Kick start your new year with a few eco-friendly resolutions that will really make a positive impact on the environment in 2022. Saving the environment might sound like an almighty battle, but we can make some small changes in our own homes that will help with the overall fight.
Here are some great, easy ways in which you can cut down waste and help the environment this year.
1. Start using your eco-friendly bags
We are all guilty of having a mountain of re-usable bags piled up in a cupboard somewhere in the house, but why are we not using them? We all have good intentions until we’re at the till in the supermarket and remember that we forgot them – again!
Despite the bag levy coming into place in Northern Ireland nine years ago, we are still wasting an awful lot of money on plastic bags.
Make a point of keeping them in the boot of your car and take them with you every time you’re going into the shops. Try to keep one in your handbag for when you’re just nipping in for a few things. It’s an easy habit to create and one that will really help the environment in the long run. It’ll save you money too.
2. Eat less meat
We’re not telling you to go completely vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter. But why not ditch the meat for at least one day a week? Nowadays, there are so many meat alternatives in the supermarket that you could hardly tell aren’t meat.
According to the BBC, the global food system is one of the leading causes of climate change, land use, freshwater use and pollution through fertilisers and pesticides, and this is only expected to get worse unless we make changes.
Research analysis by Oxford University scientist, Joesph Poore, shows that if every family in the UK swapped a red meat meal to a plant-based meal just once a week, the environmental impact would be the same as taking 16 million cars off the road. That’s pretty impressive, right?
3. Re-think your commute
Do you really have to drive to work or to the shops? Try to reduce the number of times you jump in the car in 2022 and think of alternative transport. You could use public transport, share a lift with a neighbour, cycle or walk at least once a week. By ditching the car, you can reduce the amount of carbon emissions significantly.
4. Give composting a go
Composting is a really easy and inexpensive way to help the environment. It’s a natural process that will transform your kitchen and garden waste into valuable and nutrient-rich food for your garden. Use your brown wheelie bin to do this recycling food and garden waste together.
According to Recycling Now, new research has found that almost half of the food waste in the average rubbish bin could have been composted. There are lots of reasons why you should give composting a go in 2022 such as:
- It saves money
- It saves resources
- It can help improve your soil and make your garden look great all year round
- Your plants and flowers will love it
- It will reduce your impact on the environment
5. Grow your own
If you’re into composting, you’ll love this next idea. Why not try growing your own vegetables in 2022? It’s not as hard as you might think. We’ve created some really simple videos that you can easily follow along.
Check out our horticulturalists Johnny’s top tips on how to grow fruit and veg at home here. He has fantastic tips on how to grow lettuce, broad beans, cabbage, peas and much more all in the comfort of your own garden.
6. Shop local
Shopping locally is a super easy and great way to reduce carbon emissions and grow your local economy. Derry and Strabane has a wealth of local independent businesses that you can support in 2022. Check out our local guide here.
7. Wear your wardrobe
Instead of buying something new every time you have a special occasion, try to ‘shop your own wardrobe’. We’re a nation of fashion lovers but we don’t need half of it. Sift through your own clothes and I’m sure you’ll find something you can re-wear or style with different shoes and accessories.
The apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions by generating a lot of greenhouse gases due to the energy used during its production, manufacturing and transportation of the millions of garments bought each year. Do you really need that new outfit? Try to ditch fast fashion as much as you can in 2022 and you’ll make a positive impact on the environment.
8. Buy less food
Re-think your grocery list in 2022 and start to really think about how much food waste your household is creating. How much food are you putting in the bin at the end of the week because you’ve missed the ‘Use by’ date? We tend to buy more than we ever need and a lot of good food ends up in the black bin.
A great tip to eliminate as much food waste as possible is to start to plan your meals. Love Food Hate Waste has some great resources for you to use depending on the ingredients you have in your kitchen. Plan ahead and only buy the food you actually need.
9. Save water
It takes a lot of energy to pump, treat and heat water so saving water reduces greenhouse gas emissions. There are lots of simple ways that you can save water around the home such as:
- Turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth
- Have a quick shower instead of taking a bath
- Only use the dishwasher when it’s full and don’t rinse plates beforehand
- Ensure the washing machine is full before doing a wash
- Only boil what you need
- Fix leaks
- Collect rainwater to water plants
Why not change some daily habits in 2022 and save water while doing so?
10. Avoid unnecessary plastic packaging
Sadly, most of the plastic we use ends up in the ocean and affects seabirds, turtles, seals and whales. It’s estimated that by 2050, the oceans could contain more plastic than fish. How shocking is that?
A simple thing you can do to help reduce the amount of plastic we’re throwing away is to eliminate it all together. Try to avoid fruit and vegetables that are packaged in plastic. Shop from a local farm shop or choose the loose versions in the supermarket.
On New Year’s Day 2022, France has banned supermarkets and other shops from selling cucumbers wrapped in plastic as well as peppers, courgettes, aubergines and leeks. According to The Guardian, a total of 30 types of fruit and vegetables will be banned from having any plastic wrapping. Wouldn’t it be great if we followed suit?