World Environment Day is happening on 5th June 2019, encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. And in case you didn’t know, Birmingham does a lot of great conservation work! Here are a few simple ways you can get involved…
1 Making small everyday changes to your lifestyle
There are so many tiny changes you can make to your day that can actually have a huge impact on the planet. Quicker showers in the morning (particularly if you’ve got a power shower!), having fewer baths, only boiling as much water as you need in your kettle, and unplugging your phone charger when you’re not using it are just some of the small ways to help.
Using your bike or walking to work instead of driving is also a great way to keep your carbon footprint down, and if you really have to drive, why not offer a colleague a lift? Birmingham also benefits from sites such as Liftshare, allowing you to find other people who take similar routes to you each day!
2 Swap don’t shop
Most of us may not even think about the impact that our clothes have on the environment, but in the age of ‘fast fashion’, the pressure to reduce the cost and the time it takes to make our clothing means that environmental considerations are cut. Water pollution, use of toxic chemicals and increasing levels of textile wastes are all damaging results to the environment.
So, what can you do to help? Well, choosing eco-friendly fabric is one option, but even this is highly debated. One sure way to help reduce your impact on the environment is to use your clothes for as long as possible, helping to ease the amount of clothing waste that goes to the landfill in the UK every year.
And thanks to the rise of swap shops, you can get your fashion fix without adding to this! Swapping, or otherwise known as ‘Swishing’, is simple – just head online to sites such as Swapaholics, Vinted, GetSwishing, or Depop, and get swapping with like-minded fashionistas!
Birmingham also hosts a number of car boot sales, which is a great way to give your clothes to people who will continue to use them – as well as making a bit of extra cash! Here are a few if you’re looking to get started:
- Birmingham’s Sunday Share – every Sunday morning 7-11am, Rea Street South in Digbeth.
- Bassetts Pole – Saturdays 5am-2pm, Coppice Lane, Middleton, Bassetts Pole, B78 2BU.
- Smiths Wood – first Saturday of every month from 11am, Auckland Drive, Smiths Wood, B36 0DD
And, rather than always shopping high street, why not take a look in the charity shops and vintage stores for perfectly good quality clothing? The British Heart Foundation, St Mary’s Hospice Charity Shop and Sue Ryder are just some of the charity shops in the city worth having a browse in – with the added benefit of contributing to some great causes.
Birmingham is also home to some of the best vintage stores around, including Cow Village and Urban Village both located in Digbeth, Top Banana on York Road, and Vintage Hideaway in Selly Oak.
3Loving your leftovers
Food wastage is a serious issue throughout the UK. It’s estimated that £13billion of edible food is thrown away each year, according to the waste advisory body Wrap, and as food degrades in landfills, it emits harmful gases into the atmosphere.
‘Ugly’ fruit and veg is sold by box schemes such as Wonky Veg Boxes, who rescue unwanted fruit and vegetables and deliver straight to your door! Imperfect fruit and veg can also be used in drinks, jams, and chutneys, which is why companies such as Waste Not, Rejuice, Snact, and Dash Water have all taken the initiative to produce products this way.
Freezing your food, using a compost bin and going by ‘use-by’ dates rather than ‘sell-by’ dates are all ways you can help cut down on food waste.
4Go veggie once a week
According to research from the University of Oxford, published in the Science journal, eating a vegan diet could be the most effective way to reduce negative environmental impact.
This may not be feasible for everyone, but simply choosing to eat meat-free one day a week can be enough to make an influence. Eating more vegetables is always a good thing, and what better way to do it than by supporting your local greengrocers? They also use less damaging packaging compared with the major supermarkets.
Birmingham Open Market (open Tuesday to Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-5:30pm) on Edgbaston street is a great source of fresh fruit and vegetables – if you’re unable to grow your own, of course!
5 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Yes, you’ve heard it many times before, but how conscientious are you really about separating your recyclables?
The Birmingham City Council website can help you with what you should and shouldn’t be putting into your recycling bins, and if you want to be really proactive about your recycling, here are some centres in and around the city that you can visit – you even view the queues online to make your visit as convenient as possible!
- Tameside Drive, Castle Bromwich, B35 7AG – View the queue here
- Lifford Lane, Kings Norton, B30 3JJ – View the queue here
- Holford Drive, Perry Barr, B42 2TU – View the queue here
- Norris Way, Sutton Coldfield, B75 7BB – View the queue here
- James Road, Tyseley, B11 2BA – View the queue here
Birmingham Freegle is a free internet-based service where people can get and give away items that would otherwise be thrown away. Birmingham-based CT Furniture also lets you donate your unwanted items, collecting items free of charge from residents across the West Midlands.