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January 26, 2021 3 min read

It’s been a long time since striving to live in a more environmentally-friendly way was simply the preserve of ‘eco warriors’! Today, more and more of us are becoming aware of the needless damage caused to our planet by manmade factors. And for 2021, you might have decided to do something about it. In fact, according to a recent poll, almost nine in 10 of us have vowed to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle this year.

There’s much more to environmentally conscious living than recycling, though. Here are just seven things you might opt to do this year to help protect the only Earth we have.

Switch to more energy-efficient lighting

This should be an easy enough one to motivate yourself to do, given that, as explained by Energy Saving Trust, energy-efficient lighting helps to lower your carbon footprint andyour electricity bills.

The organisation says that replacing all of the existing bulbs in your home with LED lights could slash as much as 65kg from your carbon dioxide emissions – the carbon equivalent of driving about 220 miles in your car.

Shop second-hand and vintage

The ‘vintage’ trend has especially picked up among eco-conscious fashionistas in recent years.

No longer are local charity shops simply where your grandparents went for bargain clothing. Now, many of us who are eager to do the right thing for the climate are doing the same, discovering pre-loved fashion gems in the process. And of course, the same principles apply to items other than clothing – books, toys, board games, ornaments, old CDs and vinyl records... you name it.

Give away perishable food before you travel

Hopefully, we’ll actually get an opportunity to do some travelling once summer arrives! But if you areset to embark on a holiday or work trip anytime soon, we’d suggest you first check the ‘use by’ dates for any items in your fridge.

Food waste is a huge issue in the UK. So, if you do realise any of your perishable food in the house is about to expire, either consume it yourself if you can, or donate it to others who need it.

Use environmentally friendly toilet paper

Yes, even your toilet paper can be made gentler on the planet! According to GreenMatch, the average person uses 100 rolls a year, and it takes at least 17 trees to create a tonne of paper rolls.

It’s no wonder, then, that many of us are increasingly turning to the much more sustainable option of eco-friendly toilet paper made out of bamboo, which grows at an astounding rate of 39 inches every 24 hours.

Adopt a more sustainable beauty regime

This is another area where there are all kinds of things you can do to treat the Earth better. Packaging-free options are available for the likes of shampoo, conditioner and body wash bars, for instance.

You might also choose biodegradable face wipes, or even simply use a flannel with an oil-based cleanser when you need to remove your make-up at the end of the day.

Drive a more eco-friendly car

One of the more eye-catching government announcements of last year was the news that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars would be banned from 2030 – five years earlier than previously anticipated.

In any case, electric and hybrid cars have already been rising in popularity in recent years, thanks in large part to their lower overall emissions compared to their petrol and diesel counterparts.

Vehicles running on these fuels are a major contributor to carbon emissions. So why not make 2021 the year you switch to a car that really does do the right thing for our planet?

Embrace the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra in the office

Whether you spend much of this year continuing to work from home amid coronavirus restrictions, or you do return to the company office in 2021, there are plenty of things you can do to bring your office practices up to scratch for the eco-conscious 2020s.

One simple tip is to have different containers for different types of products. Paper, plastic and soft drink cans can be easily placed in recycling bins, instead of everything being thrown out in one bin.

Some of these steps will be easier for you to take than others, but one thing’s for sure – we can all do at least something to live more sustainably this year. Even some of the seemingly smallest changes to our lifestyles all count when it comes to protecting our planet.