5 Easy Ways You Can Stop Damaging the Planet

1. Compost! Millions of tons of rubbish are sent to landfills while you read this article. Landfills are detrimental to the environment in many ways, including using valuable property, contaminating local water systems, and displacing wildlife. They also release toxic gases. The less you send to the landfills, the better it is for the environment. It is easy to begin composting. You can buy a special plastic compost bin to put in your garden/yard. Ours cost about Ã?£20, but prices depend on the size and style you choose. Using a special compost bin will prevent rats, flies, and other pests from flocking to your compost, and so is worth the investment. I have a small bin (trash can) in my kitchen that I empty regularly into the bigger compost bin outside. And it’s easier than ever because you can buy bin liners (trash bags) that are compostable! Good things to compost include: leftovers and other food scraps, tea bags, garden waste, and paper towels. Do not put in anything with chemicals that could be harmful to the environment.

2. Use less electricity! We don’t think about it, but we waste huge amounts of electricity in our homes. For example, turn your appliances off rather than leaving them on standby. A study showed that over Ã?£10 million worth of electricity was wasted each month in the UK alone just because people kept their TVs and VCRs on standby rather than turning them off! You don’t have to change what you use, just turn things off when you’re not using them. Unplug your mobile phone chargers when they’re not charging; turn off lights in empty rooms; use energy saving light bulbs. For more good ways to save energy in your home, see

3. Reuse shopping bags! Experts estimate that 750 billion plastic shopping bags are used each year. Although many stores do have recycling schemes, most people just throw them away and they end up in landfills. They create a lot of pollution in their production, and are bad for the environment after they’re used. They’re also annoying, and quickly fill up your kitchen drawers and cupboards. Avoid this hassle by using reusable bags. You may already have canvas bags you can use, or you can buy them cheaply at most supermarkets. They are more practical and better for the environment.

4. Eat Green! A government report in the UK released in July 2007 estimated that �£9billion a year was spent on food transportation. The food transport industry has a huge carbon footprint. If possible, buy locally produced foods. Not only is it better for the environment, it will support your local environment, and food that has had less transport time is healthier for you too! Living in southern England, I obviously have to buy imported bananas if I want them with my breakfast. However, I buy most of my vegetables (potatoes, corn, parsnips, swede, carrots, onions, etc.) from a local farmer. They are cheaper than buying from the supermarket, and the quality of the food is much higher. Another huge way our eating habits impact the environment is by eating meat. If you eat meat, eat less and try to buy local meat. It takes 78 times as much fossil fuel energy to produce the same amount of beef as soy. The meat industry produces 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the UK (just in the production; more is released by transporting the meat from producer to consumer). Goingvegetarian is best, but it can make a huge difference just to cut back. For good resources about how are eating affects the environment, check out these websites: http://www.bpec.org/node/257, and http://www.vegsoc.org/environment/index.html.

5. Conserve water! This can be as simple as turning the tap off while you’re brushing your teeth. Just try to cut out unnecessary water use. Plant your garden with plants that are indigenous to the area and your climate. If you live in a dry area, don’t plant flowers that will need watering every day to survive. When you do water your outside plants, water them at night so that the water used will be most effective. Never waste water on your lawn. Grass will survive whether or not you water it. Even if it goes slightly brown during the summer, it will be fine and it is a huge waste to use water on it.

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