Ways to go greener in 2023
From buying less stuff to letting the train take the strain, Media Volunteer Simon Turner suggests a few ways to go greener in 2023.
1. Buy less stuff
Have a look through your wardrobe – which clothes had you forgotten you had? Can you start wearing them again? Sometimes finding an old favourite at the back of the closet is as satisfying as buying a new item. If you’re sure you don’t need it, sell or donate – maybe someone else will cherish that neglected old jacket or dress. What possessions are in need of repair? Try to fix them yourself, or pay someone to repair them. If unfixable, dispose of by recycling wherever possible.
Unsubscribe to marketing emails to reduce the temptation to buy more stuff. Reduce time spent browsing or consuming material goods online and avoid advertisements. Focus on spending time online productively, for example by visiting sites related to hobbies or informing yourself on interesting topics such as climate change issues and the environment.
Borrow things from friends or neighbours (don’t forget to return them!). If you only need a garden shovel for a quick job it makes sense to borrow one, while also being open to lending out stuff your neighbours they might need.
If you do need to buy something, check to see if you can get a used or secondhand product before buying new. If buying new, check the carbon credentials of the company or product’s manufacture and delivery.
2. Cut down on plastic waste
After a supermarket visit, lay out your groceries and assess the amount of single-use plastic used in the packaging. Some of it might be recyclable, but avoiding packaging in the first place is always the better option.
Can you choose your own apples and put them straight in the basket (or use a paper bag/reusable bag)? Can you visit the outdoor market for fresh fruit and vegetables that are not pre-packaged? Can you manage without the bottled water or soft drinks?
As a rule of thumb, buy local and seasonal fresh produce with as little packaging as possible.
3. Drive less or choose active travel
Dig out your bike and get it serviced, then use it for some journeys that you would usually do in the car. You will feel fitter and happier, and it will warm you up. Walk to the supermarket with a backpack or pull-along trolley to get your groceries.
Take the bus or train and enjoy the journey. You could use the travel time to read, listen to a podcast or write in a journal.
4. Eat sustainably
The manufacture and transport of the food we eat has a massive impact on the environment. Minimise or cut out red meat (especially beef) and dairy produce.
Look at the label and assess the ‘food miles’ clocked up by the transporting of that product. Go local and seasonal. Reduce food waste (and save money) by using food sharing apps such as Olio to collect or share food that would otherwise be thrown out.
Have a happy and environmentally responsible 2023!
Simon Turner, Media Volunteer|