Have you made and broken your New Year Resolutions already? Did you vow to lose weight or learn a new language maybe? Well why not sign up for these Green Resolutions that are not only good for YOU but good for the PLANET.
Walk, run or cycle to work.
Not only is it better for the environment, but not using your car to for your morning commute will help you out on your resolution to lose weight. A brisk walk of more 30 minutes each day will lower your BMI and help to get rid of all those Christmas inches on your waist. Feeling fitter and healthier puts you in a good mood too! Many employers now operate a Cycle to Work scheme where you can get tax breaks to obtain cycles and safety equipment.
If you have to drive…..
Switch to petrol or even better an electric car. The UK Government’s Chief Medical Officer has said that diesel should be phased out to cut the tens of thousands of deaths caused each from air pollution Diesel cars emit more nitrous oxides (NOx), which can cause health problems for people who have lung and breathing problems. But petrol cars also emit higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). This has fewer immediate health risks than NOx but as it is a greenhouse gas this causes big problems for the environment as a whole. Air pollution contributes to at least 25,000 deaths in England each year through heart attacks and other respiratory diseases.
A greener alternative to using your own car is to join a car pool with colleagues from work. There are also a number of ride-sharing apps that you can sign up to like BlaBlaCar or UberPool which is a taxi service that matches up people travelling the same way and is hoped to launch in London by the end of this year.
Reduce the amount of meat you eat
There is growing evidence that the amount of meat we eat has a direct effect on the environment as it takes the same amount of energy to produce 1kg of meat as it does for 3-10kg of vegetables. According to the Vegan Society, their numbers have doubled from 150,000 to 300,000 in the last 9 years. It is now estimated that around 12% of Britons now follow a meat free diet. However, if you can’t give up meat completely, you can cut back on your meat consumption for a few days a week and try some alternative vegetarian meals instead.
Grow your own!!!
Growing, transporting, packaging food together with clearing the land for growing, accounts for as much as 30% of Britain’s carbon footprint. And there is a certain satisfaction in eating something you have grown yourself isn’t there? You only need a small patch in your back garden.
Take your own bag to the supermarket
In October 2015 the UK Government introduced a compulsory 5p charge for single use plastic bags. Since then the number used have fallen by an estimated 85%. In the first 6 months usage fell from more than 7 billion a year to less than half a billion. This was a saving of almost 41,000 tons of plastic – roughly 300 blue whales. It just needs a bit of planning to make sure you keep your own shopping bag handy in your bag or your car’s glove compartment.
Choose your cosmetics wisely
Microbeads are now in lots of everyday products like face and body scrubs. It is hoped that these will be banned by the end of this year under new Government proposals. The beads get flushed into rivers and oceans in their billions with an estimated 86 tons in the UK alone each year just from facial exfoliants. If you add these to the plastic bags that also end up in rivers and oceans and over time, gradually break down into microplastics you end up with a real danger to marine creatures and birds who end up eating the microplastics which causes damage to them as they are not able to digest them but can also end up as part of our food chain.
Morning Coffee and Afternoon Tea
When you fill the kettle to make your tea or coffee, only fill the kettle with enough water for your immediate use. Most kettles nowadays have a gauge showing how full it is and you will cut down on the amount of energy used to boil and reboil water
If you use coffee pods, make sure you recycle them – don’t just throw them with the general trash that ends up in landfill. The UK spending on coffee pods rose by more than 30% in 2015 when we drank £109m worth. If buy your coffee in a carton to go, make sure you recycle this also. Last year, fewer than 1 in 400 high street coffee chain cups were recycled. Starbucks even announced that it would offer customers who bring their own coffee cups a 50p discount.
Turn your home green
There are many greener, natural alternatives to chemical cleaning products. Here are a few
- Kitchen surface stain remover – make a paste from salt, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda. This will leave a natural “lemon fresh” scent also.
- Toilet cleaner – Use a can of cola to clean your toilet – YES REALLY!!! The drink contains carbonic, citric and phosphoric acids which are often found in household cleaning products. Leave the liquid to sit in the basin for an hour, then use a brush to clean and flush away. You can also use vinegar as an alternative as it works in a similar way.
- Wood polish – heat grated beeswax, lanolin, sweet almond oil and lavender essential oil in a pan then leave it to cool. Clean wood floors with a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar.
- Removing limescale – put 1/4 pint of vinegar in the kettle, fill up with water, bring to the boil and leave it overnight. The next morning rinse out well and fill, boil and discard the water twice before drinking. You can remove the limescale encrusted on taps if you soak a cloth in vinegar and wrap it round the taps and leave for an hour. Just wipe with a damp cloth after.
- Cut your fuel bills (and help to save the Planet) by being fuel efficient. A cheap way to do this is to invest in some draught-proofing keeping those icy winter chills at bay. You might also get some thicker curtains which you should make sure are drawn at night to help keep you cosy. Some of the more expensive ways would be to consider getting a new boiler, loft or wall insulation and even solar panels. There are many grants available to help with insulation depending on the age and type of property you have.
We hope we have given you a few ideas on how to make this year a Greener Year We would like to know if YOU have any tips to share with us. Please comment below.