Sadly, the number of animals living on Earth has fallen by 40% since 1970. To stop this decline, we must work together to reduce the detrimental effects that humans are having on the planet and our wildlife's natural habitats.
In the spirit of Plastic Free July, we're sharing our tips on how we can each reduce our environmental footprint.
Beyond going plastic free, there are things that each of us can do every day to make sure we’re not doing unnecessary harm to our planet. Here are our top 10 tips that are ways to reduce your environmental impact.
1. Stop using plastic bags
When you think about it, we don’t need plastic bags in our lives at all. It can take up to 1000 years for a single plastic bag to decompose, and they are one of the main killers of marine wildlife. So it’s important to reduce your plastic bag usage in every way that you can.
2. Skip the disposable items
Single use plastics and items to skip include plastic water bottles, disposable utensils and coffee cups. Instead of using plastic water bottles, investing in a glass bottle such as The Bare Bottle is a good idea as they are made from eco-friendly stainless steel, which won’t hurt the environment and can be reused for years.
To take it a step further, you could even try the Plastic Free July challenge that’s happening across the world.
3. Know what to recycle
A lot of people are still confused about what plastic you can and can’t recycle. Byron Bay for example, now has the ‘bag the bag’ mantra, which encourages locals to bundle their plastic bags before placing them in the recycling bin. Your local council should have clear guidelines for recycling, and they’re usually a good place to start.
4. Go paperless
This one is easy to implement, as there are online storage facilities that are more effective than paper filing systems. Google drive is a great example - it can be used to store all of our important documents, take notes, keep files, create spreadsheets, calendars, etc. There are also web applications such as Asana and Slack for all of your organisational needs. In time, you won’t need to rely on a pen and paper for much.
5. Reduce electronic usage
Turning your electronics off at the wall, or unplugging them can save a lot of energy expenditure. Your TV, computer, microwave and even some washing machines have a 'standby' mode, which means they're still using energy even when they're turned off. It’s therefore important to choose appliances with a good energy rating, and to turn them off at the wall when not in use.
6. Veggie garden and compost
Growing your own produce helps the environment by reducing the emissions and fossil fuel pollution used to transport foods to the supermarket, and if you grow your plants organically, without pesticides and herbicides, then you’re ensuring that the earth will return to it’s natural state without damaging the soil and making it harder for plants to grow in future. You can also make compost from any food waste and use it to fertilize your garden - the team at Bare Blends use the leftover banana peels from the smoothie bar for compost at home, and more often than not, this compost works better than store-bought fertilizers.
Read 6 Reasons Why Growing A Veggie Garden Will Improve Your Life for more on this.
7. Read ebooks
In the US, there are over 30 million tree cut down each year to produce paper that makes books alone. Reading your books, newspapers and magazines online is often easier and cheaper than buying them. Downloading the Kindle app on your laptop or tablet is a great place to start, and most books can be bought in ebook form from Amazon and elsewhere.
8. Drive less
This one can be hard to implement, depending on where you live, but small things like carpooling with a coworker to work, or condensing trips to the shops by buying all your groceries in one place will make a difference.
9. Adopt water saving habits
Take shorter showers, and if you need to wash your car, take it to the car wash - it uses significantly much less water than would be used at home, and the water is recycled.
10. Leave only footprints behind
There’s a mantra that says ‘leave only your footprints behind’, and it’s an idea that we should all live by wherever we go - especially at the beach or public spaces. If everyone was accountable for their waste, our planet would be litter free, greener, and healthier.