Green Resolutions for a New Year
From buying local to saving water, here are a few ways to make our world greener.
Persuade your boss to take action
When you're at home, you probably already turn off the lights when you leave the room. But what about at work? Companies have huge bills, and waste resources, by leaving lights on. Lighting makes up about 40 per cent of a company’s electricity bills and leaving the office lights on overnight wastes enough energy to make 1,000 cups of tea. Turning off the lights when rooms aren't in use, cleaning windows to make the most of daylight and investing in energy efficient lighting are all easy ways to make a difference.
Take the family on an eco-friendly holiday
Spend your holidays closer to home. Not having to fly or drive is the simplest way to cut down your contribution to global warming. Train travel is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to get around, and links to destinations in Europe and beyond are getting better all the time.
Buy local, organic, seasonal products
Don’t buy food that comes from faraway places. Stop buying strawberries in winter and start buying fruit that is in season. Buy organic food from local farmers and shop in local shops. This will help support your community
Switch to green cleaning products
Household cleaning products contain a huge selection of chemicals that can be dangerous to us and the environment. But it's relatively easy to find alternatives. Everyday items such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda can keep your home sparkling. But if you don’t want to mix up your own shower gel, there are a lot of eco -friendly products available in the shops.
Give up your car
We all know that petrol-swallowing cars are one of the biggest contributors to global warming, so giving up your car is an obvious way to cut your carbon footprint. If that seems too much to put up with, try reducing car journeys. If all those who drive to work used alternative transport just once a week, it would cut CO2 emissions by more than 10 per cent. Cycling to the shops or walking to school will save on emissions and get you fitter. Car sharing is another solution.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Every household in Britain produces more than a ton of waste annually, almost 80 per cent of which is buried in landfill sites, polluting ground water and producing gases that contribute to global warming. You may already recycle the waste you produce, but what about not producing it in the first place? Little steps like only buying products with minimal packaging and using a mug for tea at work instead of plastic cups can make a big difference. Don't throw things away – fix and reuse them as much as possible, or give them to someone who needs them.
One of the big trends to come out of the green revolution is "swishing" – otherwise known as clothes swapping. Rather than add to the 900,000 tons of shoes and clothes that are thrown away in the UK each year, people are getting together with friends to swap the things they never wear to the items they've always wanted. Earlier this year the country's first large-scale swap shop, Visa Swap, was launched, giving shoppers the chance to swap their unwanted clothes for points that they can spend in the store.
Say no to plastic bags
You might only use a plastic bag for five minutes, but it may take about 500 years to decompose. Yet billions of plastic bags are thrown away every year, ending up in landfill or polluting roads, parks and gardens, and playing a major role in global warming. Several stores are now taking a tougher line by charging per bag or making them from biodegradable materials .
Water is a valuable resource, yet we waste huge amounts of it every day. There are ways of cutting down though, including taking showers – which use only 40 per cent of the hot water needed for a bath – and putting a water saver that can save up to three litres of water per flush in your toilet cistern.
Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets
- amount = quantity
- annually = ever year
- available = you get or buy it
- beyond = further
- bicarbonate of soda = a chemical substance used in baking and sometimes taken with water as medicine
- bill = a written list that shows how much you have to pay for something
- billion = a thousand million
- biodegradable = materials that are changed naturally by bacteria ; they do not damage the environment
- bury = to put under the ground
- car sharing = if two or more people use the same car to get to work or go places
- carbon footprint = the effects that your activity has on the environment and the amount of carbon dioxide that you produce
- charge = to make someone pay
- cistern = a container with water in it that is in every building
- community = neighbourhood
- contain = to have in them
- contribute = add to
- contribution = something that you give or do that makes something successful
- cut = lower
- cut down =reduce , make lower
- decompose = rot; to break down into the smallest parts
- destination = a place that someone or something is going to
- eco-friendly = friendly to the environment
- energy efficient = things that save energy
- environment = the world around us
- flush = the act of cleaning a toilet by letting water through it
- huge = very large
- in season = cheap and easy to get because it is the time of year when they grow
- including = together with
- landfill sites = places where waste is buried under the ground
- large-scale = very big; with a lot of shop assistants and products
- launch = start
- mug = a tall cup used for drinking coffee or tea
- obvious = clear
- organic = something that is grown naturally, without chemicals
- packaging = to put something into a package or paper so that you can sell it
- persuade = to try to make someone do something that you think is right
- petrol-swallowing = cars that need a lot of petrol
- pollute = to make dirty
- reduce = lower
- resource = raw material
- several = many
- shower gel = a kind of liquid soap that you use when you wash yourself in a shower
- solution = answer
- sparkling = shining
- support = help
- swap = exchange; to give something to someone and get something else in return
- tough = hard
- valuable = very important
- vinegar = a liquid that tastes sour and is made form wine; you put it on salad and other food
- waste = things that you do not need any more and throw away or to spend in a way that is not necessary
- water saver = an instruments that reduces the amount of water that comes out of the pipe