Depending on how much you are prepared to do, the range of options for greener living can be modest but beneficial or it can be far-ranging and dynamic. A lot also depends on how much you can afford to spend, as some options are expensive and others are difficult to practise if you do not have the means. One way of helping the environment without having to spend too much money is to source as many of your goods locally as you can.
A lot of companies have come to the conclusion that sourcing the materials for their products overseas is a way of cutting costs and increasing profit margins. And while this might be true for a company that is buying in huge stock, an individual consumer can find good deals close to home that will be more beneficial. Locally-grown or bred stock is more environmentally beneficial because it does not have to travel huge distances – making use of air travel and road haulage as it does so – to arrive at the factories or stores that make it available to consumers.
It may be that you have a farm shop close by. The benefit of having something like this is that the transport involved in getting food from a farm directly to a shop is minimal. This costs the farmer less and they are likely to pass the saving on to their customers. As an additional benefit this means that the food is likely to be fresher and taste better. If you do not have a farm shop nearby, you might like to consider starting your own vegetable patch in your garden.
The issue of motoring and the environment is one of the most hotly debated issues on the green agenda. As we know, a majority of the cars on our roads contribute in a greater or lesser measure to the pollution in our environment. People are not going to stop driving, and the issue of transport pollution is not going to slip off the agenda, so surely something has to give. Is there a way that we can keep driving and stop contributing to the pollution of our environment?
One thing that seems certain is that it is not going to become illegal any time soon to drive a car that causes a certain amount of pollution. Even the more gas-guzzling cars are not going to be banned, even if they may be taxed more heavily in some places. A car can be declared unroadworthy if it gives off more than an agreed level of fumes, but at the moment this seems to apply to cars that have a specific fault, and is not going to take the majority of high-pollution cars off the roads any time soon.
The possibility of driving a hybrid car that uses another fuel – hydrogen being one, or electricity another – to augment the power that it gets from less environmentally sound fuels is one that a lot of people are now considering. At the moment, there is a body of opinion that feels the less polluting cars of this nature to be inferior mechanically to pure gas cars. As technology improves, the chances are that this viewpoint will decrease, and at that point we will be on the road to greener driving in our cities.
Most people view recycling as something that involves taking used items to a recycling bank and depositing them to be taken away by a municipal body or a private company to be turned into something else. However, recycling can take place in the home and be beneficial to you without ever having to pass through any other person’s hands. It depends on what you are willing to recycle or what you have the capacity to do for yourself. And the truth is that there are almost no limits to what you can do.
For example, you can recycle containers originally used to contain food simply by washing them out and using them to contain something else. Many people will use an old preserve jar to keep pens or paintbrushes in, for just one example. Others will use a water bottle that has been drained of its original contents to refill from public water fountains, thus saving time, money and resources that might otherwise be used in packaging.
Alternatively, you may find that if you are a gardener, much of your garbage can be used to make compost. Food and certain forms of packaging can be placed in a compost bin or heap and left to biodegrade naturally until it is usable as fertilizer for your lawn or flowerbeds. By doing this, you can have a beneficial effect on the environment, especially if you use compost to fertilize a small vegetable crop which means that you are getting the most beneficial form of locally-grown produce, that which you have grown for yourself.