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Make a New Year’s resolution today!

All Areas > Environment > Save the Planet

Author: Lois Barnes, Posted: Wednesday, 24th December 2014, 08:00

It’s New Year’s resolution time. Some of you may promise to go to the gym more, some of you may decide to drink less, while others have simply given up on the whole ‘resolution thing’. It’s not just about you though – we should all be doing our bit to create a much healthier environment, and a resolution is a perfect way to get started.

Say no to bags
Since the Welsh Government introduced the charge for single-use carrier bags, the distribution has reduced by up to 96% in some retail sectors. Over four billion bags are thrown away each year in the UK, many of which litter landscapes and threaten our wildlife.

So, when you head to the High Street to hit the January sales, take a ‘Bag for Life’ or two. They’re stronger than plastic or paper bags, meaning they can hold more weight – great for you, not so great for your finances. Once you get used to remembering your reusable bag, it’ll be second nature and a small step towards cleaning up our towns, cities, countryside, rivers and seas.

Make it habit
We all have everyday habits – brushing our teeth, dressing, eating regular meals, exercising, etc. Habits by nature are easy to maintain, and it’s not difficult to pick up new ones either. Recycling should be a priority habit – it’s certainly very important.

When you buy a bottle of coke, wash it and use it as a water bottle for the gym. When you print off too much paper, use both sides before recycling. When you cook too much food, freeze some of it (if appropriate) for an easy meal next time. Just make sure anything that can be recycled doesn’t end up in your general waste bin.

New year new car
Want to treat yourself and do something good for the environment too? Try investing in the most fuel-efficient car you can find. Electric and hybrid cars are becoming more and more popular and, as well as being more efficient, could reduce or eradicate your road tax – bonus!

Alternatively, why not try to use public transport more or ‘car share’ with friends or colleagues travelling in the same direction as you?

Start them young
By involving the whole family, you can teach children from a young age that being environmentally friendly is a great thing to do. Children are particularly impressionable – if they see you doing something good, they are likely to copy. They also love positivity so if you praise them for turning a light off or putting a piece of card in a recycling bin, they will want to do it again.

Palms off palm oil
Finally, palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet and is in hundreds of everyday products – from lipstick to pizza. It grows in the same areas as tropical rainforests, and the uncontrolled clearing of land for plantations has led to widespread loss of irreplaceable habitats – home to many already endangered species.

The good news is that palm oil can be produced in an environmentally responsible manner, so you don’t have to give up these products. Just make sure the packaging displays either the RSPO or Green Palm Sustainability labels – both mean the oil is from sustainable sources.

Make a positive start!
There are so many more resolutions you could make – save water, make a compost pile, cut down fast food, volunteer for a charity, donate items you don’t need or use, and many more. Even picking just one thing that will help the environment is a fantastic thing to do – just think of the impact if everyone else on the planet did the same!

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