If you’re looking to help the environment but aren’t sure where to start then my advice is to always start small, as small steps often lead on to bigger steps. If you’re starting out, then I’ve put together five really easy ways to help the environment at home, that you can do in your lunch hour.
5 Easy Ways to Help the Environment at Home
While action on climate change rests more on the shoulders of politicians to come to agreements to limit the amount of carbon that is released into our atmosphere. Them, and on the 100 companies responsible for 71% of carbon emissions, I’m of the belief that small actions by individuals do matter.
In fact, if as many people as possible make more environmentally conscious choices, we can help affect change, and put pressure on the government and companies. Pressure that will pay dividends in the long run.
Below are a few ways you can make small eco-friendly adjustments to your lifestyle that could have a big impact on the environment:
1. Change Your Default Internet Search Engine
One easy way to help the environment by doing what you already do is to change your default internet search engine to Ecosia.
Ecosia uses over 80% of the profits generated from web searches to plant trees where they are needed most. For example, in Borneo Ecosia is helping to plant different productive tree species to reduce the area’s economic dependence on palm oil. Widespread deforestation in the area due to the palm oil trade is threatening the orangutan’s habitat in the area. However, you can help support this great conservation project just by searching the internet!
2. Download a Food Waste App
Olio, available on both IOS and Android, is a great (free) app that you can download to connect with your local community.
Got a jar or packet in the back of your food cupboard that you’re not going to eat but is still in date? Don’t bin it – list it on Olio to see if someone in your local area wants it for free. Peckish but no food in the fridge? See what’s going on Olio in your area. Shops and cafes can even join to help distribute leftover food at the end of the day to help prevent food waste.
If food waste was a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world. It would be just behind China and the USA. Taking small steps to reduce food waste where we can is vital, but thankfully Olio makes it easy.
3. Switch to a renewable energy provider
One easy way to help the environment at home is to switch to a renewable energy provider. There are heaps of renewable energy providers out there offering 100% renewable electricity, such as Good Energy, Ovo, Bulb, and more. We’re on the 100% renewable electricity package with Ovo, and the price difference when we switched from our tariff with one of the big six energy companies was minimal. Switching is quick and easy, and you’ll help increase the appetite for renewable energy in the UK.
It’s important to bear in mind that when you switch to a green electricity supplier, the electricity that comes into your home still comes from the national grid. It doesn’t affect the actual power, and the power in your home will not be 100% green.
The one thing it does affect is where the electricity on the national grid comes from. If you have a 100% renewable tariff your supplier has to match the power you have used by putting the same amount of renewable energy back into the national grid. So by taking a few minutes out to switch to a green energy supplier you’re making a big difference to the environment without changing your behaviour.
4. Tweet Retailers asking them to make a change
Another one of the easiest ways to help the environment is to use your consumer power and help encourage companies to make positive changes.
Plastic Bank, for example, pays people in developing countries a fair wage to collect washed-up plastic on beaches. That plastic is then recycled into high-grade Social Plastic, which is then resold. You can help them by tweeting companies such as Unilever and Coca-Cola to encourage them to use eco-friendly Social Plastic in their products.
Meanwhile, Fashion Revolution calls on consumers to tweet clothing companies to ask “who made my clothes”. This is to encourage retailers to be more transparent with where their clothes are made and in what conditions.
Pick the cause closest to your heart and tweet away!
5. Download an ethical fashion tool
Downloading a browser extension on your computer can help you find ethical alternatives to the products you are looking to buy online. These extensions work away in the background, so all you have to do is search the web, and browse online shops, just like you always have done. If the extension comes up with an alternative to what you are looking at, it lets you know if there is a more ethical choice on the side of your screen. It’s ethical shopping made easy.
Do you have any easy ways to help the environment? What are your top tips for people starting out?
ps: here are some eco-friendly lunch supplies if you’re looking to green your lunch break!