Today is Earth Day 2016, and while you don’t need to turn off the lights (that’s Earth Hour), this day marks the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, which makes it more important than ever.
To help celebrate Earth Day, we’ve put together the top five ways to help save the planet during your daily commute:
1.Share your car journey to work
Did you know that in the UK, millions of commuters drive to work each day with empty seats in their car? In such a highly efficient world that we live in these days, it’s surprising that workers still drive to offices or sites every day emitting harmful C02 emissions and spending thousands of pounds in petrol and parking, only for their co-workers to all do exactly the same. You could be saving tonnes of CO2 emissions by using only one car for every four people. Carpooling is the new recycling. Try it.
2.Cycle, run or walk your commute
It’s no surprise to learn that people who cycle or walk to work are slimmer than those who drive. But there’s another great benefit too – by cycling, running or walking to work each day, you are contributing towards a reduction in harmful C02 emissions caused by vehicles. A King's College London study found that 9,416 people died earlier than they should have in the capital in 2009 due to air pollution - swapping the tube for a bike or run/walk commute could help significantly reduce this. It’s completely environment-friendly, you get fit, and the world is a green and happy place.
3.Carry a bag for life
When you are passing by the shops on your journey to/from work, take your bag for life. In 2014, British shoppers used 8.5 billion single-use carrier bags, which used up huge amounts of energy and materials in their production and transport. Most of these bags became litter or ended up in landfill sites, which take centuries to break down and are harmful to the environment.
4.Reduce your food wastage
Almost 50% of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes. We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year in the UK, and more than half of this is food and drink we could have eaten. If we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars off the road. So don’t over-buy food, find innovative ways to use leftovers for the next day’s lunch at work, and recycle food packaging from any shop-bought purchases – every little helps.
5.Reuse your water bottle
With the UK using around 15 million plastic bottles per day, it’s estimated that in the next decade, oceans could hold one kilogram of plastic for every three kilograms of fish. Last year, Selfridge’s announced that it would ban single-use plastic bottles in its flagship London store in a bid to reduce wastage and damage to the environment. One recycled water bottle provides the equivalent energy to light a lightbulb for three hours. So during your commute, whether driving, cycling or walking, re-use that bottle to help save the oceans.