Following our successful Green Month last year, along with issues around plastic pollution becoming increasingly concerning, Give a Grad a Go teamed up with The Little Litter Pickers yesterday for World Environment Day, 5th June 2019, and cleaned the streets of London!
The Little Litter Pickers are a community awareness group, set up last year by 3 girls who regularly organise days out to clean roads, parks, and beaches around the UK.
Together we managed to collect 18 bags of litter! Separated into mixed recyclables and general waste.
The sun was shining and we had a great day raising awareness and doing our bit for the planet.
Tips on how to be eco-friendly – from The Little Litter Pickers
1. Give litter picking or plogging a try!
- Start plogging your way to your next University lecture or to work! ‘Plogging’ is a fitness trend that started in Sweden in 2016, combining picking up litter with jogging. Many other countries have now also embraced the trend following increased environmental concern in recent years.
- As a reward for your hard efforts in protecting the environment, your legs will benefit from a workout from all the bending, squatting and stretching!
- We also love to go plading (picking litter and roller blading), as well as pycling (picking up litter while cycling – it is useful to have a basket on your bike for this as well as an extendable litter picker!)
- Bring a bag with you and some gardening gloves when out jogging or walking your dog and just pick a few pieces up as you go. Our motto is ‘we can all make a difference, one little piece of litter at a time!’
- Litter picking is also a great extra-curricular activity to put on your graduate CV when applying for jobs, as we all know that volunteering can boost your employability.
2. Reuse, reduce, recycle!
- Switch to reusable napkins, washable make-up removing pads and other eco-friendly reusable alternatives at home.
- If you don’t recycle already, it’s never too late to start! If you’re unsure on where your nearest recycling station is, find out on the Recycle Now website.
- People often forget about the bathroom products when recycling, and only focus on the kitchen. Purchase a bin with a divider – or better still, make a divider or separator yourself from a strong piece of cardboard, that way you can use one side for mixed recyclables and the other side for general waste.
3. Reduce your plastic consumption
- Be conscious about your plastic consumption, switch to glass jars which can be recycled repeatedly instead of plastic bottles which can only be recycled once, or switch to bars of soap wrapped in paper instead of bottles.
- No more plastic straws! You probably will have noticed the growing trend for alternative reusable straws. They look great (very Instagram-able) and they are far better for the environment than single use plastic straws.
- Positive changes are being made every day, with the announcement that “plastic straws and cotton buds could be banned in England as part of the government’s bid to cut plastic waste” (BBC 2018). But until then, why not make a start by refusing to use a single-use plastic a straw on your next night out?
- Always carry a bag for life in your car or handbag ready for when you nip to the shops on the go!
- If you forget to bring a bag for life with you, still refuse the 5p bag whenever you can and just carry your item/s to your car.
4. Help raise awareness by sharing on social media
- Follow The Little Litter Pickers on Instagram and repost our content!
- Word of mouth has been identified as the most valuable form of marketing, so sharing environmental awareness tips and current news articles across your social media channels will really help the eco-movement.
- Ask your Uni friends and family members to share your content also!
- Support the Greenpeace environmental campaigns by signing their petitions, liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter so that you can keep up to date with their progress.
5. Grow your own
- Start to grow your own fruit and vegetables. Growing your own food will significantly reduce your carbon footprint, which in turn benefits the planet. In the UK, food has to travel 50% further than it did two decades ago, travelling up to 3000 miles to get to your table. This contributes significantly to global warming, due to the huge, increasing quantities of fossil fuels used in the transportation process.
- Home grown food not only reduces fossil fuels but also provides you with an organic, healthier substitute to the food you find in supermarkets… And it will save you money too!
- Gardening is a good workout and weeding, digging, planting and caring for plants offers you a productive and meaningful exercise regime.
- It is good for the mind, body and soul; if you are stressed at work then try a bit of gardening at the weekend. A study proposed that stress can more effectively be relieved by gardening than other calming leisure activities. Check out other ways to stay stress free while looking for graduate jobs.
- Gardeners live longer – gardening is a great source of vitamin D, which helps to fight diseases and helps the body use calcium needed to strengthen bones.
- If you don’t have a garden, why not help out at a community garden, London has the largest concentration of community gardens and care farms of any UK city, take a look at Social Farms & Gardens to find out more.
6. Cycle or travel by foot
- Cycling is a great, calorie-burning exercise, which saves fossil fuels and reduces smog in the city.
- Cycling has many health benefits, helping to reduce stress and sleep better. Being in the outdoors also allows you to easily visit new places and enjoy them much more than when travelling via car.
- It is a simple and effective way to integrate exercise into a normal daily routine, as it is also a form of transport.
- If you don’t own a bike, check out Gumtree or Freecycle to see if you can grab one cheap, second hand, or travel by foot more instead as a good alternative.
- If your health is compromised by a chronic condition, you can integrate an e-bike kit to your normal bike, and enjoy an effortless ride through assisted biking. By upgrading your bike, you can ride your bike for longer distances, and not further compromise your health.
7. Be conscious when food shopping and buy in bulk
- Try to support local grocers and butchers whenever you can.
- When you do a food shop try to choose loose fruit and vegetables rather than food items packaged in single-use plastics.
- If you food shop online, some supermarkets give you the option to say no to plastic bags and also choose a more flexible, ‘eco time’ whereby you can choose to have your food delivered at a time when the supermarket is already delivering to someone else in your area.
- Buying in bulk will reduce your consumption of packaging while saving you lots of money in the long run, which is of course important for fresh graduates who need to save the pennies.
8. Download the Refill app
- Download the Refill app to find free refill stations near you.
- All you need to do is remember to bring an eco-friendly reusable water bottle with you.
- By using this app and refilling your reusable water bottle instead of buying a new bottle of water on the go, you will be saving money, preventing plastic pollution while also staying hydrated.
- Look out for the Refill droplet logo in shop windows around London and across the UK too!
9. If you have to get a taxi, share the ride instead
- Whilst we would encourage walking, cycling, or public transport first, if you must get a taxi after a night out why not be eco-friendly and share the ride instead?
- If you haven’t heard of UberPool before, it is a ride-sharing Uber taxi that allows you to travel and split the cost with a stranger who is heading in the same direction as you.
- This only adds a few minutes onto your trip, it will cost you a lot less and it uses fewer fossil fuels, meaning it’s better for the planet!
- Also, check out ViaVan or hiyacar where it can sometimes work out even cheaper than Uber to car share!
10. Reduce your meat consumption
- Reducing your meat consumption is one of the most effective things you can do to be eco-friendly. In recent years we have seen the rise of veganism, with large supermarket chains and many restaurants capitalising on this trend, including McDonald’s, they’ve introduced ‘McVegan’ burgers into their range.
- Flexitarianism is an increasingly popular ‘flexible vegetarian’ diet. Focusing on decreasing meat intake by increasing the consumption of plant-based foods, offers a good alternative diet for individuals who are not willing to completely cut meat out. It is better for your health and reduces your carbon footprint while still allowing for the occasional meat dish.
Caring for the environment is crucial for our health and for our survival.
For more information about what you can do to get involved next World Environment Day, or if you would like to get into litter picking yourself contact The Little Litter Pickers on Instagram.
For more graduate tips on living sustainably in London, check out our blog The graduate’s guide to London: Sustainability.
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