Going Green in a Concrete Jungle
When living in a place that's surrounded by concrete and metal with the odd tree peppering the pavements, it's no wonder so many of us feel disconnected from nature in cities, and pretty helpless when it comes to protecting the environment. But there are a few simple ways we can help to reduce our impact on this beautiful planet, and hopefully keep it that way for years to come. Here are 5 tips to get you started -
Recycling is easy, effortless, and essential for the planet - all you have to do is separate your waste and leave it outside your home for collection or take it to the recycling bins. Most councils will send you recyclable bin bags for free. Check out the list of what can/can't be recycled here.
2. GO PAPERLESS AND STOP JUNKMAIL
Most of the post we receive could be sent electronically - opt for digital for your correspondence from banks, energy suppliers, subscriptions etc, where you can.
When it comes to unwanted post, around 3 and a half billion items of unaddressed junk mail end up through our letter boxes every year, most of which won't even get a second glance - that's an INSANE amount of trees. You can opt out of receiving unaddressed post here.
3. SWITCH UP YOUR COMMUTE
City buses and underground systems are a planet friendlier alternative to driving, and more often than not, more efficient in larger cities too. Better yet, ask yourself if the journey could be done by foot or by bike - if it's under 1.5 miles and you've got the time, get your trainers on or hop on the saddle and get some fresh (ish) air on your face. If you do have to get taxis, choose carpooling - it's cheaper, more sustainable, and you may even make a new friend too.
4. SUPPORT LOCAL
The majority of food on supermarket shelves is shipped in from other countries thousands of miles away - not only will that have racked up an insane carbon footprint, but chances are those runner beans from Nairobi are pretty much void of any nutritional sustenance since they probably got picked 8 weeks ago. Swap supermarkets for independent grocers and farmers markets - not only will your food be fresher, you'll also be supporting small business owners and farmers instead of big corp. The same goes for other products - next time you're in need of a new pair of jeans, head to your nearest charity shop or vintage store instead of Topshop - buying second-hand means you won't be contributing to the vast amounts of waste produced by the fashion industry (more on this here).
5. BUY A FICUS PLANT
Paint, carpets, flooring, and furniture can be responsible for emitting volatile organic compounds into our homes. Ficus plants are anti-microbial, gas absorbing plants said to remove chemicals like formaldehyde from the air. Get one of these for your home to purify any pollutants floating about.
Even if you can only implement one of these ideas - every little helps. Don't get overwhelmed and feel like you have to do it all - making small changes, step-by-step, will be the easiest and most sustainable way of moving towards greener living for the long-run.