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Five simple steps to becoming more eco friendly this Earth Day

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This Earth Day, make some simple changes in your life to help save the planet.

It sounds dramatic I know. How can you have any significant impact on the planet, or on the damage being done to it, just by making a few small changes? You're only one person after all. However, if everyone makes even just one small change in their life, it can have a huge impact! Some doubted just how successful the 5p tax would be for plastic bag use, yet a few years after it's introduction the number of single-use plastic bags has dropped by over 80 percent!

If doing something as simple as carrying your own bag to the shops can have such a significant impact, just imagine what else can be achieved in the next few years.

Many people want to help the environment, but they aren't sure how to or they are just too stuck in their habits to do so. For such people making lots of changes at once can be overwhelming, leading to only short-term success. The only way to truly help the environment is a lifestyle change, where we are more aware of what we buy, what we use and what we waste. However, this doesn't have to happen all at once. 

It is surprisingly easy to make those first few changes, which will inevitably get you thinking more about what you are using and how you could be helping the planet, rather than hurting it. Simply put, you just need to start making a few simple changes, the rest will happen organically as you realise how easy and important it is.

To help get you started we have come up with some easy changes you can make:

1. Cut down on plastic consumption

If you haven't bought into the bags for life craze yet, try getting started now! It can be a little difficult to remember at first, but if you leave a bag in your coat pocket or the handbag you always carry you should find you always have a bag for the occasion. Also, bring your own bag for loose fruit and vegetables, rather than relying on the ones provided in shops.

It's not just plastic bags though. There is still an inexcusable amount of plastic being wasted each year, a great deal of which ends up in our oceans killing wildlife. 

Resist the urge to buy plastic straws and refuse to accept them in restaurants and cafes. They really aren't necessary and add little, if anything, to your dining experience. 

Similarly, avoid disposable cutlery, carry a reusable water bottle around rather than buying lots of plastic bottles and carry a reusable coffee cup instead of buying a new one each time. For lunch, bring your own re-usable containers rather than buying food from a shop, as you use less packaging and save money. These small changes are easy to make, though they might feel strange at first, and will help lessen plastic wastage.

Additionally, avoid buying products with excessive packaging and buy bar soap and shampoo rather than the bottles.

2. Make sure you recycle efficiently

Visit your council's website and see how your specific area recycles, otherwise you might not be helping as much as you think you are. You will find that many places do things differently, so it is important to know what you should be doing where you live. 

Don't forget there are more ways to recycle than just separating your plastic and tin! Collect old clothes and footwear that you no longer need and either donate them to charity shops (if they are in good enough condition) or throw them in clothes bins, which can be found at places like supermarket carparks. To find your nearest clothes bin follow the link here

Of course, it is also important to remember to recycle when out and about. While there may not always be the option to, at least have a look for recycling bins. It is becoming more common to see bins which each have a particular use, so make sure to pay attention and throw away the appropriate rubbish in each bin. 

3. Don't waste electricity

One of the simplest changes you can make, and yet one often which is forgotten.

This should be especially easy to try and start doing now, as the summer months mean longer days and more time to enjoy natural daylight. 

If you are not using a room make sure to turn the lights out. This goes for corridors and garden lights as well! 

4. Don't waste water

Yes, that age-old tip to turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. A reminder said so much to children that we must all fight the urge to rebel the minute we hear it. Yet, despite the irritating number of times we might have heard our parents say this to us, the advice is no less important. 

If you are not using the tap, even for a short while, turn it off! Whether this is brushing your teeth, cleaning fruit and vegetables for dinner or having a shower. 

5. Driving might not always be the answer

Cars can have a pretty significant impact on the environment, releasing dangerous emissions, including greenhouse gases. If you don't own a car that is considered eco-friendly (emits low carbon compounds when it runs), it is a good idea to try and decrease your impact on the world around you. Ways to do this range from carpooling and catching public transport to cycling or walking.




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