With the New Year approaching I know many of us will be starting to think about those new intentions for the coming months and perhaps, just perhaps, some of those will be to be a little bit greener. With climate change becoming more of an issue, plastic pollution still out of control, and single-use items still being heavily marketed we have a lot of problems that need our focus but with a few simple changes, you could make the new year that you make a positive impact. Here are just a few ways in which you can be more eco-friendly in 2023.
Reduce That Plastic Waste
When starting out with eco-lifestyle changes, I always recommend that you begin small. This isn’t about being all or nothing, it is about those small sustainable steps. The 2 areas in the home where we are guilty of using many products packaged in plastic are the kitchen and the bathroom so start with your focus on one of these. Take some time to research eco-friendly swaps such as:
- Bars of soap
- Shampoo bars
- Reusable wipes for cleaning
- Beeswax wraps
- Silicone lids
- Refillable surface sprays
**To help you really tackle this and provide you with a much more extensive list you could also purchase my Home Eco Checklist over on Etsy.
You should find that once you begin to make these small changes you’ll be eager to achieve the next. The more you can swap out, the better it’ll be for the environment, your wallet and you will be walking to the bins far less!
Switching to reusables is a really simple step on from the last point and with so many to choose from, you should be able to find ones that will work for you and your family. Our very first swap was to reusable nappies and then reusable wipes and this is how I ended up completely changing our lifestyle to be more eco-friendly (back in 2018). Having used the disposable versions with my first child I was shocked to discover that these will be around for 500 years+ and will never fully degrade as they are made from plastic.
Switching to cloth or reusable nappies has saved us hundreds of pounds… Maybe even thousands? My son is now 5 and still wears one at night so just imagine how many disposables we have prevented from going to landfill/incineration. And the same goes for reusable wipes, reusable cloths for the home, flannels and reusable menstrual products. Once you invest in these, you will see the savings further down the line.
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Once you make those swaps to handy reusables you won’t go back to those expensive and wasteful disposables.
The world’s obsession with stuff, gadgets, fashion and buying new is literally killing it. We have gone too far and it is time to just slow things down. With many secondhand options available to us including charity/thrift stores, Facebook marketplace, Olio app, Vinted app, eBay etc. I can guarantee that you will be able to still enjoy shopping AND find what you need AND save money. I have plenty of tips for shopping secondhand here.
Try Out Your Local Refill Store
Not only will your local refill store help you to eliminate some of those annoying single-use plastics but the staff will be able to introduce you to some great eco alternatives such as eco washing powder, washing up liquid and cleaning products as well as reusables. If you don’t have a local one, why not take a look online? Many eco shops provide a delivery service including my favourite store It’s All About Eco who has introduced me to many amazing products including plastic-free toothpaste.
Create a Wildlife Garden
No matter how big or small your garden is, if you only have a balcony or a shared space, I promise you can adapt it in order to attract more wildlife. Life brings life so begin by adding plants, flowers and maybe even think about growing your own fruit and veg. Leaving seed out for birds and adding a water feature or small wildlife pond are both surefire ways of bringing the wildlife to your outdoor space. From somebody with a very small garden who never saw signs of life, these changes completely altered that and last year we even had nesting birds. By providing a safe place with shelter, food and water, you will be helping our ecosystems whilst enjoying all that nature brings.
Use Public Transport
We all by now understand the impact we are making by travelling but for some interesting up-to-date figures let’s take a look at this:
The following CO2 information has been taken from Our World in Data
Data = CO2 in g per passenger per km travelled
Plane Domestic Flight – 255g
Car Petrol (medium) – 192g
Car Diesel (medium) – 171g
Plane Short Haul Flight – 156g
Plane Long Haul Flight – 150g
Ferry (with car) – 130g
Train – 41g
Coach – 28g
Ferry (on foot) – 19g
These figures are, of course, an average and will vary depending on how far you travel, how many people travel with you, and how energy efficient that mode of transport is (eco, hybrid, electric vehicles, speed of travel etc.) But as you can see you are far better off travelling by coach or train than by car or plane so leave that car at home when possible and grab yourself a different mode of transportation in order to be more eco-friendly in 2023.
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Litter is a massive problem and one that councils often cannot keep on top of so we can either complain about that fact or help out and do something about it ourselves. Litter pickers are readily available online so why not purchase a few and do your bit when out on a walk? It may feel a little odd to start with but watch out, it can get very addictive!! And rewarding, of course.
I say this one very tentatively what with the cost of living crisis and huge energy bills here in the UK at present. I know for some that saving energy right now has more to do with money than the environment. As with most of my suggestions, money saving and world saving do actually go hand in hand so practising good energy saving now will most probably instil good habits for saving in the future. Water, gas and electricity all require saving to slow down climate change and for more information on these you can check out some of my previous blogs here:
- Zero Waste Week: Saving Water, Electricity and Heating
- 10 Water Saving Tips That Will Help The Environment
- How To Save Money on Your Electricity Bill
- Save Money And Cut Carbon With LED Bulbs
You could also look into greener energy solutions such as solar panels, switching to green energy suppliers and saving rainwater.
Eat Less Meat
Livestock creates more than 15% of the world’s greenhouse emissions and 1/3 of global cropland making meat eating unsustainable. By choosing meat-free days/meals or cutting it out altogether you will be making huge strides in becoming more eco-friendly and it’s so much easier to change your diet these days, with many tasty meat alternatives now available vegetarians and vegans are really spoilt for choice.
So there we have it, some very small sustainable steps your can make to be more eco-friendly in 2023. How many could you start doing?
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