The effects of climate change have been ever present throughout 2022. Devastating floods swept through Pakistan in June, lasting three months and affecting 33 million people. The year also saw numerous temperature records broken, which resulted in temperatures reaching 40 degrees in the UK and widespread wildfires across parts of Europe and Australia.
All the while, atmospheric CO2 has never been higher, and our natural resources continue to be depleted at an alarming rate. It's no wonder that in our recent survey of 2000 people across the UK, over a quarter said that their new year's resolution is to be more environmentally friendly. So, what can you do?
First Mile work with over 30,000 businesses to improve sustainability and increase recycling rates in the workplace, click here to get a quote in minutes. Here are our top 6 suggested New Year's sustainable resolutions for a greener 2023:
1. Ditch the plastic bottles for reusables
The average person in the UK uses 175 plastic bottles every year – that's more than three per week, with over half failing to reach recycling facilities. It's definitely worth investing in a sustainable, reusable water bottle.
If you're away from the office, the Refill App lists over 20,000 refill stations nationwide to get drinking water on the go. Thames Water and the Mayor of London are currently installing over 200 new water fountains across the capital. If you must buy a plastic bottle, make sure to dispose of it in the correct recycling bin. With First Mile, that's Mixed Recycling or Single-Use Plastics Recycling.
2. Choose renewable energy
Switch your workplace to a renewable energy provider. Renewable electricity is generated from the likes of hydro, solar, wave or wind power. Renewable gas comes from ‘anaerobic digestion' – the breaking down of biodegradable material, including First Mile's Food Recycling.
These sources do not deplete the Earth's natural resources, or contribute harmful carbon emissions, as with the extraction and burning of oil, gas and coal.
In 2019, renewable energy supply in the UK overtook fossil fuels for the first time. With 100% renewable tariffs are becoming increasingly popular and more affordable.
3. Caffeinate consciously
Americano, latte, flat white – whatever your hot beverage of choice, make sure you have a reusable cup with you when you refuel. In the UK, approximately 7 million paper coffee cups are used every day. Due to the mixture of paper and plastic in their inner lining, these cups can only be recycled at specialist facilities and otherwise end up in a landfill.
First Mile was the first waste provider in London to offer a Coffee Cup Recycling service, giving single-use coffee cups a new life as shopping bags and notepads. Alternatively, if you have an in-office coffee machine, why not recycle your coffee grounds into biofuels?
4. Watch your foodprint
Eating less meat is often at the top of many people's list of new year's resolutions.
The likes of meat-free Mondays and Veganuary have been gaining momentum over the past few years, and for good reason. Livestock farming contributes between 20 and 50% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Many research studies report that reducing meat and dairy products in your diet goes a long way toward reducing your environmental impact.
But it doesn't have to be all or nothing: For many, the year begins by experimenting with cutting down and replacing meat with the likes of other protein sources such as beans, lentils and tofu. You can then decide if it's a habit you'd like to carry on into the coming year.
When it comes to groceries, try your local farmers' market for fresh and regional produce.
Shopping seasonally also avoids the air miles associated with imported food. If you're feeling peckish, January is a good month for apples, pears, beetroot and cauliflower.
5. Shop offline and support local businesses
We're all guilty of internet shopping – any excuse to stay in our pyjamas! Around 20% of purchases made around the world are done online. But whether it's Amazon or ASOS, the transportation involved in delivering millions of parcels across the UK every day has a significant carbon footprint.
If you are shopping online, try to bulk order items rather than ordering multiple single products resulting in separate deliveries. When you have the time, bus, bike or walk to your nearest shops. Buying in-store removes unnecessary carbon emissions and packaging.
6. Conduct a waste audit
After the December festivities Christmas and new year's eve most of us are left with lots of unwanted waste, and we tell ourselves that next year we'll produce less.
A great way to understand where your waste is coming from is by carrying out a waste audit. Instead of throwing out your waste as normal, collect it in one place for a week. You'll then be able to go through it and pinpoint the type of materials you discard the most.
Are there plenty of plastic bottles? Consider using a reusable water bottle as an alternative. Some other examples to look out for include single-use coffee cups, disposable razors and plastic cutlery.
After swapping those single-use items for reusables, you'll be ready to begin the new year with less waste going to landfill.
Can I reduce my landfill waste as a business?
At First Mile, we offer insightful waste audits to all our customers so they can get to know their waste. This helps them save money by setting up different recycling streams instead of throwing things into General Waste.
Click here to get a quote today in minutes.
Can you have a sustainable happy new year?
Living sustainably is all about making small changes and conscious choices. If everyone takes small steps at the beginning of the first month to improve their environmental impact, we can drive major change for the better. So, this new year, what will be your sustainable new year's resolutions?
Wishing you all good fortune for a happy (and green!) new year.