Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is a phrase we have all become accustomed to over the years, but when it comes to living a sustainable ‘greener’ lifestyle, there is far more to it than simply recycling our plastic carrier bags.
Sustainability is all about conserving the world’s natural resources and supporting a long-term ecological balance, and if we are to reduce global warming and preserve our ecosystems, we all need to become more energy efficient, reduce waste, shop smart and travel wisely.
As consumers, we rely on supermarkets and retailers to provide us with ‘greener’ options, and to a certain extent, they have done so. Most high street supermarkets have replaced their plastic carrier bags with eco-friendly alternatives, but what we put inside those ‘bags for life’ is a different issue altogether.
Many of the food and beverage items we purchase today have a huge carbon footprint (think bananas from the Canary Islands, vanilla pods from Madagascar, and seafood from Asia), and unless they are sustainably sourced from ethical suppliers supporting Fairtrade, we could be shopping for products that are having a negative impact on our plant – but how do we know?
Tesco is the only supermarkets in the UK to offer ‘carbon labelling’ on some of their products, but as it is a timely and costly process, other leading supermarket chains have failed to follow suit.
Looking out for words such as Fairtrade, Organic, and MSC Certified, will help us shop more sustainably, and by purchasing locally sourced produce from UK suppliers we can reduce our ‘food air miles.’
Becoming more energy efficient at home and in the work place is another area that we could all improve on, and by turning off lights, and turning down the heating, and improving insulation we can reduce global warming.
World travel is more accessible than ever before, and as such, we are creating a greater carbon footprint. Simple steps such as taking the bus or train to work or driving an energy efficient vehicle can help offset our annual holiday emissions.
Sustainability is a work in progress, and if we are to achieve our goal, we all need to reduce, reuse and recycle – so why not start with those carrier bags!