Happy New Year! We hope you all enjoyed a restful and enjoyable break for the holidays, and are looking forward to what 2015 has in store.
It’s not too late to make a green resolution for the year ahead, so here are some of our ideas…
Eat less meat
Not everyone is ready to resolve to become 100% vegetarian, but resolving to eat less meat is a quick way to lower your carbon footprint. It is estimated that if each person cuts meat from their diet for one day a week it would be equivalent to taking 7.6 million cars off the road! Find some good vegetarian recipes, pick a couple of days a week where you will only eat vegetarian food, and make sure that when you do eat meat it comes from farms that ensure a high standard of animal welfare.
Eat more seasonal and local fruit and veg
Although supermarkets stock a wide range of fruit and vegetables year-round, those that are not in season locally will have been grown in energy-hungry greenhouses, or imported from afar. Find out what is in season, and be sure to buy locally where you can. By changing your meals according to the seasons, you’ll never get bored of what you eat!
Put down the keys, grab your helmet and resolve to pedal more in 2015! By leaving the car behind and using a bike for short journeys, not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, but will also give you a good workout and much-needed exercise after the festive holidays. It’s still very dark in January, so if you’re cycling after sunset remember to stay cycle safe and make sure your front and rear lights are working.
Granted, if you live in a remote area, or there is half a metre of snow outside your door, cycling sounds less appealing. If that’s the case where you live, start using public transport to get around. If public transport connections are poor in your area, consider campaigning for improved services, or investigate other sustainable options, such as car sharing.
Make 2015 the year you resolve to increase the energy efficiency of your home! Simple changes like turning the thermostat down a degree, swapping your traditional lightbulbs for CFL (compact flourescent lightbulbs) or LED bulbs, fitting reflective radiator panels, and using window insulation film can all make a big difference to your energy consumption (and your bills!). If you don’t know where to start, contact the Energy Ambassadors who will give you all the information you need to get started.
Detergents loaded with toxic chemicals end up in our waterways, poisoning rivers, and lowering the surface tension of the water, which presents another danger to aquatic life. Do a bit of research, and do your bit to reduce your impact by choosing eco-friendly washing and cleaning products as an alternative to harsh chemicals.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
As technology develops, we are able to recycle more and more materials, so make sure you’re up to date on what your local recycling service can and cannot recycle by looking up your local council’s website (Fife’s recycling information is available here). Remember to try and reduce the amount of household waste you produce in the first place by refusing to buy over-packaged goods, and reusing materials where possible.
Take shorter showers
The average person in the UK uses over 63 litres of water each time they take a shower, with the average shower lasting around 8 minutes. Aim to bring your shower time down to under 5 minutes, and when lathering up turn off the water until you are ready to rinse.
Out and about
Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. Shockingly, that’s about how much oil was needed to produce the bottle! Aim to ditch bottled water, and instead take a reusable bottle with you when out and about to keep you hydrated. Taking a reusable coffee cup with you will also help reduce your paper waste and some cafes (including the University’s cafes!) will also bag you a discount on your hot drink.
Beat the bag charge
With the 5p carrier bag charge brought into place late last year, there has been a huge reduction in the number of plastic carrier bags used in Scotland. Make it your mission for 2015 to keep a reusable bag handy in your bag, coat pocket, car, by the front door, and in your desk drawer to ensure you never have to pay the charge again!
Remember that you don’t have to make these changes all at once! Why not resolve to make one green change to your lifestyle every month? This way, the change is more likely to be permanent as it happens more gradually…