Living a greener life is becoming more important every year, and it's also becoming more achievable and affordable to implement. There are plenty of small changes everyone can make to live a more sustainable life every day and there are so many alternative products that you can switch to that won't have a detrimental impact on the planet. Stay tuned because today you're going to learn to become more sustainable and discover some clever eco-friendly alternatives so you can become an eco-warrior.
What On Earth Is Earth Day?
The very first Earth Day was introduced by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970. His idea for Earth Day was inspired by the catastrophic oil spillage that happened in California in 1969. The senator was concerned that the issues with our environment weren't being addressed in the media and so Earth Day was introduced to raise awareness. Earth Day is supported by 1 billion individuals who are ready to make a change and they work with over 150,000 global partners who are dedicated to make a positive impact on our planet.
Our environment is under increasing pressure every year; pollution, deforestation, global warming, waste disposal, biodiversity loss is devastating our planet. Quite simply, humans are using so much of nature’s resources that nature itself is now struggling to support us. The pressure we've put on the planet is starting to show with studies suggesting that the Earth is getting warmer due to human activity, it's time to put our planet first and make the changes our environment needs.
So Where Do We Begin to Fix Things?
At Bother, we believe that big change needs to come from big businesses and governments which is why this year's Earth Day theme "Invest in our Planet" feels particularly prevalent. But we also understand that everyone wants to do their bit so here are some simple changes anyone can make to kickstart your journey to more sustainable living.
Reduce Your Plastic Consumption
Plastic is everywhere, an estimated five million tonnes of plastic is being consumed every year in the UK and it's ending up in all the wrong places. It goes to landfill sites where it takes anywhere from 20 - 500 years to decompose, and it finds its way into our oceans where it causes harm to marine life. A lot of this this plastic waste is contributing to mass amounts of global warming because the chemicals needed to make plastic use large amounts of oil and coal, which are making our planet warmer and contributing to air pollution.
Thankfully, cutting back on plastic isn't as difficult as you might think because there are a number of everyday plastic-free products that you can switch to. Take these Natural Family Biodegradable Toothbrushes for example, they're just as good as a normal toothbrush but they've been made using cornstarch and recyclable nylon bristles, which means when the time comes to get rid of them, they'll decompose faster than a plastic toothbrush.
Another sustainable swap that you can make is switching your laundry detergent bottles for the Ecoegg. Although it's made from BPA free plastic, the Ecoegg is a reusable solution that will last you up to 70 washes at a time. You just need to top the egg up with the refill pellets which are free from micro plastics. Using the Ecoegg can save you from buying up to 40 plastic bottles every year - it's a great way to cut back on single-use plastic!
To cut back on your plastic consumption, it’s a good idea to start shopping locally rather than at the supermarket. You’ll be surprised to know that 50% of unrecyclable plastic waste comes from food wrapping in supermarkets, whereas at a local grocery you won’t find all this unnecessary plastic packaging.
Opt For Homegrown Produce
In the UK our average carbon footprint per person is pretty darn high at 12.7 tonnes CO2e, especially when you compare this to the world average which is around 7 tonnes CO2e. Lowering our carbon footprint is essential to help save the planet and it will help us cut back on the amount of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming and climate change. Growing your own fruit & vegetables is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but you're probably wondering how?
Well, the fruit & vegetables that are available in supermarkets have had to travel long distances meaning a lot of energy has been used in harvesting & transport, meaning a higher carbon footprint. So, by growing your own, you cut out the entire transportation process which in turn helps to reduce your household's carbon footprint, and that's not all. Growing your own fruit & vegetables also means there's no plastic wastage from packaging and you'll even find that homegrown tastes a lot better.
You could also shop for your fruit and vegetables from a local farm shop that sells UK grown produce, this will ensure that your produce you’re buying has low carbon emissions and a smaller impact on the environment.
Learn To Shop Sustainably
A lot of us are caught up in our usual shopping habits, and they need to change quickly. We're so used to getting in our cars and driving to the supermarket once, twice, and maybe even three times a week because we've forgotten something - all that driving means your carbon footprint is skyrocketing. Some people tend to go in without a shopping list too which means they end up buying more food than they actually need. This introduces another environmental issue, food waste. Can you see where it's all going wrong with our grocery shopping habits?
This is where shopping with Bother comes in because we can alleviate a lot of the current problems there are with grocery shopping and make shopping more sustainable. You no longer need to carry out those weekly shopping trips because we'll do all that for you. Just place your order with Bother and you'll get your essentials the very next day - and here's the best bit - we have a net carbon zero footprint and by shopping with us, the average UK household could reduce their carbon footprint by 2.5%. And to top things off, we also plant trees with every order to help with reforestation which greatly helps our environment because more trees means less carbon dioxide.
Go Eco with Your Cleaning Products
Eco-friendly cleaning products are safer to use for our environment, they don't contain any harsh chemicals that can be harmful to our atmosphere, and they can even find their way into waterways which causes water pollution. Opting for eco-friendly cleaning solutions doesn't mean you need to spend a fortune because they're still affordable and will last you just as long as a conventional cleaner would.
There are plenty of eco cleaning brands that we stock such as Ecover, Method, OceanSaver and Miniml. Their cleaning products are plant-based, non-toxic and even biodegradable which makes them much safer for the planet, and for people with sensitive skin. You can even get large sized refills from us, so you won't need to buy a load of plastic bottles every single month.
Go Easy on Meat & Milk Consumption
Now we aren't saying you need to cut out meat and milk out completely but eating less of it can certainly help the environment. There's a big issue with meat and milk consumption in that it contributes to deforestation and climate change because more land and livestock is needed to deal with the high demands of meat and dairy products. In turn, this causes a rise in greenhouse gases such as methane which is produced by animals, and it's far more potent than carbon dioxide for our atmosphere.
Meat substitutes are becoming highly popular and because they're plant-based, they release much lower levels of greenhouse gases, anywhere from 30-90% less. The same applies with milk alternatives, they require less land, and they generate lower levels of greenhouse gases.
Try switching your meat out a couple of times a week with these Profusion Vegan Pea & Fava Protein Pieces. They're a great replacement for chicken, and work well in a number of meals, plus they taste great too. It's easy to go dairy-free with your milk too, just switch your cow's milk out for a plant-based milk like Oatly Barista - it's rich, creamy and is great alone or in a warming cup of coffee.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We're pretty sure you've heard it before, but we can't stress the message enough. Reduce your waste by moving away from single-use products that just end up in landfill and make purchases that will last you for longer. A great way to reduce your waste is by investing in reusable products like a reusable water bottle so you can move away from buying single-use plastic bottles, which can take 450 years to decompose.
And finally, recycle wherever you can. Up until recently, we were doing a pretty good job of recycling but our recycling rate had recently fallen from 45.5% to 43.8%. We need to get that percentage back up and get into the habit of recycling because it can do a world of good for the Earth. It helps to prevent greenhouse gas emissions, helps to preserve energy, and can cut down on carbon emissions - all of which are super important to help save our planet.
Put The Earth First
Hopefully this article has given you a greater insight into the importance of saving the planet and the actions to you can take to support this, and to go the extra mile, Earth Day have put together some tips that you can act on to make every day a better day for the planet. You’ll be able to calculate your own carbon footprint, organise a community clean up and even learn how to grow your own organic garden.