Think of the last time you went swimming in the ocean or the sea. Your memories of aquatic adventures are probably associated with clear waters, blue skies and soaking up the natural beauty of your surroundings. Now imagine the same scenario, except this time you have are surrounded by trash. You’re trying to enjoy the swim, only to be met with hundreds of plastic bottles, plastic bags and plastic wraps.
The scary thing is, this isn’t some far-off, dystopian vision - the plastic garbage soup scenario is very real and getting worse by the year. The equivalent of 136 billion milk jugs ends up in the ocean each year, a study published in the journal Science found. Not only is the plastic waste accumulating on our shores a real eye sore, it is also dangerous. Plastic waste is a hazard to wildlife that gets tangled up in the trash or accidentally ingests it.
And it’s not just plastic that’s causing great harm to our planet. Waste - no matter the source - is a no-no. With environmental costs of overconsumption at an all-time high, it’s our duty to priority to get it together and start helping our planet.
Here’s 6 tips on helping you reduce your negative impact on the planet:
Unfortunately, plastic is almost in everything we buy. Be mindful of over-consuming products with a lot of packaging, bathroom essentials, shampoos, toothbrushes and shower gels - all of which come with ample plastic. There’s plenty of alternative green options on the market, so spend some time shopping around. Pay attention to less obvious sources, like straws, supermarket bags and cling film. And remember: there’s always a greener alternative to plastic.
You might not want to hear this, but there’s no other way around it: flying is really, really bad for the planet. Going on one summer holiday alone wipes out the benefits of 20 years of recycling. Can’t quit travel? Make a conscious effort to reduce the number of flights you take, and try to opt for travelling by train.
There is an overwhelming need for us to conserve energy. Best of all, it doesn’t require a monumental effort on your behalf. It’s as simple as unplugging your appliances when they’re not in use and buying appliances with good energy ratings. If you want to take your environmentally conscious efforts further, you should choose energy efficient washing machines and fridges, insulating your roof and using less hot water. Make sure all your lighting is LED efficient. And, the biggest impact you can have overall on your energy saving is by switching to a green energy supplier.
We’re all guilty of being lured by ‘one-off’ offers, cheap bulk deals and low prices. But the thing about buying cheaper goods is that they’re usually poor in quality. And when they’re poor in quality, they break. And when they break, they obviously need replacing. Ad infinitum. The solution? Invest in higher quality products - clothes, electronics, cars, household essentials - and reuse them as much as you can. It might seem silly and overpriced to pay £12 for a reusable cup, but if you think about the money you’re saving by not buying plastic bottles, and the benefits of not using plastic, it makes a lot of sense. Another nifty way to reduce your waste is to hire things you don’t use on a regular basis. This can be anything from barbecues to tents to air conditioners and fans. Not only will this help save you money, but you will also have the benefit of using top-of-the-range products without worrying about your carbon footprint. Rentuu is a fantastic option for the eco-conscious customer, as it allows you to hire products from the most trusted brands, for as little or as long as you need them.
Research led by Oxford Martin School found that eating less meat or cutting it out altogether will reduce food emissions by 63%. The demand for meat has a direct impact on soaring greenhouse gas emissions, and the most effective to help curtail this growing problem is to adopt a plant-based diet. If you’re just too big a fan of meat, start by cutting down the red meats first - beef’s environmental impact dwarfs that of other meat, including chicken and pork. The added benefit of a more vegetarian based diet is that it’s really good for you, too.