In addition to reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill, another key area of environmental concern is reducing the use of key materials such as paper, plastic and textiles. Paper and plastic reduction are of particular concern with the on-going problems of deforestation and plastic pollution reaching levels where it is predicted there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
In order lower paper consumption a variety of initiatives can be undertaken including supporting paperless transactions, encouraging businesses shift to paperless offices, scan paper files or increase the use of one-sided paper for scrap. Encouraging automated banking or receipts is another way in which paper use can be supported.
Reducing the use of plastics has become very popular recently with institutions, businesses and people, including Queen Elizabeth II, stopping the use of plastic straws. Micro plastics are a particular concern due to their small size meaning they can often end up in the food chain. A recent campaign has recruited more than 400 brands from over 100 different manufacturers to pledge to remove plastic beads from their products.
Another increasingly common way of trying to reduce the impact of consumer goods is through lending or sharing, which is often referred to as the sharing economy. Examples of this include sharing appliances, sports equipment, rental dishware or clothing for events, and renting versus owning for movies, books and tools.
What are we missing? Are there other projects or campaigns to reduce consumption that you know about? Are there policies in your country, region or city to enable reduced consumption? Do you know about or are you involved in projects in your community, school or business that are involved in this area?
If you have examples to share, please do fill out our questionnaire.