5 minor changes you can make to live more sustainably in 2022

Category: News

This year saw world leaders meet in Glasgow for COP26 and the continuing battle against climate change looks set to dominate headlines in 2022.

While big businesses look to invest sustainably, cut the use of fossil fuels, and commit to limiting a global rise in temperature, there are plenty of small steps we can all take to do our bit at home.

Here are five simple ways to lower your carbon footprint and to live more sustainably as we head into a new year.

1. Remember the three Rs

Reduce, reuse, recycle are the three key principles of sustainability.

Whether it’s a single-use plastic or the latest piece of technology, everything we buy has a carbon footprint and an impact on the planet. Thinking twice before you buy a new item could reduce your expenditure, limiting unnecessary purchases and saving you money.

Instead of buying new things, why not reuse those you already have? You might find the item you were about to replace is repairable or you might be able to find an alternative home for it, helping it to escape landfill.

Recycling at home is the simplest way for your household to help the environment and support sustainability. You might even combine the principles of reuse and recycle to “upcycle” clothes or furniture in your home, thereby reducing the new purchases you make.

2. Be thoughtful around the home

Turning off lights, timing and limiting the length of your showers, and switching to LED lightbulbs might seem like small-scale changes that are too insignificant to be effective. But if everyone takes these small steps, the collective effort could have a massive impact.

Earlier in the year, we looked at five apps for ethical and sustainable living in honour of World Environment Day and recommended the United Nations-backed AWorld app.

Use the app to log the daily actions you take, and it will calculate their impact, illustrating the difference you are making while also helping you to form good habits.

3. Reduce the meat in your diet

A study by the University of Oxford, reported in the Independent last year, found that transferring to a vegan diet could reduce your carbon footprint from food by almost three-quarters (73%).

Cutting meat and dairy from your diet has become easier over recent years as the number of vegan-friendly products increases.

Begin by scheduling meat-free days each week and experimenting with dairy alternatives and you might find that new habits begin to form.

4. Walk more and use public transport

Walking is a great way to stay fit and healthy and pedometers are a simple way to monitor the steps you take each day. Get into a walking habit and you’ll find you start leaving the car behind for short journeys.

You might also turn to public transport. While you might not feel comfortable doing this currently, with the pandemic still so much a part of our lives, this should become an increasingly viable option as 2022 progresses.

Carsharing to work, carpooling to pick up children or grandchildren from school, and using a local Park and Ride scheme could all cut your transport emissions and help to improve air quality.

5. Switch your energy provider

Switching to a green energy provider means that you’ll know the energy you’re paying for is sustainably sourced.

You might also find that your current provider offers a green tariff that you can switch to.

These are usually no more expensive than their fossil fuel-based alternatives but could severely cut your household’s carbon footprint.

You might also consider installing solar panels, allowing you to generate your own power. This can be a high-cost approach initially, and takes a while for you to recoup your initial expenditure, but it is a great way to power your home in a sustainable way over the long term.