Sustainability may be on your mind after the UK Parliament declared a national climate emergency. To combat the rise in carbon emissions, the government set a target for the UK to become carbon neutral by 2050. Here’s a few top tips on how to look after our environment.

Shopping
Plastic bags can take anything up to a year to decompose. As it breaks down, the particles can contaminate waterways and soil, which then enters the food web. Many supermarkets have started to introduce reusable bags.

The supermarket giant, Sainsbury’s have stopped providing free plastic bags for fruit and vegetables. Instead, they are providing reusable netted drawstring bags at a small cost. You could also take your own containers and bags when you go to do your food shop. Doing this could reduce waste and will save you money.

Drive less
You may think that driving yourself to work, or to an event may save you money, but in reality, it will only increase your carbon footprint. Try to use more public transport. There are many discounted tickets you can purchase online if you book your train tickets in advance. Or you could take the bus. Brighton and Hove Buses have invested £9.9 million for 30 new zero-emissions buses which will run across a variety of different routes around the city.

Recycle
More and more plastic products and packaging are becoming widely recyclable. Many companies used to use black plastic for containers for take-away meals or plant pots, which are not recyclable. As the awareness of plastic pollution increases, some companies are changing the colour of the containers and pots to lighter colours so that they can be recycled.

To reduce the strain on recycling companies, you could reuse plastic containers and make something else that could be useful. You could use old plastic takeaway containers as plant pots for seedlings, plastic bottles could be used to store stationery in, or you could use an old plastic bottle as a watering can.

If you are unsure, you can take your recycling to The Green Centre. The organisation has a stall at the Brighton Open Market every third Thursday of the month. The stall is open from 9am- 5pm.

Buy local
Much of the food that you find on your plate has travelled many miles and has high food mileage. Buying local food can reduce the food miles as it will only have travelled a few miles from where it was produced to the shops. Many supermarkets offer locally sourced meat, fruits and vegetables. Make sure to look at the labels for the location of where the product has come from.

Buying local can also benefit small businesses. Farm shops offer a wide range of local produce including meats, fish and groceries. Not only will you reduce carbon emissions produced by transporting goods, you will also support small local shops and businesses by doing so.

Stay at home holidays
It’s that time of the year (coronavirus-dependent…) when you may be booking your next summer holiday. Thinking of booking a nice holiday abroad to catch some summer sunshine? Why not stay in the UK? Take advantage of the many locations and attractions the UK has to offer.

The aviation industry contributes around 2% of the worlds global emissions, and this will only rise as flights increase year-on-year.

Last year saw an increase in the number of UK residents staying at home for the holidays, choosing to take day trips and short breaks to other UK locations. Staying at home will reduce your own carbon footprint and it will also save you money as well.

Volunteering
You can join a group if you wanted to have a hands-on approach to tackling climate change. There are many small groups where you can sign up to help out in small gardens, grow produce and help to preserve conservation areas. You can sign up to become a member at Brighton & Hove Green Spaces Forum.