Home to the UK’s least wasteful town, pioneering eco-friendly businesses and plenty of sustainable staycation options, Gloucestershire is on its way to achieving its ambitious plans of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
But there’s still a long way to go – and whether you’re guilty of throwing away countless coffee cups or clocking up your carbon footprint, there are both minor and major changes everyone can make to help the environment.
Offering some inspiration for going green right here in Gloucestershire, SoGlos has found 9 solutions, encompassing everything from everyday tricks to long-term changes.
Step out of the car
One of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to opt for an alternative to driving whenever possible, whether that be walking, cycling, taking public transport, or carpooling to reduce your individual CO2 emissions.
Gloucestershire’s main bus provider, Stagecoach West now has an app where you can buy tickets in advance, check the timetables, and you can even pay by contactless, so having no change is no excuse!
Recycle and reuse
Recycling waste is imperative when it comes to reducing pollution, in addition to preventing the over-consumption of raw materials and saving resources, with plenty of ways to get rid of waste in the county.
Thanks to Gloucestershire County Council’s services, there are weekly collections at most homes in the county, as well as a range of recycling centres which are free to access if you’ve got lots to get rid of!
There are many local organisations helping households to recycle and reuse their material goods too, with The Butterfly Garden in Cheltenham offering recycling for those dusty old VHS tapes; and the opportunity to get broken items fixed for free at Gloucestershire’s repair cafés, which have been set up all over the county to help reduce waste to landfill.
Meanwhile, Gloucestershire businessess might want to look into services from firms like Printwaste who can safely and responsibly dispose of larger volumes of recyclable goods, and even offers a shredding service for confidential paperwork; while Optimising IT is helping its customers to offset their workforces’ carbon footprint through its Climate Conscious IT initiative.
Keep it clean
Move away from potentially toxic cleaning products and their negative impact on the environment, and opt for natural products instead.
There are plenty of places online and locally that sell environmentally friendly goods, ranging from high street giants such as Waitrose, to independent shops such as The Natural Grocery Store and the Nutrition Centre.
Grab a cup
If grabbing a coffee to go is one of your weekly or daily treats, then reusing cups is an easy way to do your bit for the environment – and if you need even more incentive, a whole host of cafés are now offering rewards for customers who recycle.
A number of coffee shops, including Cheltenham’s Boston Tea Party have even banned single-use cups, encouraging its customers to buy a reusable one, or rent one from them; while many eateries like The Find and Rough Hands Coffee at Stroud’s Five Valleys have swapped single-use plastics for fully compostable takeaway coffee cups and lids.
Use green energy
Cutting down on electricity usage can have a positive impact on the environment, but can be hard due to modern day lifestyles. However, with Britain’s greenest energy company Ecotricity on the doorstop in Stroud, homes and businesses can reduce their carbon footprint.
Using 100 per cent green energy and frack-free green gas, Ecotricity powers homes across the country and offers flexible tariffs for small and large businesses, turning customers’ energy bills to build new sources of green energy.
Farm to table food
A movement that’s growing ever more popular, farm to table food not only supports local producers, but can have a positive effect on the environment, thanks to reducing food miles, promoting a low carbon diet, and supporting organic farming.
With a plethora of farm shops across the county such as Over Farm, Jolly Nice and Primrose Vale, there are plenty of ways to eat locally and support farm to table produce.
Meanwhile green-fingered folk might like to try and grow their own, whether that’s planting seeds in their garden or going all out and renting an allotment. Those wanting to get their own allotments can apply through the council to be allocated a plot where they can grow fruit and vegetables to their heart’s content, without any fear of nasties or wasteful packaging.
Shop at zero-waste grocery stores
With big supermarket chains often going heavy on the plastic wrap, there are a number of local stores that sell food without packaging to help reduce waste to landfill, with customers encouraged to bring their own reusable containers to stock up on essentials.
Selling everything from dry food to household cleaning and beauty products, there’s FoodLoose in Cheltenham; Loose Plastic Free in Stroud and The Greenshop in Bisley; Fill Your Boots in Quedgeley; Forest Friendly in Lydney; and Planet B in Cirencester, to name a few.
Embrace preloved goods
Whether you’re shopping for clothing, homeware, entertainment or accessories, head to one of Gloucestershire’s vintage stores, markets, or charity shops for preloved goods that have no negative impact on our environment.
It may be a small step but recycling goods can counteract the consumption of raw materials to make new products. And with places such as Gloucester’s Furniture Recycling Project, Time After Time in Stroud and countless antiques and charity shops, there are plenty of hidden treasure troves across Gloucestershire.
Show your support
As well as making small changes to your lifestyle, there’s the chance to make a difference by supporting the county’s charities and trusts that work towards helping the environment.
Amongst its objectives, Gloucestershire Environmental Trust works to support the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment in the county; Vision 21 aims to make Gloucestershire more sustainable; and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust works to protect habitats and species.