With the likes of Greta Thunberg highlighting the issue of climate change, there is an ever increasing amount of people changing their lifestyle to reduce the impact they have on the environment. Some are unsure what steps to take in overcoming habits, as it can be difficult to make a sudden overhaul, so here’s five small ways to go green.

  • Buy a reusable water bottle: In 2016, an estimated 480bn plastic bottles were sold worldwide (Guardian). Why is this a problem? Plastic bottles take up to 700 years to disintegrate and around 80% of plastic bottles do not get recycled (EQUA), instead finding their way to either a landfill site or a street corner. Plastic bottles simply create avoidable waste. Buying a reusable water bottle means you cut down on the costs of buying multiple single use plastic bottles. There are also a number of refillable water bottle sites across the university campus such as in the Charles Wilson building and the Bennett building. This also applies to the growing number of single use coffee cups, as coffee shops are now charging a single use coffee cup fee which has been applied on the University campus too.
  • Cutting down on dairy and meat: A growing population has placed immense pressure on the farming industry to maintain supply and demand. However, with that comes negative effects. Intense farming practices has resulted in a large production of methane and carbon dioxide, which contributes to the growing level of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. For some it may be difficult to go full-time vegan, understandably some of us do enjoy a steak or two occasionally. However, changing a red meat meal to a vegan or vegetarian meal once a week can have a positive impact.
  • Go vintage: Fast fashion is becoming a major polluting industry. Companies compete to produce cheap and fast clothing to deliver to consumers. This often means developing less sustainable methods to deliver those items which results in the production of toxic pollutants. Purchasing vintage clothing reduces demand, which in turn reduces the impact of fast fashion on the environment. Vintage clothing is also affordable and sustainable, another bonus!
  • Keep a carrier bag: Ever since stores have started charging for single use bags, their purchase has dropped by 85% compared to when they were freely available. Keeping a tote bag saves both money and reduces plastic waste.
  • Buying products with less packaging: This is something that is challenging and somewhat unavoidable. In supermarkets there are products, such as fruit and vegetables, that are packaged unnecessarily and which you can make an effort to avoid. You can find loose vegetables and fruit at markets instead. Lush also stocks solid shower gels and shampoos that come without the excess plastic packaging. Why not visit a zero-waste store in Leicester called NADA on St Martins Walk? You can purchase everyday products that you can refill in your own containers such as shampoo, bulk rice and grains etc.

Tasmiyah Akhtar

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