser. Ecosia search engine uses its profits to plant trees. So far users have raised enough money to plant over 125 million trees and counting. OCG is a similar free extension that uses the money advertisers pay to show you ads to clean up the oceans, rather than that money going to big tech companies.
Recycling is important. You can recycle lots of different materials – paper, cardboard, metals, aluminium, glass. Make sure you rinse items out and put them in the right bin otherwise it can lead to a whole batch of recycling being contaminated.
In the UK we discard 155,000 tonnes of electricals every year, instead of reusing or recycling them - this has a significant carbon footprint. Everything with a plug, battery or cable can be donated or recycled. Electricals contain precious materials that can be transformed into anything from children's playgrounds to life-saving equipment, even into new electronics.
Say no and reuse
Say no to plastic carrier bags, straws and other single-use items. Remember to take a reusable bag, bottle and coffee cup with you when you go out.
Instead of using disposable batteries, why not try rechargeable ones instead? Rechargeable batteries can save you money over time and are better for the environment as they create less waste.
By shopping locally, you have the opportunity to purchase locally produced items. When you shop at supermarkets many of the food items you buy travel over 1,500 miles to reach your plate. By cutting down on these products, you are reducing the environmental impact of your food.
Shop at natural food stores and farmers markets to reduce packing, shipping, and shelf-life issues and to get the qualities of freshness, nutrition and taste. When shopping locally, it may be easier to walk or cycle to get there – doing your bit to reduce air pollution, reduce traffic and improve the quality of our high streets.
Buy eco-friendly products
Eco-friendly products use sustainable materials that are less harmful to the environment for example bamboo, organic fabrics such as cotton and linen, recycled paper, stainless steel, recycled glass, sheep wool and oils, fats and butter. You can buy household items made from these types of materials such as toothbrushes, straws or natural soap.
Palm oil is a very common household ingredient that is having a devastating impact on the climate. It's in many products we use - from toiletries like shampoos and soap, to cereals and biscuits - and is cheap to make. It grows in tropical parts of the world and because of the high demand, rainforests are being cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. This is leading to biodiversity loss and destruction of the habitats of endangered species, including orangutans, tigers, elephants, and rhinos. Giving up products containing palm oil would reduce the impact it has on the environment.
Say no to fast-fashion retailers
An estimated £140 million worth of clothing is sent to landfills every year in the UK alone and fabrics take hundreds of years to decompose. The fast fashion industry plays a large part in this area. Because garments are cheap and on-trend they can be discarded after only a few wears. The production and distribution processes are major contributors to greenhouse gases, water and air pollution. The synthetic fibres that are used in clothes are also responsible for emissions.
You may consider spending a bit more on quality clothes that will last longer and are made from better materials.
Change delivery habits
More people are shopping online than ever before. Whilst convenient, it also means there are a lot more delivery vehicles on our roads that cause traffic, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Millions of missed deliveries every year mean lots of unnecessary, polluting journeys.
Think about having items delivered to a convenient central location like a shop or locker or choosing to bundle items together. Try to avoid having to return things if possible. Returns mean more vehicle journeys and sadly, not all items are resold - the time and labour needed to process them, means they may just be sent to landfill instead.
Invest your money ethically
Invest or save your money with an ethical bank or pension provider. Ethical providers don’t invest in commodities like fossil fuels or in businesses whose services might be considered harmful to society.