Today is World Environment Day, a celebration that takes place every June 5 across the globe.
One of the biggest events organised by the United Nations, today’s celebrations are designed to generate awareness for the natural world.
It was established in 1972 at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, and was first hosted by the United States in 1974 with the theme ‘only one Earth’.
The theme for 2021 is ‘Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.’, and will be hosted by Pakistan.
To mark the occasion, here are some small changes you can make in your life that can help protect the environment.
15 small changes you should make to help protect the environment
We all want to protect the planet we live on, but sometimes ‘saving the world’ can seem like such a chore.
It’s easy to believe one person’s efforts don’t matter, but if we all made some small changes we could make a huge difference.
Create a compost pile
You don’t have to live on a farm or in the country to have a compost pile.
Composting means recycling the nutrients from our food waste back into the ecosystem through enriching soil and keeping food out of landfills.
You can compost fruit and veg waste, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells and even egg boxes.
If you don’t have a lot of space, some communities have local composting programmes or you can even start an indoor composting system.
Restore your own furnishings
This may sounds like a big task, but it cna be surprisingly easy to make repairs to your own furniture, reducing your need to sne dcertain pieces to landfill.
Some 22 million tons of furniture is thrown out each year, which largely ends up in landfill – that’s a lot of rubbish!
You can check out our piece on three easy furniture upcycling hacks to update your home that can help you make your home a more sustainable palce.
Bring Your Own Bag.
Plastic bags have three times the greenhouse gas impact of reusable bags.
If you feel that your plastic bag makes no difference check out the floating plastic rubbish dump known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that is circling our oceans and threatening marine life.
Invest in sustainable fashion and beauty products
The fashion and beauty world is always coming up with new eco-friendly approach, incorporating sustainability into everything from skincare to shoes.
From major brands like Levi’s to smaller independent stores, it has never been easier to invest in sustainable fashion.
From stylish shoes to cosy jumpers, skincare products, and clothes rental services like My Wardrobe HQ, there are plenty of ways you can make more environmentally friendly style decisions.
Check out our piece on some of our favourite environmentally-friendly fashion and beauty picks to start making greener choices today.
Change your light
‘Lighting accounts for 18% of a typical household’s electricity bill. You can cut your lighting bill and energy use by changing which bulbs you use and how you use them’, says the Energy Saving Trust.
It’s said that if every person in the UK replaced just three light bulbs, enough energy would be saved to light the UK’s street lamps.
And turn off your lights when not in use to save money.
Leave your car at home
In many countries, even short journeys which could often be made on foot or by bike are usually made by car. In England, for instance, around 60% of 1-2 mile trips are made by car.
Reducing the amount of times you hop in the car will help to lessen your carbon footprint, due to the lowering of the emissions you will be releasing.
Combining your errands, walking, cycling, or using public transport can all make a massive difference.
Turn off computers at night
Turn off computers, TVs, and other electrical items overnight instead of leaving them on standby to save money and energy.
Recycle mobile phones
Green Redeem UK says ‘Mobile phones contain enough lead to qualify as hazardous waste, so it’s really important that old handsets or batteries never end up in our normal rubbish bins.
‘If you recycle a mobile phone correctly, all those potentially dangerous materials can be safely extracted and reused.’
To avoid them heading for landfill, you can donate them to charity, trade them in, or use an online phone recycling company.
Clean the back of your fridge
According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), a dirty condenser coil can increase condenser energy consumption by 30%.
So get cleaning! You might even find some lost items and spare change behind there.
Most unwanted materials can be traditionally recycled.
But if you have children, that junk can be a whole new set of toys. Old paper can be used to draw on and waste boxes and packaging can become anything.
Let their and your imagination run wild, and see just what you can make of everyday items and packaging at home!
Most councils collect recyclable waste along with household waste, it is simply a matter of separating your rubbish.
If you don’t have recycling collection, find your local tip or recycling centre. It is worth collecting a few bags at a time to make the trip worthwhile.
Glass, cans, plastic, fabric, paper, cardboard and so much more can be easily recycled. Unwanted clothes, toys and household goods can be given to charity or sold online or at a car boot to make some cash.
Maintain your car
Underinflated tyres decrease fuel economy by up to three percent and lead to increased pollution and higher greenhouse gas emissions.
Keep on top of the small jobs to make your car journeys easier on your pocket and the environment.
And ditch the weight – the heavier your car, the harder it has to work, so clear out all the junk hanging about in the boot.
We recommend you take a look at the AA’s tips for eco-driving.
Go vegan – at least once a week
Meat production is extremely resource-intensive. If you gave it up just once a week, you would save the 840 gallons of freshwater it takes to produce a single serving.
If everyone in the UK swapped just one more red meat-based meal to a plant-based one per week, we’d cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 million tonnes. That’s the equivalent of taking 16 million cars off the road.
Going vegan, even for just one day a week, can go a long way.
There are plenty of delicious vegan recipes out there for you to treat your tastebuds to, so why not find out just how varied and flavourful a meatless diet can be?
Water, water everywhere
Turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, shower instead of bathe and don’t leave the water running while washing the pots.
Home maintenance is vital too – if you have a leaky loo you might be wasting 200 gallons of water a day.
Think twice before throwing anything into a bin – what you are chucking out will end up in landfill.
Can it be recycled, can it be reused, can it be upcycled, can it be fixed?
There are some great community projects such as Repair Sheffield who promote mending and reimagining products and can teach you how to fix your own broken home items.
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