Being eco-friendly doesn’t mean you have to make huge changes to your life in order to be kinder to the planet. There are small habits that we are all guilty of doing daily that add up to become bigger problems. If we make the effort to stop these and find healthier solutions, the earth will thank us for it.
You may not realise the amount of damage these small daily habits can cause, even if some of them are obvious. That’s why we have drawn together some of the most harmful wasteful habits that you can change today.
Wasteful Habits You Can Change
Luckily, there are easy solutions and alternatives that will cost you nothing to implement when it comes to wasteful habits. In fact, many of these solutions will actually save you money.
Using Plastic Shopping Bags
According to Ocean Crusaders, shoppers every year are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags every year, the majority of which only end up in the ocean where 100,000 marine creatures die a year because of plastic entanglement or digestion. Not only are plastic bags harmful to the ocean, but the ones that end up in landfills or are blown away as litter can release toxic chemicals into the soil as they break down. The list of the negative impacts of plastic bags seems endless, and the solution is simple!
Reusable shopping and veggie bags. Take them with you whenever you go shopping to avoid the need for plastic bags.
Driving When Not Necessary
Realistically, it is difficult to cut out the need to drive entirely, but driving a journey that could be walked is unnecessary, and when you add up the carbon emissions from all of these small journeys, you can see how detrimental they really are to the planet. Using a carbon footprint calculator might help you to see whether unnecessary driving is something that you are guilty of. Transport is one of the areas where you can make the biggest change and also save yourself a lot of money!
Walking, cycling, public transport, carpooling or eco-conscious cars. There are so many ways to get around these days that it’s worth weighing up your options and adding your carbon footprint into your considerations.
It is surprising how many households don’t recycle their waste. According to National Geographic, only about a fifth of plastic is recycled every year. Waste that isn’t recycled in some way is likely to end up on landfills or in the ocean. Landfills are huge producers of greenhouse gas Methane, as well as causing many other detrimental environmental effects. Furthermore, the ocean is already home to millions of tonnes of plastic. Recycling doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing and the environmental benefits are worth it.
Paper, cardboard, glass, plastic containers and bottles, aerosols and tin or aluminium cans can all be recycled at home. Items such as clothing, batteries, scrap metal and printer cartridges can all be recycled in other ways. Whenever throwing something away, it is worth always checking whether or not it can be recycled in some way, to save unnecessary waste.
Excessive Water Usage
Water is one of the most commonly wasted natural resources in households today. Irresponsible usage can result in a surprising amount of waste. For instance, a tap left running whilst brushing your teeth can waste up to 6 litres of water a minute according to Waterwise, which demonstrates why it is important to be conscious of water usage. Often it is something we might not think about as we are so used to being able to turn on the tap and have water flow out, so we take it for granted. Water is a precious natural resource, and we must conserve it.
It is also worth noting that according to the stats gathered in the book ‘When the Rivers Run Dry: The Global Water Crisis and How to Solve It’ by Fred Pearce, water is mainly used (and wasted) in industries such as clothing and livestock. Fast fashion and fast food have an immensely negative impact, for example it takes 7,600 litres of water to make a pair of jeans!
Be conscious of only using what you really need. Try taking shorter showers, turn off the tap whilst brushing your teeth, running a bowl of water instead of leaving the tap running when doing washing up.
Make smart choices about clothes and food: fast fashion and fast food are the worst industries in terms of water wastage.
Water is a finite resource which we cannot afford to waste.
Did you know that a typical microwave uses more electricity to power its clock than it does heating food? The Greenage reports that in the average home, 75% of the energy used to power electronics is consumed whilst they are on standby. Traditionally, creating electricity is an environmentally detrimental process, and the majority of electricity is still produced using fossil fuels despite new renewable methods which are friendlier to the environment. Because of this, it is important to conserve the amount of energy that we do use, by changing just a few, easy habits you can massively reduce your electricity usage.
Turn off lights unless necessary, install solar panels, turn off electrics instead of leaving them on standby. It’s so easy to save electricity and it could even save you money!
According to the FAO, roughly a third of food produced for human consumption is thrown away or lost each year and considering the environmental impact of agriculture and livestock, this is a huge waste. Food waste is mostly avoidable by making smart choices, but sometimes it is inevitable and there are ways to deal with it.
Plan your meals in advance and buy only what you need, any leftovers you do have, try to reuse them. Unavoidable waste such as vegetable scraps can be composted.
Wasteful Habits on Holiday
When you’re travelling, it can be tempting to indulge yourself and use resources freely because you are not paying the bills. But it is especially important when you’re on holiday as tourism often puts a massive strain on resources in popular areas that do not have the infrastructure to deal with the influx of people. Furthermore, it can be difficult to know how eco-friendly a hotel is. Try and choose an eco-hotel that is very conscious about its use of natural resources and how it deals with its waste.
Change Your Habits, Change the World
As hard as it is to believe, our every day habits can have a big effect on the environment. If everybody adjusted their day to day habits slightly, we would see a massive improvement in the environment, and we could focus on undoing the damage that has already been done. Remember, it only takes 66 days to form a new habit.
Kiwano can help you towards the first step of becoming a green traveller by providing a list of approved green accommodations for you to stay at and give you further tips on how to stay green as a traveller.