New Year’s resolutions. Even if you don’t believe in making resolutions, as the year comes to a close we will always start thinking about what the new year might bring.
In 2017, most of us have made more effort than the previous year to live as sustainably as we can, something which can be exceedingly difficult around the indulgent, festive season. Buying gifts and the traditional meters and meters of wrapping paper can make going green seem impossible in this period of celebration and consumerism – but still, maybe this Christmas you bought food from sustainable sources or a living Christmas tree that you can put in your garden in once all the celebrations are over. Thank goodness, it’s easy to recycle all those champagne bottles!
As we enter 2018, we at Adventus Travel wanted to offer some reminders and ideas on how to have an eco-friendly next 12 months. While we have you covered when it comes to choosing your next holiday destination, these changes at home will have an impact on the world we live in. Sometimes it can feel like the small things we do each day won’t make a difference, but imagine if everyone on your street was following these rules, and then everyone in your town, and then everyone in the country… these things add up to a big impact.
Here we have 6 ideas that will help you have an eco-2018. We’ve also added a note about the personal financial costs of each idea (low, medium, or high).
Now, don’t get us wrong, we know that thinking about diets at Christmas seems like madness. However, we’re not talking about a weight loss diet here, but a simple reduction in the consumption of animal products, particularly beef and dairy. These industries produce tonnes of methane gas which is a huge problem for our environment, so simply having a few meat-free days a week will really help. Here in Spain, they have meat-free Mondays in office canteens, so you could try this too!
Personal cost – low. This could even save you money as meat is so expensive.
For some, driving is unavoidable, but many of us could easily reduce the amount that we drive. Planning and organisation can really help this – for example, grouping as many errands together in one trip, so that you don’t have to take multiple trips – but also the car itself is something that is worth spending a little time and money on.
Personal cost – well, this depends on your car. This one can be a little bit of a loop – you pay to fix up the car and make it more energy efficient, which will cost, but the savings you’ll make on a properly functioning car will help your wallet and the environment.
This simple change has been around for years! Plastic bags wreak havoc on our oceans and are overused by us all. The best thing you can buy is reusable shopping bags that fit in your pocket for those quick trips to the shop for bread or milk. For the bigger trips, invest in bigger, more sturdy bags and some of your own produce bags; many supermarkets still insist on putting every single vegetable in its own bag or wrapping it in plastic film, so having your own mesh produce bags will work a treat.
Personal cost – low! And this one is so easy to incorporate into your life.
From plastic bags to just plastic. This durable, versatile material is often hailed as one of the best and worst inventions of the 20th Century, and its vices and virtues are one and the same. For example, the fact that it doesn’t degrade makes it an excellent material for day to day items, but once we have disposed of it this becomes a disaster for the environment. Just like the bags, we simply must just try to buy less plastic, buy recycled plastic and recycle the plastic that we are able to recycle.
Personal cost – low.
This is the question that you should ask yourself for anything that can be repaired or needs replacing. Just like the with the car in point 2, sometimes spending money on fixing or adjusting something can save you money overall. The same can go for appliances; it may come to pass that the energy expended making your new energy efficient appliance is more than would be produced if you just repaired what you already have. There isn’t always a simple answer here and some research is required, but it’s worth it; saving the world can’t always be simple!
Personal cost – could be low, medium, or high, depending on the item in question.
Much like a diet, thinking about spending less at Christmas might seem alien, but this is one of the most important steps an environmentalist can take. The amount of energy needed to make just one t-shirt is enormous and in the UK alone we spend more than £50 billion a year on clothes. Buying less will reduce your personal footprint hugely.
Personal cost – buying less means spending less, so this is better than low cost, it’s a negative cost!
While these are not new ideas, it helps to take a moment when facing a new year and think about the changes, both for ourselves and for others, you want to make. Once you’re done recycling all the wrapping paper and put the decorations away, the world is still out there needing our help. Between us, we can make a difference.