Here are a few friendly ways you can change some of your weekly activities to be more eco conscious. Making small changes in your lifestyle can have a larger effect overall, especially if your friends get on board too. Have a read of our list of things you can change to reduce your carbon footprint. Being environmentally conscious will leave you feeling more positive about your day.
#1 Shower Less
Did you know that running a hot water faucet for 5 minutes uses almost the same amount of energy as burning a 60-watt bulb for 14 hours? (According to the EPA). The energy used by a hot water tank probably comes from electricity or by burning natural gas meaning that long showers are linked to burning fossil fuels and C02 emissions. Therefore having shorter showers or showering with a friend can really save energy and reduce your carbon footprint.
#2 Invest in your own takeaway coffee cup
If you’re a big coffee drinker and must have your soy-double-shot-flat-white from the local cafe every morning, then it’s a good idea to invest in a reusable cup like a keep cup rather than using a single use takeaway cup with a plastic lid. UK coffee drinkers use about 3 billion disposable coffee cups every year. That's a huge number that can easily be reduced. Lots of cups these days are biodegradable which is great but watch out for the plastic lid because this bad boy will stick around for a lot longer.
#3 Buy less new and more second hand
Did you know that clothing is one of the biggest contributors to landfill worldwide? Almost 10 percent of our rubbish is made up of textiles and this figure is growing. Buying clothes second hand, or garments made from recycled materials reduces your impact on the earth. If you want to have a spring clean out of your closet, then make sure you donate your unwanted garments to the salvation army, give them away to friends or pass them on to a second-hand store to sell for you, rather than throwing them in the bin. Buying clothes from op shops like recycle boutique, Ninety-mile store, or choosing clothes made from recycled fabrics (like a Salt Label swimsuit) makes a small but positive difference.
Photo: The Ninety-mile store
#4 Drive Less
This one is the most obvious. Reduce carbon emissions by driving less. If you live far away from where you need to be every day then consider car pooling or using public transport. If you live close then why not bike to work or walk to class? A bit of exercise can only be good for you too. Not to mention the amount of money you’ll save on fuel in general.
#5 BYO Supermarket Bag
Unless you've been hiding under a rock, by now you should probably know how terrible single use plastic bags are. The effect that plastic bags have on the environment is down right disturbing. Most of these are not recyclable in New Zealand and end up polluting the ocean or bulking up the landfill for years to come. Bringing your own bag to the supermarket is the best way to avoid using a single use plastic bag. Some are available in supermarkets and are made from recycled fabrics which is great. Using one sets a good example, plus you can guarantee they won't rip and spill the contents of your shopping in the middle of the road.
Straws are fun but not using one is ever more fun. Knowing that you're not contributing to a large amount of plastic waste ending up in our oceans and hurting marine life is a pretty good feeling. If you really love using straws then maybe it’s time you got your own. Yes, there are now alternatives to plastic straws including reusable glass straws that come in cool colours with their own cleaners too. They aren’t hugely expensive either. You can pick one up at strawesome for around 15NZD.