20 Things You Can Do To Save The Planet

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20 Things You Can Do To Save The Planet


Save the planet? That's far too ambitious for me, isn't it? Not at all.

There are actually all kinds of small and simple ways you can do to reduce food waste, avoid single-use plastic and get involved in all sorts of issues and campaigns. Let's get going.

Georgina Wilson-Powell

Wed 9 Jan 2019

As individuals, we have control over how much plastic we purchase and how much fresh food we waste. Thankfully, it's never been easier to make eco-friendly choices that can go a surprisingly long way.

Here are 20 tiny but mighty ideas for how you can save the planet. Let's start scrolling and get saving.

20 Things You Can Do To Save The Planet

19 things you can do in 2019 to lighten your impact on the planet

1. Shop Zero Waste To Save The Planet

Purchasing less plastic is a brilliant way to save the planet. It is growing increasingly popular and increasingly easy. There are now zero waste stores popping up all over the UK!

If you happen not to have one nearby, then there are all plenty of online plastic free stores you can use as well.

table of jars with spoons on top

Do you have a zero waste shop near you?

2. Eat For Pleasure To Save The Planet

Eco-chef Tom Hunt describes why the joy of eating natural, sustainably sourced and high-quality food is a delicious way to save the planet.

“The first principle of my Root to Fruit Eating sustainability philosophy is to eat for pleasure. Taking joy from the food we eat, is a sensorial experience that connects us with nature.

This, caring about what we eat, its origin and even its flavour, are all factors that lead to a delicious and nourishing diet that can improve not just our own health but the health of the environment.

In this sense eating for pleasure can literally regenerate our ecology from the soil to the insects, bugs and birds flying through the air.”

Tom Hunt is the author of The Natural Cook: Eat the Seasons with Root to Fruit (Quadrille Publishing Ltd); owner of award-winning Poco in Bristol and a Guardian columnist.

man standing in front of brick wall and black board

Tom Hunt is an eco-friendly chef who loves root to fruit eating

3. Do A Plastic Audit Of Your Bathroom

Wouldn't it be great if you could just save the world from your bathtub? Well, you can in a way!

Giving your bath and beauty routine a little eco overhaul is a simple trick that the environment will thank you for. Could you swap just one or two items for plastic-free alternatives?

There are some fantastic, zero waste shower gels, metal razors and hard bar shampoos on the market these days.

Need a little motivation to switch things up? Learn out about Microplastics And Why Are They Harmful.

Swap handwash for a proper old fashioned bar of soap - its plastic free

Hard bar soap is having a resurgence because it's locally made and plastic free

4. Waste Less Food To Save The Planet

When it comes to being more eco-friendly, this is a huge one. Tessa Clarke, co-founder of food sharing app, Olio explains:

“Did you know that if food waste were to be a country, it would be the third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, after the USA and China?”

She also tells us that “Half of all food waste takes place in the home." This is why not over-buying or throwing out those leftovers is one of the easiest and most impactful ways you can save the planet this year.

Using the OLIO app to share your unwanted/ extra with your neighbours is another great method for cutting down your food waste.

Man typing on phone

Olio is a free food sharing app - it's time to get involved

5. Save The Planet By Supporting Local Businesses

It sounds obvious but local artisans, crafters and makers are often sustainable by virtue of using local materials. This helps the planet by reducing air miles and supporting planet friendly practices like upcycling.

Woman in colourful shop

Room 212 is a fantastic hub for artists and designers on Gloucester Road in Bristol

6. Cure Your ‘Vliegschaamte’

Trust the Dutch to come up with a word for ‘flying shame’. Embrace slow and local travel this summer. Not only is this is so much better for the planet in terms of producing less CO2, but it means you won’t have to do the dreaded security queue shuffle with bags, iPad, skincare miniatures and so on.

There are so many exciting holiday opportunities in Britain or, if you are keen to get out of the country, there are greener ways to go abroad.

Also, check out Travel section for lots more eco ideas.

Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands

Embrace slow travel by catching the train instead of flying

7. ‘Shop Your Values’ To Save The Planet

Whether you’re looking for vegan friendly shoes, locally produced shirts or social enterprises that help traditional artisans, there’ll be a new ethical fashion brand for that.

Put the effort in and you’ll have a unique wardrobe that will go the distance.

Sign up to our weekly pebble post newsletter and we'll send you a free A-Z Guide to Ethical Fashion too!

black Man in ethical fashion label Lyme Terrace by a canal

British menswear label Lyme Terrace make organic cotton shirts that you'll love forever

8. Master No Waste Veggie Stock

Benn Hodges, head chef at EatFirst, thinks we can save the planet through our taste buds. This UK gourmet takeaway company maintains an almost 0% food waste kitchen! Ben advises:

"Use the trimmings from your veg to create a delicious natural vegetable stock. Simply bring to the boil and leave to steep overnight in the fridge."

This means no more veggie waste, and you'll always have the building block for stews, soups and more in the bag.

vegetables on a table

50% of food waste happens at home. What can you do to combat it?

9. Join A Beach Clean Or River Litter Pick For The Planet

Surfers Against Sewage, Plastic Patrol and the Marine Conservation Society consistently organise big beach and river cleans. Or you could undertake your own #2minutebeachclean and tag the photos using that hashtag! Preserving our precious oceans is crucial for saving the planet.

Check out our eco events for details on the latest beach cleans and other volunteering events

Man standing with surf board on plastic strewn beach

Surfers Against Sewage have been instrumental in helping local communities to get rid of single use

Image SAS

10. Ah Microplastics: Our Planet's Nightmare

Just when you thought you had a handle on the plastic catastrophe, there’s an invisible planet compromising culprit to tackle. Microplastics have basically turned our oceans into a plastic minestrone soup, turning up in our guts, our water and millions of fish and birds stomachs.

So what can you do to save the planet from these tiny terrors? You can combat microplastics through your washing machine. We’ve seen a huge rise in people using the GuppyFriend bag and if you haven't got on board with this yet, now's the time!

You simply put your clothes inside it, throw the bag in the machine, and let it capture the microplastics. This stops them from being washed into our water system.

Hand turning washing machine on

How often do you wash your clothes?

11. Plastic Free Periods Can Save The Planet

The Marine Conservation Society found 20 tampons and sanitary items per 100 metres of shoreline in their 2016 beach clean-up. Pretty gross for us, pretty fatal for marine life.

The good news? There is now a huge array of organic and/or plastic free period brands. Here are our favourite ones.

Leakproof period underwear for plastic free periods

Knix make period proof underwear that can be rewashed and reused

12. Lease Your Jeans To Rescue The World

Denim is one of the most water-guzzling fashion fabrics in the world. Ethically made jeans can be pricey, but you don't have to stretch the purse strings too far to save the planet. MUD Jeans are very cool, and they have a lease scheme.

You pay a small amount per month for a pair that have free repairs, plus, you get to change the model each year! Simply send your old pair back and they'll be made into new jeans for other people.

Take a look at our favourite ethical denim brands

woman sitting on bench wearing jeans

A traditional pair of jeans use 1,800 gallons of water to make. How long do you wear yours for?

13. Invest In Long Lasting Items

You can do wonders for the world, not to mention your bank balance, by investing in a few good quality essentials that will substitute the single-use everyday items you use.

We're talking bamboo cutlery for lunches on the go, stainless steel lunch boxes, beeswax or soy wraps, SodaStream machines. No one says you have to get everything at once, it took us months to assemble a zero waste kit!

Bamboo cutlery in a pouch on a blue wooden background for your zero waste kit

Pick up a lightweight set of bamboo cutlery to avoid throwaway plastic

14. Light Body, Light Mind, Light Soul...Light Planet

“Easily let go of things that no longer serve your body, mind and soul by either repurposing them or offering them to someone who might need them” says Anca Stefania Iorgulescu, founder of new ethical fashion brand, DAS MATIA.

