As we start 2021 amid all the doom, gloom and bad news of the world, it would be perfectly understandable if all usual New Year Resolutions were kicked to the kerb as we cope with pandemics, lockdowns, closures and a plethora of bad news. But before you retire to the corner with the last of the Christmas chocolates and a blanket, we should consider that all situations are temporary. Even the chocolates wont last forever! At Enviroleak, we are making 2021 a year for making small changes for a greener planet. We work daily on relatively small-scale clean-ups of oil leaks and as such are in position to fully appreciate how effective environmental remediation can be. Here are a few easy ways to be kinder to the planet in 2021
Each year around 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean. Europe is responsible for one fifth of plastic production but in 2016 only 30 per cent of plastic waste was recovered. Thankfully, there are more and more alternatives to plastic containers on the market and most supermarkets now have a place where you can buy loose fruit and veg, rather than have double shrink-wrapped items. The turtles will thank you.
Meat free Monday! You may not feel like going completely vegan but swapping out a few meals each week for the vegetarian option will have a huge environmental impact. A 2018 study at Oxford University showed that meat free eating could reduce your carbon footprint by 73%
Buy a fancy re-useable water bottle and cut down on the amount of bottled water you use by filtering at home. Plastic water bottles are produced so much faster than they can be recycled. In fact, 46 billion of them are sold every year in Europe alone. A cute and Reduce shower times. Even something as simple as not leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth will save a significant amount of water over the coming year.
Whether it is clothes, furniture, books or any number of items, where there is an option to buy second hand, it should be explored this year. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of all carbon emissions globally. If you can buy second hand( or pre-loved if you prefer). you are contributing to a mor sustainable world and saving yourself some money in the process. Likewise, if you have good useable items don’t land fill them but donate to charity shops where they can be of use again.
According to the UN almost one third of all food grown, harvested and shipped in the world is lost to waste. This is the same as buying four bags of shopping and dumping one straight in the bin! In 2021, we can reduce that waste by menu planning, strategically shopping and using up our leftovers before we head to the supermarket again.
The pandemic and reduction of movements has changed our habits, particularly in relation to how business is done. In the future, when we are all safely vaccinated and immune, we might consider continuing to have those Zoom calls, video conferencing and emails, rather than travelling to meet up. This will reduce carbon emissions both in air travel and car travel. If you are desperate to fly abroad, check out ways to offset your carbon footprint and fly smug in the knowledge that you have done your bit for the environment.
Local products don’t have long journeys to reach you. How much better when your produce and goods involve fewer harmful greenhouse gasses. Where possible support Irish companies and producers. This helps the local economy and that can only be a positive outcome.
One in six of us will make green New Year resolutions this year. If we can maintain the good intentions, the world really will be a better place. So, on yer bike and let us make it a greener, more sustainable 2021 for the planet and all its inhabitants.
From all of us here at Enviroleak we wish you a positive, healthy and greener New Year!