by Luke Costin, second year student at the University of Northampton studying Multimedia Journalism and Creative Film, TV and Digital Media.
It is an established fact that one of the biggest threats facing not just the planet, but humanity, is climate change. It is also undoubted that collective action is needed to slow and halt the damage currently inflicted onto the environment, which is why I have decided to play my part in this by changing the way I purchase different items and travel to destinations in recent years.
Plastic packaging seems to be inescapable, whether you're at the supermarket buying groceries, or ordering packages online, you can almost guarantee that your purchases have seen some sort of plastic. But a trend which has started to take hold in recent years and is growing in popularity are the refillable options now available in a range of supermarkets.
When looking to buy household staples like pasta, rice, grains, dried fruit, or cereal, I opt where possible to use an in-store refill station, as seen in the likes of Marks and Spencer, and Asda, which allow you to buy the amount you need and store it in your own reusable container or in provided paper bags at the store. Not only does this cut out unnecessary plastic waste, but I have found it to make shopping cheaper and reduce food waste by only buying what you need. Furthermore, if I do incur any plastic waste, I will always recycle this wherever possible.
Going on a holiday is something we all enjoy, but the question of how to make your journey sustainable can still be a tricky one to answer. Whilst travel companies can be held to account over their consumption of fossil fuels, as a customer on board an airplane, bus, ferry or train, it can sometimes feel like there isn’t an ethical option available.
But thanks to modern developments, the travel industry is moving in a sustainable direction, and whilst newer, cleaner technologies are being developed, there are still ways you can enjoy a break without leaving a huge impact on the planet.
When I look to fly abroad, I try to opt for airlines that use sustainable aviation fuel, or where this is not available, opting for an airline that offers a way to offset the carbon emitted by the flight, like EasyJet, or British Airways. Whilst in an ideal world flights would be taken with zero carbon emssissons, offsetting my carbon emissions is a temporary way for me to ensure the least impact is felt by the environment where possible.
In addition, I have taken a similar approach when booking onto cruises to ensure my holiday leaves as faint a print on the planet as possible. For example, looking to holiday on a cruise ship that is powered by liquified natural gas, one of the cleanest non-electric fuels used by the cruising industry, as opposed to the widely-used
diesel turbines still used by a number of cruise lines.
Another thing that worries me is the trend of fast fashion, where high-street brands and online retailers mass produce clothing at speed using low-cost materials and cheap labour, often meaning the garments sold are of poor quality and usually end up in landfill.
For me, when I look to buy new clothing, I try to ask myself if I need it rather than want it, and whether or not there is a more sustainable way to buy similar clothing with a fraction of the footprint. If there is another option out there, I will tend to find it via second-hand marketplaces like Vinted or Depop, as well as through vintage marketplaces online, such as Asos’s marketplace.