Tara Button, founder of BuyMeOnce, also talks to us about embracing minimalism and decluttering when you're shopping.

Woman sorting clothes

Decluttering is good for the soul and the planet

15. Embrace The plants To Save The Planet

You may well be tired of hearing it, but what you choose to put on your plate really can help to save the planet.

Even if you want to support organic farming, cutting down on factory farmed meat and fish sends a message to supermarkets and reduces the demand for industrially farmed produce.

Yes, it's controversial and complex but, overall, eating more plants and less meat is a delicious, easy and healthy way to reduce your food's carbon footprint too.

Need some plant recipe inspiration? Here are our favourite vegan cookbooks.

Hand turning page of book

Do you need some plant based recipe inspiration for 2019?

16. Open Dialogue Could Save Our Planet

We all have to shop somewhere, and sadly greenwashing is widespread these days. So, how can you know who to trust?

Does your favourite brand really have an ethical supply chain? Do they use plastic packaging? Do they support properly paid workers? Don’t be afraid to ask brands questions and challenge their assertions.

The power to make a change is in your pocket. Not to put too fine a point on it: spend your money on brands that give a shit like you do!

Clothes hanging on a rack

Challenge your favourite brands and hold them accountable to their assertions

17. Save The Planet With Your Wardrobe

Do you love a challenge as much as you love the earth? Do you think you could go a year without buying any new clothes?

There are so many ways to shop vintage and secondhand now - from pop up second shops and charity shops to reselling websites (hello Depop and Etsy). You can even rent clothes with these new circular fashion models.

Girl in a clothes shop browsing rails

One of the most sustainable - and budget friendly - things you can do is not buy any new clothes

18. Make And Mend To Save The Planet

Saving the planet can be as simple as rekindling a few old techniques that your mum and your gran may well be able to help you with. If you aren't into sewing, then visit a local Repair Cafe where experts in tailoring can get you fixed up.

These services don't just exist for clothes! You can find repairs shops for everything from bikes to furniture. Many places will also be happy to take the time to show you some of their mending and upcycling techniques too.

Old-fashioned sewing machine

Repair and recycle well-loved clothing and household items

19. Conquer Your Carbon Footprint For An Eco Future

We've saved this big-footed factor to the end. To save the planet, we all need to calculate our carbon footprints, and make them lighter. This sounds vague, but there are plenty of actionable ways to reduce your carbon to do it that will not encroach on your quality of life whatsoever.

Ethical blogger Besma Whayeb, from Curiously Conscious, says:

"I love using the simple carbon footprint calculator that Spark Sustainability have created, which takes into account the size of your home, how much you drive, your air miles, your diet, and your shopping habits.

By reducing just one or two of these, you can save a measurable amount of CO2 emissions!"

Foraging on the Brecon Beacons for 1,000 Footsteps

To save the planet, we all need to calculate our carbon footprints, and make them lighter.

20. Save The Planet With Perseverance And Small Steps

The phrase alone: 'save the planet' sounds overwhelming. But look around you. What small decisions today could you do differently tomorrow? Which areas of everyday life could you use less plastic in? Less carbon? Less energy? Just less?

Focus on the local and the every day, make small pledges to yourself and be easy on yourself. You don't need to overhaul your habits overnight.

Work towards some of the achievable goals we've covered here, enjoy ticking them off and then witness them become second nature. Keep an open mind and think about your impact. Share your ideas and actions with the tag #EverydayActivism.

Are you inspired to make some more changes?

Here Are Another 7 Surprising Ways To Save The World For Free

Still wondering why fashion is such a big part of saving the planet?

Here's what Mariana Jungmann has to say about modern fashion

After ways to make a bigger splash?

Read About Tips And Tales From A Lifetime Of Activism

Man planting vegetables

Small, consistent steps is the key to developing sustainable habits

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