Environmental Laboratory

  • What Should You Swap to Help the Environment?

What Should You Swap to Help the Environment?

Apr 16 2018 Read 1541 Times

It might seem tempting to expect governmental and corporate responsibility to solve all of our environmental problems. While it is true that progressive changes to far-reaching policies would have a monumental effect on our pollution issues, the reality is that it’s up to each and every one of us to alter our ways and aim for a greener tomorrow.

Making wholesale changes to an established lifestyle can be too much for many people to stomach, which is why so many of us feel powerless to make an impact and do our bit. However, drastic revolutions are not necessary to live a greener life – in fact, just swapping out a few wasteful habits and products for more environmentally-friendly alternatives can make all the difference. Here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling:

  • Ditch those microbeads. Microplastics are everyone's problem as a result of the disastrous effect they have on our oceans and marine life. A UK-wide ban on the sale of microbeads in cosmetics is due to come into effect in July of this year, but kicking the habit immediately should be top of your list.
  • A greener cup of coffee. The unique properties of single-use coffee cups mean that they cannot be recycled at normal facilities, meaning the vast majority of the millions of takeaway lattes and cappuccinos simply end up in landfill after being consumed. Carry a reusable coffee mug with you at all times – or forgo your morning Joe on the go altogether.
  • Cut out plastic bottles. Even more damaging than coffee cups are plastic bottles. With approximately half a trillion bottles produced every year, many billions are not recycled and end up as waste. Buy yourself a sturdy water bottle and simply refill it next time you’re feeling parched – otherwise it might take a single-use plastic bottle up to 1,000 years to break down in the environment.
  • Skip the straw. While tiny parasols might be a thing of the past, it’s still pretty common practice for cocktails and other bar drinks to come with a straw in them. Sipping your beverage through a straw might avoid the unpleasant chink of ice and afford a subtle pleasure, but their profligacy is astounding. Do you really need one? Try going without.
  • BYOB (Bring your own bag). The introduction of a 5p tax on plastic bags in shops and supermarkets in 2015 has resulted in a huge decrease in their consumption, with roughly nine billion fewer bags in use. Could they soon be a thing of the past? Bringing your own fabric tote bag to the store could hasten their demise all the more quickly.
  • Go au naturale. The chemicals and compounds found in all manner of personal hygiene and cleaning products might help clean things to the naked eye, but they can do untold invisible damage to our environment. Look out for environmentally-friendly alternatives which deliver the same end result without dealing any of the ecological damage.
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