The UK’s largest supermarket chain Tesco announced this week that from 28 August, they will stop selling their single-use 5p carrier bags.
The carrier bag charge was first introduced in Wales in 2011 before Northern Ireland, Scotland and England followed suit. Customers who do not have their own reusable bag will have to buy a 10p ‘bag for life’ which will be replaced for free when it wears out.
It’s the latest step from Tesco to combat carrier bag waste – poly bags dished out by supermarkets can take between 20 and 100 years to decompose, so they’re causing serious trouble in our landfill sites, as well as posing danger to wildlife. By ditching single-use carriers, we’ll be making a huge positive impact on the environment.
Feeling environmentally friendly? Here are some other ways in which you can live a little greener.
1. Drive less
Around 40,000 deaths each year are thought to be related to air pollution – there’s no denying that high levels of car usage are related to this. While public transport can sometimes be expensive the government is currently investing heavily on infrastructure to make it easier and cheaper to use public transport. Use Traveline Scotland to see the best route for your journey or try carsharing by finding out who else is heading in your direction.
2. Charge responsibly
If you’re charging your phone or tablet make sure you unplug your charger once you’re done and turn off the socket when you don’t need to use it. This is even beneficial for your devices as it can permanently damage the battery if your device is left to charge even once it has fully charged and reached 100%. It also saves you money on your electricity bills – another win.
3. Go paperless
It’s 2017, is there really any need for wasting paper like it… grows on trees. If you still regularly receive letters and bills through the door, ask if you can go paperless by changing to digital-only copies. Most banks now offer this and won’t send regular letters like bank statements. Use MPS (Mail Preference Service) to register your address so the amount of junk mail you receive is reduced.
4. Avoid ‘throwaway culture’
We as a nation are hugely guilty of chucking out things that often don’t need throwing away – or binning items which could easily be recycling. Do you ever notice that you’re finding a constant supply of empty plastic water bottles in your car? Buy a water bottle already! It’s cheaper for you since you can fill it up from the tap, and better for Mother Nature because you’re not always adding to landfill with harmful bottles.
Instead of subscribing to ‘fast fashion’ where you regularly update your closet to keep to up with the latest style, trying purchasing higher quality clothes which will mean you don’t need to replace them as often. It’ll also save you money. If you are having a clear out? Hand your items into a charity shop or ‘cash for clothes’ outlet.
With technology evolving all the time these days you should try and recycle your old devices instead of letting them gather dust in a drawer or, worse, sending them to landfill. Look online at Recycle Now (www.recyclenow.com) to find facilities near you where you can dispose of old gadgets.
5. Reduce your food waste
Food may biodegrade, but it’s a massive waste of time, effort, energy and money binning food you don’t want or need – not to mention the fact that others could benefit. In Scotland, we waste over 13.5 million tonnes of food and drink each year. You can avoid waste by planning your meals for the week. Only write down the ingredients you require on a shopping list before heading to the supermarket. This makes it less likely that you’ll be enticed into buying a product that seems to be on offer when you really don’t need it. When ordering from a takeaway or restaurant, if your dish comes with something you have no intention of eating ask politely if they could substitute it for something else or save it because you don’t want it.