7 sustainability tips from One Planet Norwich ahead of Earth Hour
- Credit: Kate Wolstenholme
The natural world has been a great source of comfort and relief during the long weeks of lockdown as we stay local and get our daily exercise. Now, as restrictions are eased, we can chose to have a fresh start and make some positive environmental changes to our daily lives.
To kick this off, Saturday 27 March is Earth Hour. The yearly event where, all over the world at 8.30pm local time, WWF encourages us to turn our lights off to show support and raise awareness of our impact on the planet.
Rachel Sowerby, affordable warmth officer from One Planet Norwich, shares other achievable ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Adapt where you shop
Buying local and seasonally reduces the energy going into producing and transporting your food. Shopping from farm shops, greengrocers and markets helps achieve this, as well as helping to reduce your plastic consumption as fewer items are prepackaged.
"About 10pc of humanity's carbon emissions come from making clothes", says Rachel Sowerby. Reducing your fast fashion consumption has a massive environmental and social impact. This could mean buying less, stopping buying new clothes for periods of time, making your own, or buying second hand.
2. Save water
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Rachel Sowerby says how "water use accounts for about 6% of carbon emissions in the UK, mainly from heating water in the home". Small changes to the way we use water can have a large environmental impact, as well as financial.
These changes include washing up in a bowl rather than with the tap running, washing your car with a bucket rather than a hose, having slightly more shallow baths or reducing your shower time by as little as a minute.
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3. Save energy in the home
Changes in the home include not leaving things on stand-by, only filling the kettle with what you need and turning lights off when not in the room.
4. Minimise food waste
As food in landfills breaks down, it lets off greenhouses gases. Reducing the amount of food that makes it to landfill will see a drop in harmful gases such as methane, whilst conserving the energy that has gone into making the food initially. Separating your food out into the right bins, or using a compost bin reduces what goes to landfill and can be used to make biogas and biofertilizer.
Not forgetting the packaging waste which food produces, recycle everything you can, making sure everything is clean and dry before you put it in the bin to make sure it doesn't end up in landfill.
If there is something your council doesn't recycle, there are shops and communities, such as Horsford Animal Sanctuary, which take certain items for specialist recycling.
5. What food you eat
Cutting down or cutting out meat from your diet is one of the best ways to cut down on your carbon footprint, as it is thought that the meat industry now produces more greenhouse gases than the running of all our transport, cars, planes, freight and ships combined. Do what works for you, even if this is just meat free Mondays.
6. Power in the home
Switching energy supplier to a renewable energy company and insulating your home better is another change which could have large financial benefits as well as environmental ones.
Using a reusable bottle or cup when you're out, looking for products which use little or no plastic, swapping plastic for bamboo toothbrushes, using a bar of soap in the shower, using a shampoo bar or a refillable shampoo brand, using tubs rather than foil or clingfilm... The plastic free alternatives are endless.
One Planet Norwich is a Norwich City Council initiative which promotes a more sustainable lifestyle through a range of eco events. Not everything here will be achievable for everyone, but whether you do one or all of these tips, any changes made can make a huge difference when repeated over and over.