Going Green: The First 10 Steps
By Alice Beckett
We all know that ‘going green’ is an essential thing, but it can be overwhelming at times. So here are ten small, day-to-day changes that create a big impact for the environment.
- Recycle your waste
Divide your recycling bins into glass, plastics, paper, and cans. (Remember to clean and rinse the objects before).
- Turn the light off
One of the easiest ways to save energy and also money is to turn off the light!! By turning off your light you could be saving between 10-20 percent of your household electricity usage.
- Green your transportation
By greening your transport you can save yourself a ton of money and the best way to travel to work is to walk or cycle, not only can you count this as your daily exercise but you are also making your carbon footprint smaller. If work is too far to do this, then why not pick up a work colleague on the way, this saves petrol and money.
- Ban the bottle
Ban the plastic bottle from your routine! This may be the most difficult task for someone ‘going green’, however, once you make this your habit you will not turn back! Get yourself a reusable bottle to use every day and you will keep mother earth and your wallet happy and healthy.
- Stop junk mail arriving through your letterbox
The estimated decomposition of paper takes two to five months. By putting an end to your junk mail arriving through your post box you are saving not only paper but – water, fuel, and energy as these resources are all used in order to send you a catalogue you forgot you signed up for. A sapling takes a minimum of 15 to 20 years to grow into a tree but less than ten minutes to be felled. For every ton of paper that is recycled 17 trees are saved.
- Conserve water
There are over a hundred ways to conserve water in your household, here are just a few for a first-time greener…
- Find and fix those annoying leaks you have never got around to fixing.
- Turn the water off before a vacation
- Switch to a low flow showerhead
- Always fill the dishwasher for maximum use
- Capture rainfall to water your plants later on
- And finally… always support local conservation efforts
- Eat local foods
Become a ‘Locavore’, these are people who choose to eat seasonal and locally grown food. This is the tastiest and most efficient way to shop as you are supporting the local economy also! (You could even take your reusable bag with you).
Making the choice to compost has incredible benefits for you and your home – small choice, big impact. This idea is inexpensive as there is no need for fancy equipment, as you can make your own or buy one for a minimal cost. So get composting now!
- Embrace meatless Mondays
Studies suggest that cutting out meat for one day or more a week can halve your chances of chronic illness such as obesity and diabetes. Not only will meatless Monday impact your own health but also the environment as the meat industry generates so much of the greenhouse gas emissions. This is also the perfect chance to try out some amazing and delicious vegan or vegetarian recipes.
- PLANT A TREE
As you have now completed your first nine steps to becoming greener it is now your opportunity to give back for the time you were not so green. This is by far the most enjoyable and rewarding step, so head outside to plant a tree in your garden. Or come and plant a tree with Greenpop! Sign up here to receive updates on our tree planting volunteer opportunities!
For this year’s Women’s Day in South Africa, we want to introduce a woman in sustainability who inspires us daily. After earning a Master’s degree in Development Studies, she joined Greenpop in 2014. When she is not heading up programmes across Sub-Saharan Africa, you can find her spending time with her family, tending to her garden, practising Italian, and searching for the best pizza in the Mother City. Get to know Zoë Gauld-Angelucci!
World Environment Day is organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and has been held annually since 1974. The goal of the day of action is to promote environmental awareness and draw attention to crucial concerns around our planet’s survival, that require active engagement and commitment. Today, the day represents one of the largest global platforms for environmental action, with millions of participants from around the world. Each World Environment Day focuses on a specific issue that reflects urgent problems and challenges of our time, such as climate change, biodiversity loss or pollution.
Composting is surprisingly easy with these 4 steps – you can even do it at home, and don’t need a lot of space.
Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.