By Jomiro Eming
Today, Activate wants to introduce two members from our team, who have made very simple but very effective changes to their daily living that cuts back their carbon footprint, and reduces the amount of waste they contribute to the environment.
We asked Chloé and Ciara to share some of the super-simple things they do, and to show you that making those first steps to changing the way you live are much easier than it sometimes seems.
Chloé is the video editor at Activate. Her and her digs combine efforts to make very small, but very effective and very easy changes to their lifestyles, and encourage others to do the same! This is what she has to say:
“We try to avoid taking plastic bags at the shops. I’m very forgetful, so I don’t always remember to bring a bag with me, but when I get a bag from the cashier I fold it up after I’ve used it – like a little samoosa – and put it in my bag. This way, I always have a plastic bag in each of my handbags or backpacks for when I go shopping.”
This is such a great idea, and a really simple way to pre-empt being forgetful when life gets the better of you – it happens to the best of us! Refuse plastic bags at the shops, and re-use, re-use, and re-use!
“Just don’t do straws. Don’t do it. Sure, no more straws to drink those double vodkas. Straws are fun, but like… so are penguins.”
“We have a bin for garbage, one for recycling (use a clear bin bag) and a compost bin too.”
Separating your waste like this literally takes zero-extra effort, other than aiming where you throw your waste. One small change, one huge difference.
“Wherever possible, we try to reject – or simply reuse – packaging. Wash the plastic containers you got with the donut from your last BP-run, and use it the next time you need to give someone food (instead of giving them your mom’s precious Tupperware).”
We sometimes can’t avoid plastic packaging when we go to the shops, so try re-use that plastic.
Ciara is our Online Editor, and she also makes an effort in her digs to save the environment as much as they can, but without making huge changes to their lifestyles. This is what she has to say about how simple it is to do:
“We recycle our paper, plastic, glass and tin. We do this by keeping a separate bag/box for each recyclable item, and taking them to the recycling bins in the Environmental Research and Learning Center next to Eden Grove.”
We have a place to bring your recycling to on campus! So now the excuse of ‘not knowing’ where the recycling bins are, is unacceptable.
“We use reusable material bags whenever possible when doing our grocery shopping. If we forget the bag or need to get an extra plastic packet, then we always reuse the plastic bags as bin bags.”
This is another great way to repurpose plastic that you can’t avoid buying. Most grocery stores now sell reusable shopping bags, and often the proceeds go to charities or non-profit organisations, so look out for those in particular!
“We always try to use water and electricity sparingly. This means switching off lights when they’re not in use, turning off the water while brushing teeth, etc.”
You don’t always think that switching off a light does a lot for the environment, but the impact of that accumulates to staggering numbers if you do it often. Start a habit of turning off the lights every time you leave a room. It’s simple and easy for you and will have a bigger impact on the environment than you think.
“We avoid using the tumble dryer at all costs – it is only for absolute emergencies. This means that we hang up our clothes to air dry.”
Tumble-dryers consume a huuuuge amount of electricity, and damage clothes a lot more than air-drying does.
“We also only use the washing machine if we have a full load. We don’t waste the water for a small amount of items.”
This is important as well, and if you live alone or in residence, consider sharing washing loads with friends so that you fill up the machine before switching it on.
All of the above are easy to do, they save the environment and they save you money too. It’s a win win situation.
Tell us what you do in the comments below, and let us know whether you already do anything that Chloé and Ciara mention below!