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After a difficult 2020 many of us are looking to make positive changes in our lives during 2021. However, when starting something new you don’t always know where to begin. This led to us complying a shortlist of things you can do in 2021 to start helping our planet.
1. Experiences over stuff
2020 meant that we weren't able to spend as much time with friends and family as we would have liked. So, why not aim to instead of buying gifts for people throughout the year spend time together making memories. This will lower plastic waste from gifts as well as giving you stories of 'that time when you went to the beach' or 'that time when you went ice skating' for years after.
2. Donate/Sell unused items
Are you wanting to sort out your house so that you have more space for the things you love? Then this is the perfect new years' resolution for you. Rather than holding on to things you no longer use or throwing away by donating or selling you're giving your items a new lease of life and avoid adding unnecessary waste to our planet. It's a win-win situation!
3. Use reusable
At the Package Free Larder, we sell reusable products such as Beeswax Food Wraps, this is a great alternative to using products like clingfilm as can be used over and over again without adding to our plastic waste the way clingfilm does. Another great product you could try is degradable bin bags, unlike traditional bin bags, that can take hundreds of years to degrade, these can take as little time as a few weeks.
4. Change how you commute to work.
Do you drive to work? I used to, I personally live a 30-minute walk to my work so used to drive. However, by changing to cycling I was lowering my CO2 emissions, exercising and having fun all on my commute. If this isn't realistic in your life look at travelling via public transport like buses and trains. Even if you were to start by doing this once a week it would have a huge impact on our planet.
5. Shop locally.
In Portsmouth, we are very fortunate to have many local businesses, like the package free larder. By shopping at your local stores the amount of energy needed to get products to you is reduced. For example, I could buy Honey from my local supermarket that is non-EU produced then packed in the UK. This product would have had to be flown to the UK then driven to packaging, packed then driven to the store. These vehicles will cause emissions. Whereas Honey sold at the Package Free Larder is from Hayling Island. This means that fewer vehicles are needed to get from A to B, lowering the negative impact of emissions.
6. Consider your diet.
Meat like most things is a cause of greenhouse gases, however meats, such as beef, can emit around 60 times more then the same weight in vegetables. Also, around one third of the agricultural calories produced worldwide are used in animal food, meaning that extra resources are used for meat production food. By cutting down the amount of meat and processed foods, which tend to be packaged in plastics, you eat this can have a positive impact and a better use of the scarce agricultural production area worldwide
If you're ready for the challenge you could even try Veganuary. This challenges people to eat only vegan foods for the whole of this month.
7. Learn to say NO.
Do you remember the 7 R’s? Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rehome, replant and Rot. By firstly refusing to bring items you don’t love into your home you avoid creating extra waste at the source. This can also save you money as you’re not forking out for items that you might use only a few times, then not know what to do with. By being more conscious about what you have in your life it also allows you to see what is important to you.
8. Litter picking on your commute.
Have you ever seen litter on your commute? By picking it up and disposing of it correctly, you’re helping the local area be cleaner and more inviting for the community (and yourself) while also making sure that rubbish is correctly disposed of. Another win-win situation!
I hope this shortlist has given you some great ideas for what you can do now to become more environmentally friendly. We’d love to see all the wonderful ideas you’ve come up with that we missed in this list.
See more on instagram @packagefreelarder @zero_waste_portsmouth
Lots of love,
Team PFL x
- Written by PFL volunteer Holly Vary