The word sustainability is used to describe how human activity can be organised to ensure we meet our own needs in the present while preserving the prospects of future generations to meet theirs.
This means we need to ensure our consumption patterns are sustainable, that we manage natural food stocks effectively and protect natural habitats, we reduce our carbon emissions to minimise the effects of climate change, we lessen artificial pollution upon the environment, and our communities are self supporting.
These objectives can be achieved through encouraging reducing, reusing and recycling:
This is the art of saving and efficiency. It looks at minimizing carbon usage through energy saving initiatives.
Inside the home and at work, we are encouraged to reduce our energy consumption through using it more efficiently and less often.
Outside, road transport places the greatest carbon burden upon the climate, and increased use of public transport and car sharing schemes (see the travel & holidays category of our shopping directory) can help reduce car usage. In addition, changes in buying patterns by consumers through an increased awareness of food/shopping miles can help to reduce road transport use.
Changes in technology allow enlightened working practises to grow, enabling more working from home and so reducing road travel.
Reducing meat consumption or completely embracing vegetarianism or veganism is sustainably beneficial to the environment, because it takes less resources to raise crops than to rear animals.
Some useful links:
Energy Saving Secrets
Articles and information to help you save energy, money and the environment.
Save a Tonne
10 simple ways that you can save money, save energy and SAVE A TONNE of CO2 emissions.
The Vegetarian Society
Educational charity promoting understanding and respect for vegetarian lifestyles.
Educational charity promoting vegan lifestyles.
This refers to buying or selling second-hand goods again rather than buying brand new or throwing used goods away.
Many used goods can be found for sale at www.ebay.co.uk or other online auction sites. Alternatively, get in touch with your local freecycle group if you have something you want to get rid of for free. They will list your item among their members and somebody who wants it will contact you.
Other places to go to buy and/or sell secondhand goods are charity shops, car boot sales or classified ads.
This aims to salvage plastics, glass, cans, paper and cardboard from the rubbish of households and businesses. Rather than end up in landfill, specialist companies recycle these commodities to be used again.
Clothes, shoes, spectacles and mobile phones may also be recycled/reused by donating them to third world countries.
Some useful recycling links:
Cartridges for Charity
An organisation that administers a recycling scheme for used inkjet cartridges and mobile phones on behalf of three different charities.
Charity that refurbishes unwanted PCs and ships them for use in the third world.
Dollies & Dinosaurs
Selling pre-loved children’s clothing and maternity wear, alongside new educational and environmentally friendly toys. Customers can also re-sell their no longer required kids clothes, maternity wear and essential baby equipment and donate to charity and recycle at the same time.
Site that purchases your old mobile phones.
The instant coffee manufacturers have introduced an Eco refill for their jars, along with a recycling scheme for the refill packaging – return it to Terracycle and they will ‘upcycle’ it into various products such as notebooks, bags and umbrellas.
An organisation that collects and ships second hand bicycles and parts to Africa. Local partners teach local people the skills of how to repair and maintain them, to improve their lives in a sustainable manner.
Recycle for Charity
An organisation that recycles used inkjet cartridges and mobile phones and makes a donation to charity for each item.
Waste and Resources Action Programme
A non profit government funded organisation charged with creating markets for recycled products and assisting councils with their recycling programmes. It keeps a database of more than 3200 recycled products online at www.recycledproducts.org.uk
WRAP also operates the Recycle Now website which campaigns to raise the profile of recycling among the public, encouraging them to recycle and compost more of their waste.
Wastewatch is an environmental charity promoting sustainability through the use of reusing, recycling and reducing.