If you do just four things for the environment this year, make it these four...

We all have a part to play in protecting our planet. Making just minor tweaks to our lifestyles can help slow down the damaging – and often, irreversible – effects of climate change and global warming.

You might already be making a conscious effort to be as kind as you can to the Earth; perhaps ‘be greener’ is one of your New Year’s resolutions? So, to help you on your mission, here are GP’s top four things you can do for the environment this year:

1. Eat responsibly

‘Eating responsibly’ means being conscious of what you eat and where you buy it from. Farm animals emit methane, a greenhouse gas, while a substantial amount of water, land and crops are required to rear them. If you don’t fancy going full veggie, just try to eat less meat – consider it a treat, as opposed to a daily staple. It’s also worth reviewing portion sizes. If you find yourself throwing lots of food away then buy less, cook less and reduce your food bill at the same time.

Heard about Food Miles? Sourcing products from local suppliers and growers helps cut back on the fuel used to transport food to your front door, which in turn limits air pollution. An added bonus is that you’ll also be supporting your local community.

2. Swap four wheels for two legs

Go green and get fit at the same time by ditching the car and instead walking to work. Walking or cycling to the office has zero impact on the environment; it also saves you cash and means that you won’t ever get stressed-out in gridlock traffic again! If the commute is simply too far, see if any of your colleagues would consider car-sharing. Of not, join Liftshare, where you can find drivers and passengers to share with, or speak to your employer about working flexibly from home.

3. Make eco-friendly swaps

 There’s an almost endless list of eco-friendly swaps you can make around your home, including using energy-saving lightbulbs, switching to a renewable energy supplier and getting out your jute bags for the weekly shop. For everything you use or buy, ask yourself: is there an alternative that’s better for the environment?

One important switch is subbing disposable products for reusable ones: paper towels for cloths, or styrofoam coffee cups for a travel mug, for instance. Buying GP ReCyko+ rechargeable batteries is another example and will help stop single-use batteries being sent to landfill, where they release damaging toxins. The government’s recent proposals - such as the 25p  ‘latte levy’ on disposable coffee cups - and the banning of products containing microbeads are definitely a step in the right direction.

4. Say ‘no’ to plastic

Many of us have seen the harrowing images of marine life entangled in plastic and beaches strewn with non-biodegradable products. Plastic is a synthetic material and is extremely destructive to our oceans and to our world as a whole. So, while you may think it nigh on impossible to shun plastic altogether, you can help by not purchasing single-use plastics. These include things like plastic bags, bottles and straws, and even microplastics such as glitter.

Small changes can make a huge difference – introduce some positive changes into your lifestyle and feel proud knowing that you’re helping to preserve our beautiful planet. Which of the above is first on your list?


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