January is a month of fresh starts, renewed ambitions and healthier lifestyle choices. It's estimated that 40% of us make New Year's Resolutions - with weight loss, quitting smoking and saving money regularly getting top billing. In the midst of all the fitness plans and fad diets, leading a greener lifestyle rarely makes the priority list, but as well as helping the environment green actions can actually reap rewards closer to home.
In fact at the end of last year, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead became the UK first borough to turn green actions into cash rewards. The borough announced in December that thanks to recycling efforts in the community it had saved £20,000 in landfill tax and launched a scheme to reinvest this capital back into local community projects, as voted on by residents.
For those looking to gain more from going green in 2014 and help reduce the 171 million tonnes of waste produced in Britain every year, below are some quick and easy changes you can make:
1.) Green your wardrobe revamp: each year around 350,000 tonnes of clothing, worth an estimated £140 million end up in landfill. Extending the average life of clothes by just three months would lead to a 5-10% reduction in carbon, water and waste footprints. So if you're looking to revamp your look in the New Year, before turning to the tip consider taking a trip to your local charity. For those looking for a small contribution to their wardrobe too, M&S and Oxfam's "Shwop it" scheme operates on a reward basis. Launched in 2012 M&S offers shoppers £5 discount vouchers in return for clothing, since 2008 the scheme has saved 10 million items from landfill at a value of £8 million.
2.) Green tea: changing your tea leaves is not the only way to green your cup of tea in 2014. Brits drink 165 billion cups of tea every day, resulting in 370,000 tonnes of waste being sent to landfill every year. If you don't have the time or energy for using loose tea, remember teabags are compostable so rather than sticking them in the general waste make use of a small compost box next to your sink. Keep your eyes peeled for rewards schemes like the one run by PG tips last year that let you earn points in return for pledging to recycle your teabags.
3.) Green your food consumption: Figures out late last year revealed that we throw away 4.2 million tonnes of edible food every year that's six meals a week for every household. Planning out your meals for two weeks and sticking to that plan is the key to cutting waste and your household bills to boot. It's easy to get tempted by two for one or 2nd item half price deals, but these offers should mean personal savings, not one for you and one for the bin, because you didn't eat it in time. If you're tempted by offers, only invest items with long shelf lives. Similarly when it comes to vegetables, buy loose items rather than a bag where half the goods go to waste.
4.) Gain redeemable points for going green: Joining a recycling reward scheme such as Greenredeem is a great way to earn tangible rewards in exchange for making green pledges. Each pledge, from recycling cosmetic packaging to sticking to a family food plan, earns points which can be redeemed with big brands. Rewards include 50% off Haven holidays, buy one get one free from Pizza Gogo or £5 off at M&S, it's a simple way to support.
For more tips on going green visit - https://www.greenredeem.co.uk/.