7 WAYS YOUR TEEN/TWEEN CAN BE MORE GREEN
Keen to get your teens/tweens to care more about the environment? We talked to Peter Littlewood, Director of the Young People’s Trust for the Environment, about the best ways to motivate young minds to think green:
“I spend a lot of my time speaking to groups of young people about all kinds of environmental issues. With teens in particular, I discuss the importance of thinking about sustainability and how to be more green. They’re at a point in their lives when they have lots of things competing for their attention, so remembering to take care of the planet can become less of a priority. It’s important for them not to lose sight of how important it is to act responsibly towards the environment. There are lots of easy ways to make a difference. Here are a few:
TRY TO ONLY BUY THINGS YOU ACTUALLY NEED
Resist the temptation to buy too much stuff. As a species, we humans are really bad at accumulating lots of things we don’t need, much of which ends up being waste. Try to limit yourself to the things that really make a difference to your life. A good question to ask yourself is “could I use this at least 52 days (once a week) a year?”
CHOOSE QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Choose considered items that will last for years: it’s better to buy quality items that are going to last for ages, rather than cheaper goods that will end up being thrown away in a short time. Much of what we throw away ends up in landfill. And almost all returned goods (even if unused) end up in landfill or incinerated.
DONATE, REPURPOSE, OR SELL THE CLOTHES YOU DON’T WEAR
Don’t just throw them away. The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter on the planet (after energy), so keeping clothes in circulation for as long as possible makes a difference! Plus, you’d be surprised how quickly trends come around again; how easy it is to repurpose something; and how others would be willing to buy what you are selling.
BUY USED OR VINTAGE CLOTHES
Check out charity shops, vintage stores, or teen-friendly websites like Depop and Vinted. You can get everything, from new season Brandy Melville to some real unique bargains. And you’re helping reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry by reducing the need to produce new items. That impact is significant, at around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 20% of waste water!
FIND PRODUCTS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE RESPONSIBLY
…And in a way that minimises their environmental impact. For example, clothes that have been made using bamboo or organic cotton, or products that display the Fair Trade badge. Look for B Corporation certified brands as well and you know you aren’t too far off a good business!
RESIST UPGRADING YOUR TECH
Manufacturers release new devices, like phones and computers, every year. But you don’t always need to have the very latest thing! Many devices now receive software updates for 5 to 7 years, so try to keep them for as long as you can. According to the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) forum, 5.3 billion mobile phones were thrown away in 2022, adding to a growing mountain of e-waste. When you do change your phone, make sure you either sell it or recycle it. Many people don’t know, but there is actual gold in your phone, used because of its excellent conductivity and resistance to corrosion (albeit on average around 0.034 grams of gold). Don’t just throw it away!
THINK ABOUT GROWING SOME OF YOUR OWN FOOD
This is a great option, if you have space. It often tastes better and it has zero food miles! A lot of the food we buy from the supermarket travels thousands of miles to reach us from overseas. Transporting that food causes a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. About 25% of our carbon footprint comes from the food that we eat, so by eating locally-sourced food, you can help to reduce your own personal greenhouse gas emissions and your local economy. It’s a win-win!”
Throughout Green Friday week, we’re donating £1 from every order to the Young People’s Trust for the Environment (and £2 for orders over £70!). Checkout their website and educational resources for brilliant information and more ways to inspire young people to look after our world.