As a society, we are becoming more environmentally aware, which isn’t surprising when you consider that our daily dose of news is often saturated with stories of climate change, carbon footprints, sustainability and other environmental issues.
Digesting this wealth of information can feel a little overwhelming and it’s hard to grasp exactly what you, as an individual, can do to make a real difference to the environment. But there are small changes you can make to reduce your environmental impact that, if we all strive towards them, will ultimately have a significant long-term effect. In this post, we’ll be looking at six simple switches you can make in your everyday life to have a more positive impact on the environment.
1. Switch lights off and unplug appliances
We’ve all been guilty of leaving lights on when we exit a room, but it’s incredible the amount of energy you can save by switching them off - even if you turn them back on again a few minutes later. The myth that lights use more energy when you turn them on and off than if you leave them illuminated is exactly that - a myth! Similarly, it’s a good idea to switch off and unplug appliances, such as TVs, computers and chargers that can still draw ‘stand-by’ energy, even when they’re not in use.
2. Switch to buying biodegradable products
With landfills fit to burst with non-biodegradable rubbish, it makes sense to review the types of packaging you purchase when it comes to everyday products. These daily essentials can easily be switched out for biodegradable alternatives that will have a positive environmental impact, including everything from compostable Nespresso-compatible coffee pods to cleaning products.
3. Switch to natural skin care
Many modern skin care products contain harsh chemicals that have a harmful effect on the environment. One ingredient to avoid is microbeads, which are tiny plastic particles often used in exfoliators, shower gels and toothpastes. When washed down the drain, microbeads end up in marine habitats where they absorb toxins and pollute the food chain. The UK government is set to ban the sale and manufacture of rinse off cosmetic products containing microbeads in 2018.
Switch to exfoliating products containing natural ingredients rather than plastic. You can also make an impact by ditching skin care products with artificial chemicals that can contaminate waterways, and trading these for products that are produced ethically and use organic, natural ingredients - such as Green People’s organic shower gels and shampoos.
4. Switch to LED light bulbs
As well as switching off your lights, the type of light bulbs you use in your home will make a big difference to the amount of energy you consume in your home. LED lights are the perfect solution to reducing your carbon footprint, as they not only use far less energy to illuminate, but also last considerably longer. The initial expense of buying a more expensive light bulb will pale in comparison to the environmental impact of using less energy and generating less waste from used light bulbs.
5. Switch to buying local produce
Living on an island with a temperate climate, it’s inevitable that there’ll be certain products imported from abroad, particularly in a consumer environment with a thirst for exotic items. Where possible, try buying locally grown and organically produced products, such as fruit, veg and meat. This will translate to a lower carbon footprint, as the transportation from door to door is dramatically reduced and organic production methods are generally more environmentally friendly.
6. Switch to walking or cycling for short journeys
There are reasons galore to trade in your car and use your own two feet to get from A to B - not least that walking or cycling for shorter journeys will help you to stay active and improve your overall health. But from an environmental perspective, using your car less will also help to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and harmful emissions pumped out into the atmosphere.
By making just a few small and simple changes to your daily routine, you can easily reduce your environmental impact and take positive steps towards helping to preserve the future of our beautiful planet.