At the SGO, we have a passion for helping people become more sustainable in their everyday lives and educating people as to the best way to go about doing that. One of the key things to remember when it comes to making a difference is you don’t have to make drastic life changes immediately, but making lots of smaller changes can make a big difference overall. In this post, I want to tell you about some of the small things that can collectively be done to make a difference to our carbon footprint on earth.

Plastic Bags: This has been mentioned countless times, and is often the first thing people think of when it comes to sustainability. However, they still deserve a place on this list because using reusable bags will save you money and help with the fight against plastic ending up in our oceans. There are lots of options of reusable bags out there, but when you invest in a one make sure to bring it with you all the time so you are never tempted to pay for a plastic bag again.

Packed lunches: Everyone needs to eat, and those those people who pack their own lunch sometimes resort to cling film, a plastic bag or a non-reusable box when packing up their midday meal. There are so many options to putting together your lunch using reusables. From reusable bamboo cutlery and plastic lunch boxes and mason jars to washable napkins and sandwich wrappers; there are plenty of options to make your lunches more sustainable.

Plastic Water Bottles: Investing in a reusable water bottle is just good sense for anyone to do. I have a few different ones in a few different sizes and use at least one every day. They are sturdier than plain plastic ones and will definitely save you money in the long run. Lots of places will top up your water bottles for free if you ask them, which is always handy for days out or when you’re at work.

Buying Food: Things that we are eating regularly shouldn’t have travelled thousands of miles to get to us. Stop buying fruit and veg that has been imported from another country, or at the very least cut down on it. Sourcing your meat and eggs locally will also help to reduce your overall carbon footprint, and making sure your purchases are wrapped in paper rather than shrink-wrapped or on styrofoam.

Take-away cups: We all love a nice cup of coffee or tea when we are on the go. But, next time make sure you have a reusable cup with you, rather than saying yes to the plastic-lined throw away cup and lid. They are a great investment, especially because some places offer a discounts on beverages ordered with a reusable cup as an incentive.

Eating food: This sounds like a strange addition to this list, but bear with me on this. How many times a week do you resort to takeaway food? How much waste do you think those places generate and do you generate when you purchase from there? The best thing to do is to have a selection of simple and fast meals that you have the ingredients for and know how to cook to prevent being temped by fast food. If you end up getting a takeaway, why not find a restaurant that uses compostable packaging and say no to plastic straws. Another thing you can do is buy food that you can trace the origin of, because anything you can’t track can’t be doing any good to your bodies, let alone the environment.

Toothbrushes: We all brush our teeth every day and eventually end up thrown our plastic toothbrushes away, so it’s not surprising that there are now plenty of places that are selling plastic toothbrush alternatives. If you’re an electric toothbrush user, purchasing new heads that are recyclable and you know how that works. Companies like LiveCoco are working to close the cycle so guarantee that their products can be sent back for recycling.

Limiting your waste: There are lots of tips and tricks for cutting down the amount of waste that your household produces, especially the amount of food waste. Over the past few months, I have produced two posts that would be useful to read if you’re interested in doing this. #actingtogether reducing your carbon footprint and #actingtogether why now is the perfect time to try reducing your waste will both be useful reads if you’re interested in limiting your waste and how to do some bigger thing to reduce your carbon footprint.

Changes to the Office: Somewhere that a lot of people spend a significant amount of their day is at their desk, either in their home or office. There are lots of options here as to little changes that can you make. Things like switching to padded envelopes that don’t have a plastic bubble liner or consider shifting to online banking and receiving online statements, all of which will cut down on paper and make keeping on top of your finances easier. Getting to work should also be an area that you think about making as eco-conscious as possible. If you can’t walk or cycle to work, opt for public transport instead, if that isn’t possible then carpooling is a better option than just one person in a car.

Laundry-related changes: Most of the changes that we are suggesting will also save you money in the long run as well, and that also goes for this section too. Only washing full loads of clothes will mean you have to run your washing machine less often therefore will contribute to reducing your energy bill. Cutting a tumble dryer out of your life will also be another great contributor to reducing your carbon footprint as well as your energy bill – letting your clothes air dry where possible is the best thing to do for the environment. Switching to a more eco-friendly laundry detergent is something else that you can do to contribute to making a bigger difference to your carbon footprint.

The biggest tip that I can give you is to remember that the mantra of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle has two things that come before Recycle. Don’t just think ‘I can buy that because I’ll just recycle the plastic and it will be fine’. Challenge yourself to buy as little plastic as possible and really think of how you can REDUCE the amount of plastic you are buying, seeing what you can REUSE before you resorting to the RECYCLE element.

Just to reiterate, these are just some suggestions of things that you can do. Making any number of these changes will help to reduce your footprint on this earth and the more you do the better you will become.