Earth Day 2023
Saturday, April 22 is Earth Day 2023, a day to raise awareness and take action to protect our planet. This week, the ESG Committee will be sharing some hints and tips for ways we can all live a bit more sustainably.
Waste & Recycling WED
First up: Ideas for reducing waste
Reducing waste at home:
- Donate – sorting, packing, and delivering unwanted items to a charity shop or listing them on websites such as Depop, Vinted, and eBay might seem like a mammoth task, but this is such an easy way to reduce your waste (and potentially make some profit!).
- Reuse – most items have multiple secret uses, get creative and find new ways to use them before throwing them away. From transforming jam jars into storage containers, or using old bottle caps to make tealight holders, the list is endless.
- Buy a reusable coffee cup – the UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. We all love a lunchtime stroll around the Bay to grab a coffee, so what better way to reduce your waste than to get your own cup that you can reuse? Lots of businesses also now offer discounts if you BYO so it’s a win-win.
- Buy a refillable water bottle – in the UK we use around 15 million single-use plastic bottles per day! For context, it takes approximately one tonne of plastic to make 20,000 plastic bottles, so that’s 750 tonnes of single-use plastic being made in the UK per day, for water bottles alone!
- Choose plastic-free packaged foods – not everyone has the time or can afford to visit a refill shop, but making a conscious effort when doing your weekly food shop to select goods with less packaging is a really easy way to reduce your waste. It can take anywhere between 20 and 500 years for plastic to decompose so reduction in use should always be the starting point!
- Go paperless with your bills – most energy providers, councils, and banks allow you to opt for bills to be delivered to you via email or through an app. Not only does this enable you to centralise and easily keep track of your spending, but it also significantly reduces your paper consumption, consequently saving trees, water, and cutting pollution.
Reducing waste in the office:
- Bring lunch from home in reusable containers – while a meal deal is a staple for many of us, bringing your own food in from home in a reusable container could reduce your waste by around 54% (win-win: you could also save money!).
- Separate your waste – many offices now separate out the waste for recycling. If yours doesn’t, why not start? At Acuity, we installed signs above our kitchen bins to help colleagues recycle appropriately. Top tip: if plastic is thin enough that you can easily put your finger through it – it is not recyclable! You also cannot recycle used kitchen paper or foil! Wash out food packaging before putting it in the recycling bin.
- To print or not to print – before you print anything, think about whether there is another way to share the information. Perhaps it would be just as easy (or easier) to show the person on a screen. If you do need to print, remember to print on both sides of the paper to reduce the amount used.
Next up: Water
Water is an essential resource that we rely on every day, yet it’s often wasted in our workplaces and in our homes. From running taps to leaky faucets, the water waste can add up quickly, resulting in unnecessary costs and environmental impact. Acuity’s recent Planet Mark report revealed that, on average, each employee uses nine litres of water per day.
If we can all come together to make some positive changes, we should be able to reduce the water we use, both at home and in the office.
Here are some tips:
- Be responsible with water usage: remember to turn off taps when not in use, report leaks promptly, and use only the amount of water you need. When you’re filling up the kettle, only fill it to the level that you need, and the same goes for water bottles and other drinks.
- Use water-efficient appliances and water-saving devices: this is something you can think about in your own home. You can switch to water-efficient appliances, such as low-flow toilets and faucets. These appliances use less water than standard models while still providing the same level of functionality. It is also possible to install water-saving devices, such as aerators on faucets and water-efficient showerheads. These devices reduce water flow without compromising functionality.
Reducing water waste in any setting requires a combination of strategies, including repairing leaks, using water-efficient appliances and devices, promoting responsible water usage, and using water-efficient cleaning methods.
By taking these steps and working together, we can significantly reduce water consumption and help conserve this precious resource.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life all around us, from microscopic bacteria to blue whales and everything in between! We need biodiversity for the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Without biodiversity, our entire support system for human, as well as animal life, would collapse!
Gardens can play a vital role in supporting and increasing biodiversity in our communities. By increasing biodiversity in a garden, we can create a more resilient and sustainable environment, while also making it more colourful and inspiring!
Here are some tips to encourage biodiversity in your own garden:
- Plant native species: native plants are well adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, making them more likely to thrive and support local wildlife. They also provide food and habitat for local insects, birds, and other animals.
- Provide habitat: creating a habitat in your garden can encourage wildlife to make it their home. This can include adding birdhouses, nesting boxes, and insect hotels. You can also create a compost pile, which provides food and shelter for beneficial microorganisms, insects, and other wildlife.
- Use organic gardening practices: avoid using pesticides and chemical fertilisers in your garden. These products can harm beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife. Instead, use organic gardening practices such as composting and crop rotation to maintain healthy soil and support a diverse range of plant and animal life.
- Create a diverse range of plants: a diverse range of plants provides food and habitat for a diverse range of animals. Plant a mix of shrubs, trees, perennials, and annuals to create a variety of habitats for wildlife.
- Provide a water source: adding a water feature to your garden, such as a pond or bird bath, can provide a valuable water source for local wildlife. Be sure to keep the water clean and fresh to avoid the spread of disease.
By following these tips, you can create a garden that supports and encourages biodiversity in your local area. Not only will you be helping to protect local wildlife, but you’ll also be creating a beautiful and vibrant outdoor space to enjoy!
At Acuity Law, we are dedicated to reducing our impact on the planet and seeking out suppliers who share our values. For more about our commitment to ESG, click here.