Three Simple Ways You Can Be A Greener Consumer
Concern about the state of the environment is widespread, and many people would like to know how to live greener livestyles without disrupting their daily routines too much.
This article outlines several consumer choices you can make to live in a more environmentally-conscious way, without having to compromise your quality of life.
These days, most people are concerned about the environment and are looking for ways to live a greener lifestyle.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy, as there is much conflicting information around, and inconsistent guidance on how to create a daily household routine that is easy to keep to over time, while making a tangible reduction to your carbon footprint.
For these reasons and more, we’ve created an easily actionable guide which outlines three things you can do to help the planet on a daily basis.
1. Eat Less Meat
Did you know that if everyone in the world went vegan today, it could save 8 million human lives by 2050? And 200 million animal lives per year? Plus reduce greenhouse emissions by one-third?
Vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise for several reasons; whilst animal welfare is of course one of the most commonly cited reasons for going vegan, other reasons include the environment, health, and growing awareness of what goes into our food.
As far as the environment goes, going vegetarian or vegan is one of the best choices you can make for the planet. Every year, up to 5,800 square kilometres of Amazon rainforest is destroyed for the land to be used for cattle ranches. Not to mention, the JBS meat production company (the firm that supplies meat to McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, and supermarkets), produces a whopping half of the carbon emissions of fossil fuel companies like Shell.
The death toll of the meat industry is undeniable; every year 77 billion land animals are slaughtered for food, along with a shocking 2 trillion fish in 2018 alone. But even if you're not one of us 'fuzzy-wuzzy animal lovers', have you considered the human cost?
The Amazon rainforests are home to a variety of indigenous peoples whose homes and lives are put at risk by deforestation caused by the meat industry. The meat producer JBS has also been linked to suppliers who have illegally seized indigenous lands and even trafficked and killed indigenous peoples.
2. Have A Greener Spring Clean
Did you know that many cleaning products contain sodium hypochlorite (bleach), ammonia, and sodium hydroxide?
These cleaning chemicals can do serious damage. For example, bleach is a probable carcinogen (i.e. a substance that increases the likelihood of developing cancer). These cleaning substances also trigger allergies, asthma, and skin conditions - among other issues.
In terms of the environment, commercial cleaners are responsible for several different types of pollution. The VOCs (volatile organic compounds) found in cleaners can affect air quality both indoors and outdoors, while the microbeads contained in some cleaning products can get into the water supply, affecting the water quality of rivers and streams, and causing the natural wildlife to become ill or die.
So, what can you use instead?
There are two options, make your own, or buy a product.
Making Your Own
Making your own cleaning fluid is relatively straightforward, but not all cleaners are suitable for all surfaces, so this will require some research. For example, many homemade cleaners use vinegar - but add a little bleach to the mix, and suddenly you’ve got tear gas!
Instead, try these solutions:
Baking soda - Use to scrub off grease, dirt, and burnt-on food. It also works as a lightening agent to remove stains.
White vinegar - Dissolves scale, eliminates mould, and removes soap residue.
Essential oils - Helps to make your cleaners smell better.
Lemon juice - Smells great, acts as a stain remover and an antibacterial. Can't ask for much more than that!
Castile soap - Natural soap, usually made with vegetable or olive oils.
Buying An Existing Product
There are lots of products on the market, so it can be difficult to know which are the best options. Many logos for eco-friendly products can be found here. You can check these to find out exactly how each eco-friendly product was produced.
3. Go Electric!
Out with the coal and in with the new!
Electric cars are on the rise, seeing a 65% increase in sales between 2017 and 2018. With zero exhaust-emissions, they generate up to 66% less CO2 than a regular fossil-fuel-powered car produces over its lifetime. Yet despite this, some electric cars can have their parts reused; the BMV electric i3 is up to 95% recyclable!
And it's not an either/or option too; thanks to new advances in Hybrid electric cars, you can keep the comfort and security of a back-up 'fuel tank' when you're low on electricity!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Belsey is a B2B magazine editor and digital marketing agency owner.
Alex writes about topics ranging from politics, to economics, business, marketing, health, wellbeing, and environmentalism.