The environment is a hot topic right now – there’s plenty of environmental education programs and public efforts to improve the state of the planet but, how many of us make a daily effort to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle?

How many times have you thrown a plastic bottle into your general waste bin because you didn’t feel like washing it out?

How many times have you bought fast fashion because you wanted a bit of a ritual high and a quick fashion fix?

How many times have you bought pre-packaged and peeled fruit and vegetables because it’s easier?

I think most people are guilty of all of the above and yet these things are known to contribute to the very issues most of us are worried about.

  • Climate change
  • The endangerment of wildlife
  • Pollution

These are things which ultimately affect us all. We’ve all seen upsetting footage of sea life caught in rubbish or dead due to ingesting plastic.

We’ve all read countless articles or seen news segment about climate change and pollution – but what are we doing to prevent these things?

If you’re tired of worrying about these issues, it’s time to change – below are some simple lifestyle changes which don’t cost much – in fact some will actually save you money – and will ultimately be better for the environment.

Consider the waste hierarchy

If you’re not familiar with the waste hierarchy, it’s basically a set of priorities to bear in mind when it comes to the use of resources.

The idea of the waste hierarchy is to be more mindful in everything we do – it’s often applied by many larger industries and businesses to ensure that they stay environmentally friendly as they conduct their work, but it’s also something ordinary people can bear in mind.

  • Avoid
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle
  • Recover
  • Treat
  • Dispose

Implementing the best of the waste hierarchy –

Avoid

This is to simply take action to prevent waste from happening in the first place. It might mean something as simple as buying loose vegetables instead of those wrapped in plastic – just take your own cloth bag to the shops!

When we avoid wasteful materials altogether, there’s less need to dispose of them.

Reduce

Reducing what we use is another easy task to manage for most people. For example, do you really need another electronic item? Could the old one be repaired? The same can be said for clothing, toys, and furniture. Repairs can be made to most things – replacement is not always necessary.

Reuse

Rather than buying a container to put your lunch in, use an old container which you’ve acquired from elsewhere – plastic ice cream tubs are great for storage. But here is another reminder on avoidance – there are plenty of ice cream brands sold in more environmentally friendly packaging, so perhaps choose those?

Recycle

Ensure that all recyclable materials in your household waste are placed into the recycling container from your local council. If you have a larger amount of waste to dispose of, consider hiring a skip bin. Skip bin suppliers sort through all contents and ensure the recyclable waste is sent to the correct places for it to be cleaned and put to another use. Skip bins are a very environmentally friendly way to manage larger amounts of waste.

Recover

This is when we recover waste through converting it into energy – through composting for example. This is something all households can do if they have even a small garden. Skips are another great idea for this because when you book a skip bin for your green waste, that waste is sent to a composting plant. Mini skips are great for this as they’re smaller and more easily managed.

Treat

This is the less desirable area of the hierarchy – treatment is the last step before disposal. It’s not an ideal solution but one which many governments need to implement to at least reduce the volume or toxicity of waste. It might include shredding, burning or chemical digestion.

Dispose

disposing into skip bin

The least sustainable of all the options – disposal usually means landfill and landfill is not environmentally friendly. It comes with many issues and is expensive to implement and manage.

Keeping it up

Getting into the habit of avoiding waste where possible is quite easy – it may involve a few minor lifestyle changes but imagine if everyone did it? What improvements we’d see in the world!

Here are a few tips to help you stay green –

  • Always keep some reusable shopping bags in your car
  • Take smaller cloth bags into the supermarket for your fruit and vegetables
  • Use skip bins for larger amounts of rubbish instead of visiting the dump
  • Don’t buy pre-prepared fruit and veg
  • Use your local retailers rather than larger stores
  • Eat food which is in season
  • Avoid the use of harsh chemicals in and around the home

Changing our world for the better isn’t an overnight job but if we all make some changes, the results will be clear to see in a few years.