The New Year is upon us and many will be taking 2015 as a fresh start and thinking about ways to better themselves in the coming months. Why not make this year’s resolution a green one? Here are my top five tips to help you lead a sustainable 2015.
Buy and eat local
Supporting your local greengrocer will reduce the carbon footprint of your groceries and will often offer better value and quality than large supermarket chains. Sheffield has plenty to offer in the way of sustainable fruit and veg: make a trip to Fruit-A-Peel, New Roots, Beanies or the Moor Market for a wide selection of local produce. There are also lots of vegetable box delivery schemes in Sheffield offering you produce that’s fresh and in season. The same goes for grabbing lunch or eating out: sample what the local outlets have to offer at lunchtime around West Street or visit the numerous independent restaurants on Ecclesall Road, Sharrow Vale road or Abbeydale road for dinner.
Have a Meat Free Monday every so often or, if you’re brave enough join the Veganuary pledge this month. Livestock emissions currently account for 14.5% of global greenhouse gases, so opt for the veggie option every now and then to reduce your environmental impact. If you need some cooking inspiration, there are loads of great websites full of delicious seasonal vegetarian and vegan recipes.
Ditch bottled water
Bottled water uses about 2.7 million tons of plastic each year, which is why the Student’s Union no longer stocks it. A recent study revealed the scale of our plastic problem finding over five trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans. Grab a reusable bottle and fill up at home or at any of the numerous water fountains across campus.
Use less energy at home
Turning your central heating down by just 1°C can save you £50 a year as well as conserving precious energy. Try hang drying your clothes instead of machine drying. Doing weekly communal washes and dries in the tumble dryer will also prevent waste. If everyone in Sheffield stopped using their tumble dryer, this would be the equivalent of taking 2400 cars off the road!
The clothing industry is often overlooked when people think of reducing their carbon footprint. However, the carbon footprint of one t-shirt for example, is estimated to be about 20 times its own weight at 6 kg! Why not make all your new fashion purchases this year second-hand? Numerous charity shops around the Sheffield stock decent clothes, as well as vintage stores such as Cow, Bang Bang and Brag Vintage. Or check out these two vintage fairs at the end of the month: Sheffield Does Vintage and Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair. Many high street stores will also stock fair-trade or British-made items, so look out for these too to ‘green up’ your wardrobe.
Remember, a good resolution is flexible, specific and obtainable as well as something you can act on regularly! Good luck and I wish you a green New Year.
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