There’s been a significant shift in sustainable practices such as recycling, upcycling and shopping organic in recent years. More and more people understand the importance of living more sustainably, but how many people truly commit to these practices?
It’s common to feel that individual actions are insignificant to tackling the global climate crisis and to pass the responsibility onto others. It’s tempting to assume that enough people are already making contributions to living more sustainably, so it’s not necessary to follow suit. Sometimes it’s as simple as sustainable practices seeming inconvenient or time-consuming, when in reality actions such as recycling or upcycling can easily be incorporated into even the busiest of lifestyles!
The problem is – if enough people think like this, then the consequences are significant.
By 2050, the UK government is legally obliged to reduce its emissions by at least 80% compared to its 1990 levels. This drastic reduction will only be possible if there is a collective effort from not only governments and industries, but individuals too.
The sustainability movement
Things are gradually changing. There is more awareness of sustainable practices, and more willingness to compromise and make necessary changes. A recent study by NielsenIQ found that 73% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable goods.
Education is the key to living a more sustainable life. Reading up about the benefits of sustainable practices such as recycling and upcycling, then sharing that knowledge with others is how to spread awareness quickly.
It can be difficult to know where to start, but there are a growing number of new initiates designed to help. Learning about what’s bad for the environment is a great place to start.
This year the Soil Association announced the largest year-on-year increase in sales of natural products in 15 years. The organic market, including food, clothing, cosmetics and other products, increased to £2.79bn, a rise of 12.6% in 2019, according to its annual report.
Food has seen the biggest shift. People have been spending more time at home due to the pandemic, which has resulted in having more time to reconsider eating habits. Consumers are becoming more conscious of where they source their food from, and the environmental impacts of what they’re buying. A study by Deloitte asked consumers about their buying habits in the last 12 months: 49% of consumers bought more seasonal products, while 45% bought more locally produced goods. If you’re interested in finding out more about incorporating sustainability into your lifestyle through your food choices, then check out our sustainable food brands article!
Recycling – who’s actually doing it?
Waste is a bigger problem than ever before with as much as 91% of what we take from the earth going to waste! A report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has revealed that British households create over 26m tonnes of waste each year. That’s the equivalent weight of around 260 large cruise ships.
The UK has a long way to go when it comes to recycling. Of the 26m tonnes of waste produced in the UK, less than half of that is recycled. The rest goes straight to landfill. This gives the UK an average recycling rate of 45%.
Knowing why recycling is so vital for tackling climate change is an important motivation. By recycling more, the earth will depend less on non-renewable resources and will therefore burn fewer fossil fuels. This is what ultimately helps to combat climate change and overflowing landfills.
The average person throws away around 400kg of waste each year. So continuing with the line of thinking that one person can’t make a difference really loses value.
Imagine the environmental impact if EVERYONE committed to sustainable practices like recycling? Think about all the clothes that could be reused to reduce the impacts of fast fashion. To find out more take a peek at our article all about recycling and what happens to it!
Along with a growing awareness of recycling, upcycling is catching on too. The pandemic has played a particular part in this increased interest, due to limited travel and more time spent at home.
Rather than simply disposing of unwanted items, this growing trend gives them a new lease of life by transforming them into something new. Think about apps like Vinted and Depop that allow you to sell on your old clothing, reducing people’s reliance on fast fashion.
Upcycling is a great way to do something creative whilst simultaneously helping the planet. It reduces the amount of waste that goes into landfill, lowers production costs, and provides a fulfilling and innovative way to be more sustainable. It’s a great way to add some character to your home on a budget too! You can often find people giving away old items such as tables and chairs for free to save themselves the cost of it getting picked up for recycling, so why not upcycle it and turn it into an exciting new addition to your home? Alternatively, you could even offer up some of your own items that you no longer need for someone else to try their hand at upcycling!
Rent, don’t buy
Renting is much more sustainable practice than buying. The more we buy, the more that has to be put through recycling processes or sent to landfill. In 2018, the UK generated 222.2 million tonnes of waste and considering that only 45% of household waste is recycled, you can imagine how much waste ends up in landfill.
We don’t need to buy as much as we do. We are always being convinced we need to buy everything and we are cleverly marketed products and items every single day, but in reality, we can rent these items, good as new, from other people. Sometimes, we only need things for a short period and buying them means that they end up just sitting in our homes waiting to be thrown away!
With awareness of the climate crisis growing, more people are taking a second look at their purchasing habits. The traditional business model is changing, with more millennials adapting their behaviour from buying to renting. The last decade has seen a huge increase in the rental sector. Furniture is the highest rented group, joined by gaming consoles, clothes, jewellery, tools and technology.
Renting rather than buying disrupts the consumerist mentality that everything must be bought, and challenges consumers to think twice about their purchases. Renting is a highly effective sustainable practice that’s becoming easier and easier to adopt.
Y’earn is a marketplace to rent baby & kids items that you need for a relatively short period of time, or make money from the things your child has outgrown. In our FB Group we share information about rental services that make it easier for you to save or make money, while helping the planet. Or read our blog sustainable clothing brands and renting children’s clothes here.
What are the benefits of implementing these environmentally conscious choices?
It may be difficult to understand the long-term benefits of making small lifestyle changes now, but by adopting more sustainable practices, you’re contributing to a brighter future for the next generation.
Making more sustainable choices, even just actions like recycling and upcycling, has a knock-on effect on those around you. Just by making those choices, you could be inspiring others to do the same.
If one person made these small changes, imagine how much of an impact it would make if everyone did.
Join the Y’earn community
The planet doesn’t need everyone to be perfectly sustainable, it just needs everyone to do what they can.
It can be difficult to balance wanting to do good for your family, the environment and your community – but Y’earn makes this so much easier. By renting with Y’earn, you’ll save a lot of money compared to retail, while still having a better experience than purchasing second hand. If you have items you no longer need, let us help you make more money than selling them cheaply and take the pressure off of finding them a new home. Remember, waste doesn’t only mean items ending up in landfill, anything left in the garage or loft is also wasted if not used.
As a community we each help as part of a fast growing circular economy that is shaking up the mindset that we have to buy and own every item we need.
Learn more about our sustainable living community here.
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If this is your first visit, hello, let us introduce ourselves. We’re Y’earn and we exist to create more love, less landfill. Pretty lofty, right? Well, not really, it’s actually pretty simple. Our aim is to make renting as common as owning so we live more sustainably while helping the community around us.
Y’earn is a parent-to-parent marketplace to rent Baby & Kids items from people in your community or make some cash if you have items you don’t need right now. We’re a sustainable business that plants 🌲, adopts 🐝 and donates to children’s charities. We’re helping each other and the planet, one rental at a time.
You can read more about how Y’earn works here.
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