The past two years have been uncertain yet eye-opening. Transport halted, factories went quiet, and we saw carbon emissions drop drastically. Yet, there has been a positive outcome as everyday consumers, like yourself reading this, are becoming more concerned about climate change and how lifestyle impacts the environment.
It’s evident that consumers’ awareness of environmental issues has heightened, with several landmark changes throughout the year. In this blog, we have summarised a few of the crucial changes that we have seen in 2021 and ways you can join in on the movement for a more sustainable lifestyle into 2022.
Increased Push for Recycling
In 2021, we have seen a huge increase in items being produced, which we expect to continue to rise into 2022. It is thought that up to 80% of what we throw away could be recycled; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers utilise recycling as they should.
Many countries, including the UK, have pledged to be greener and aim for more sustainable living, with specific targets they want to reach by the year 2030, such as renewable energy goals and making water cleaner.
Recycling is a resource that needs to be utilised further and is something we can all do to make a difference, even if it is just one positive way we can tackle global warming. As we head into 2022, we expect consumers to embrace recycling and biodegradable options while reducing waste. Upcycling is another fantastic way to embrace preloved items and do your bit for the planet.
Proposed Ban on Single-Use Plastics
EU member states are taking various approaches in banning expanded polystyrene, oxo-degradable plastics and even some plastic items. However, England and Wales are falling slightly behind this initiative, with only proposed talks taking place in 2021, while Scotland and Northern Ireland are introducing bans in 2022.
It’s expected that England will consider limiting many plastic items in April 2023. However, it seems unlikely that single-use items will be banned if filled at the point of sale, with an exception of sit-in dining. Making the change to avoid single-use plastics will help reduce the 295 billion pieces of plastic waste thrown away each year in the UK.
If you want to help reduce the use of plastic straws, you can try using metal, glass, or silicone alternatives alongside a reusable coffee cup for your cafe trips. Take reusable bags on your next shopping trip and reusable utensils when you travel outside. You can even bring bento boxes to your favourite takeaway restaurant to avoid single-use food containers.
COP26 Summit in Glasgow
Following on from the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow, a new global agreement – the Glasgow Climate Pact – was reached. The two-week summit was a critical moment for world leaders, with a strict goal to continue cutting emissions until they reach net-zero by mid-century.
COP26 is crucial in tackling climate change worldwide and is a major stepping stone in discussing the promises made in Paris in 2015. Throughout the summit, over 100 countries joined together to agree on new pledges to reduce climate change, with some countries making legally binding commitments to honour their pledges.
Some of these pledges include:
- Limit global temperature rises to 1.5C
- Reduce CO2 emissions (with plans to meet next year to pledge further costs to this promise)
- Introduce emission-reduction targets for each country (to be reviewed every five years)
- Reduce the use of coal
- Make the switch to clean energy and reduce methane emissions (as per the US-China agreement)
- Support the funding of developing countries to make the switch to clean energy
- Put an end to deforestation by 2030 (pledged by over 100 countries)
Businesses Set to Reduce Carbon Emissions
Businesses of all sizes have voiced their commitment to reducing their own carbon emissions by becoming more sustainable and achieving a net-zero status. However, there have been some concerns about how this plan will be put in place.
As small businesses, in particular, will require support to aid in playing their part by introducing sustainable practices, the Government has been urged to support them by:
- Launching a Help to Green initiative with vouchers for businesses to spend on environmental products and services
- Reducing the capital requirements that banks adhere to when lending for green improvements
- Introducing target-based infrastructure strategies to deliver ZEV charging infrastructure by 2030
- Initiating a scrappage scheme to recycle commercial diesel vehicles in exchange for grants towards cleaner vehicles
Continued Production of Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is a huge threat to our environment and is the major contributing factor to clothing poverty. Unfortunately, the fast fashion industry grew exponentially in 2021 and is expected to reach £66.8 billion by 2025. While this is great news for the economy, it’s terrible news for the planet and smaller, sustainable brands.
Clothing waste is a huge contributor to clothing poverty and is perhaps often overshadowed by the financial implications of fast fashion sales and manufacture. Fortunately, there are many ways we can change our buying habits and become more conscious about the implications of our purchases.
Think about whether fashion purchases you make are necessary or whether you can upcycle something already in your wardrobe. If you purchase new clothes, try to shop for clothes that are built to last, whether that be buying from ethical retailers or checking for Fairtrade logos for a brand’s commitment to sustainability. And, if you do decide to have a clearout of your wardrobe, consider selling it or donating to a local charitable organisation to help local communities.
Increased Interest in Ethical Purchases
While interest in fast fashion soared, surprisingly, interest in ethical purchases also surged. According to a global survey conducted by Accenture, over 60% of consumers admit that they are becoming more environmentally conscious and have even changed their habits, buying more ethically now than they did at the beginning of the year. Of this percentage, 90% said that they plan to continue to make ethical purchases with sustainability in mind.
A great way to commit to ethical purchasing is to shop from GoEthical during 2022. You can buy and sell sustainable, artisan, ethical, pre-loved and eco-friendly products at GoEthical to help make sustainable lifestyle choices. You’ll find a wide range of ethically vetted sellers, as well as a collection of pre-loved items. You can also register yourself to sell any of your beautiful items.
We also recommend checking out our Eco-Friendly Resolutions for the New Year to give you an idea of ways to make eco-friendly resolutions to better the planet. Sign up for our regular newsletter to keep updated on environmentally friendly products and have a green lifestyle. For queries, please email us at email@example.com. We welcome all to our community and look forward to hearing from you.