2020 has been an incredibly challenging year. There have been many negative impacts due the pandemic and the environment has not been without. From disposable PPE to takeaway food and online shopping packaging, there has been an increase in waste.
2021 is almost here and with a promising year ahead it’s the perfect time to set some new year’s resolutions, so why not make some of these green? Here are some suggestions to get you started with your ‘green’ new year’s resolutions.
1. Reduce waste by wearing reusable face masks
Face masks have become a necessity, but they are also resulting in a lot of extra waste. Switching to reusable masks which can be repeatedly washed and worn will help reduce PPE waste to landfill.
Check out DGrade’s face mask collection at www.dgrade.com
2. Cut back on take away/home delivery orders
Takeaway food is delivered in disposable single use containers. Many of these containers are made of materials that are not recycled, including plastic cutlery, black plastic tubs, PLA containers and many others. By reducing your takeaway orders, you can reduce plastic. If you do decide to order takeaway remember to request ‘no cutlery’.
3. Keep the outdoors clean and green
It is worth a reminder as litter has increased in the last 9 months, mainly from disposable face masks. Now that the weather is pleasant more people are spending time outside in the fresh air, but we are seeing an even greater increase in the litter of masks, food, and drink containers. It may seem obvious but always double check to make sure you haven’t accidentally left litter behind and why not take the extra step to pick-up litter someone else may have left behind.
4. Say no to single use plastic bags, cutlery, and straws
It’s been a hot topic for the last couple of years, so if you haven’t yet joined this movement now is the time. Get yourself a good quality reusable shopping bag made from sustainable materials, a high-quality bag will last you for years. Straws aren’t a necessity in most cases so it should be simple enough to say ‘no thank you’. Say no to plastic cutlery and ask your favorite restaurant to switch from plastic to a more sustainable alternative that can be recycled.
5. Learn what can be recycled in your community
A little bit of research will help you understand exactly what and where you can recycle in your community. One of the biggest challenges a recycling company faces is contamination. Putting the wrong items in a recycling bin can be a health and safety issue for workers and cause damage to machines. Simply contact your community management or local waste management company to learn how to recycle properly in your area.
6. Support local food producers
There are many local farms and food producers, by supporting them you’re not only getting great quality fresh food, but you are also lowering your carbon footprint by not relying on food shipped across continents.
7. Reduce consumption
The average person produces at least 2.3kg of waste every day in the UAE. From packaging and food waste to items we no longer want, all this waste goes to landfill where it becomes compacted and releases methane and carbon dioxide over time. Reduce your waste by only buying the food you need, look for items with little and recyclable packaging, and reconsider whether you really need those new pair of shoes and jeans. Another great way to reduce waste and get the items you want is to buy second hand or organize a clothing or small appliance swap.
8. Set yourself a stretch goal
Maybe you're already doing all the above so it might be time to set yourself a more challenging goal. Assess your lifestyle to see where your waste, overuse of resources or carbon footprint comes from. Then set yourself a goal to reduce your environmental footprint such as riding a bike or taking public transport to reduce carbon emissions. There are also a number of local environmental community groups you can join where you’ll have the opportunity to spread awareness for sustainable initiatives or take part in events like beach clean-ups.
Setting resolutions can be overwhelming, but it doesn't need to be. It's an opportunity to make a difference and feed good about what you're doing. Don't be afraid to share your resolutions with someone that can hold you accountable - in the process you may inspire a friend or family member to make similar resolutions!
All the best for a happy, healthy, and greener 2021!
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