It’s summer! This is the best time of year to explore your surroundings, be social, and have exciting adventures abroad. All of this activity can be carbon-heavy – but don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to reduce your effect on the environment while still having a great time. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the best eco-friendly actions you can take this summer.
As an added bonus, many of these ethical habits can save you money while saving the planet.
Buy sustainable swimwear – and more
Fast fashion is responsible for 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, so what you wear makes a massive difference. And with countless companies now selling ethically made and recycled swimwear in all shapes, sizes, and styles, it’s now easier to be green. Don’t stop there, although – you can buy eco-friendly garments for any occasion, with plenty of brands on hand to dress you from head to toe with sustainable, fashionable looks.
Of course, you want to go on holiday, it’s summer! And you absolutely should, but it’s best to avoid flying to your picturesque destination. If you fly abroad, it’ll make up 13% of your carbon footprint – but the good news is that it’s really easy to avoid!
You can hop on a train to sunny France or the Netherlands for around £100, which is roughly the same you’d pay for a flight – and you won’t have to deal with the hassle of throwing away your liquids or going through endless security checks.
Cut back on meat
Beef alone is responsible for 8% of the average person’s carbon footprint – and summer is the perfect time to experiment with going vegetarian or even vegan. As the hot weather reduces your appetite and heavy, hot dishes like roast dinners and cheeseburgers feel less appealing, you can be drawn to fresh fruits and vibrant salads.
Follow that impulse, and discover a whole world of vegan and vegetarian alternatives that’ll make it easier than ever to satisfy your hunger while saving the world.
If you’re not ready to give up all meat, just cut out beef. Its production emits twice as much CO2 as lamb, and six times more than pork.
Use a fan instead of air conditioning
When you’re sweltering in the middle of a heat wave, you need the relief of a cold breeze. If you cool down using a fan instead of an air conditioning system, you’ll be helping to avoid as many heat waves in the future.
A fan typically uses 22 times less electricity to produce the same amount of cooling energy, meaning you’ll massively cut your carbon emissions and reduce your energy bills at the same time.
Install solar panels on your roof
If you live in a house, now’s the time to get solar panels. A typical three-bedroom house can save 0.7 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year by going solar.
That adds up to 17.5 tonnes over the panels’ 25-year lifespan – the same as three people’s average annual emissions. And it pays too. The average family in a three-bedroom house will now pay £5,420 for a solar panel system, save enough on energy bills to break even after 10 years, and end up saving a net total of £7,900.
Avoid single-use plastics
Summer is the perfect time for eating outside, whether you’re at a barbecue, picnic, or just relaxing in the park. During these special, sunny moments, it’s easy to fall into the trap of relying on disposable plastic cutlery and plates – but try to resist that temptation.
Instead, rely on bamboo. You can get plates, cutlery, glasses and even utensils made of this cheap, environmentally friendly material – and you can reuse your swish new set for years to come, knowing you’re playing your part in reducing waste.
Take advantage of the good weather by walking or cycling
The days are longer in summer, meaning it’s lighter and warmer until late at night – so take the opportunity to power your own travel by walking or cycling. It’s free and it feels much better than being trapped in a stuffy car, and it’s loads better for the environment.
Did you know, that the average driver produces a massive 24% of their total carbon footprint on the road? Public transport is also a great way to get around. Take a bus, a train, or a tram – as long as you’re not driving, you’re protecting the planet and your wallet.
This article was written by Josh Jackman of The Eco Experts.