Helping the environment and becoming more environmentally conscious is now a top priority. Governments and businesses are coming up with ways that they can reduce their carbon footprint, waste less, and make their practices more sustainable.
But we can help too.
Whether at home or at work, there are a range of ways that we can become ‘greener’ — whether with small, simple changes or bigger overall shifts.
Below are some of the top switches you can make to help the environment and have a more positive impact on the planet.
1. From Paper to Digital
Studies show that around 40% of the world’s commercially cut timber is used to produce paper. Not only is this harmful to the environment for the way it reduces forests and trees, but the used paper is often then burned — releasing yet more harmful carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
You can help by going ‘paperless’ — switching from paper to digital where possible, keeping copies or photographs of your important documents online, and only printing when absolutely necessary.
2. From Landfill to Recycling
Many people are trying to reduce their waste and recycle more of what they use. As food waste is especially likely to create harmful gas emissions, and accounts for a large proportion of waste overall, consider investing in a compost bin at home.
This can be an ideal way to make good use of unwanted leftovers and food scraps (and is also a great addition to a healthy garden).
You can also ensure that you are using your recycling bins as regularly as possible. Many councils offer recycling bins and have helpful leaflets to guide you how to recycle correctly and effectively.
When shopping or finishing with packaging, be sure to double check whether it can be recycled. This information is often included on packaging or shows a special symbol.
By recycling, reusing, and reducing your own waste at home, you will be helping to reduce landfill waste and the harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases that it emits overall.
3. From Meat to Plants
Making the switch from meat and dairy consumption to a more plant-based diet is one of the best ways we can help the environment. For some people, even just one meat-free day a week is helpful to both their health and the planet.
Vast amounts of land are destroyed to use for livestock farming, with the livestock themselves emitting greenhouse gases, and leaving massive amounts of waste and pollution that then needs to be correctly disposed of.
A predominantly plant-based diet has been shown to be more sustainable and beneficial for the environment.
4. From Toxic to Non-Toxic
Did you know that many of the most popular cleaning products found in the home are toxic? This is especially true of those that end up in water supplies or the ocean — such as those with tiny plastic particles known as microbeads.
Making the switch from harsh chemicals to non-toxic or natural products will still leave your home sparkling clean, but helps to avoid polluting water supplies. Chemicals and toxins that end up in the ocean also lower the oxygen levels for fish and plants, often harming or killing them.
Non-toxic products are not only safer for the environment, they are also safer to have around the home — especially if there are pets or children present.
Some of the most effective changes we can make for the environment — such as switching to more environmentally-friendly products — can all be done conveniently around the home.
5. From Petrol to Electric
If it possible for you, consider making the switch from a petrol or diesel car, to a more environmentally-friendly model. Electric and hybrid vehicles are much more sustainable for the planet, because they do not use massive amounts of fossil fuels.
They are also becoming more affordable, and may even be eligible for tax deductions and relief if used as a business or company car.
The benefits of an electric car may also go beyond the health of environment too. Studies also suggest that electric and hybrid cars are safer for the driver — helping to reduce the amount of harmful emissions that they inhale while driving.
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Whether you are making a big change or small switches, you can still have a positive impact on the environment and help the planet.
If everyone does something small, then the effect can be global — helping to protect the planet, improve your health, and make a difference for future generations.