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Earth Day 22nd April 2022 - Invest in our planet

Its Earth Day! (Picture credit: Mikhail Nilov)

After all that’s going on in the world, there is a lot to be thankful for, the sun has shown its face, the weather is warmer and we’re nearly a quarter way through the year!

This year’s ‘Earth Day’ theme is ‘Invest in our planet’ So, what does earth day mean?

The first Earth Day was held in America in 22nd April 1970 in celebration on the environment movement and raising awareness of the importance of long-term ecological sustainability.

Now it’s a worldwide movement. Raising awareness of ecological concerns is an ongoing and huge task and to most people who are eco - conscious, they know that it isn’t only about celebrating one day to remember the earth, but an ongoing and collective effort for making earth a better place to live in for the future too. Earth Day can be a yearly reminder that it is up to us together to make informed decisions whether to ‘Invest in our planet’.

So, to unpack things a bit, what is investing? Investing in monetary terms, ensures present and future financial security, so would investing in the earth be a form of ensuring security for present and future generations in regards to the earth’s resources? Yes indeed, and that’s definitely food for thought when we think of investing in our planet. There are so many aspects of ‘preserving’ earth that requires attention right now and the good news is it can start with us.

To keep things simple, here is a list of the basic 3 ‘R’s where we can do our bit to ‘Invest in our planet’

1. Reduce

Global warming, carbon emissions, pollution and waste; these are a few things that hurt the earth, reducing basic use items especially single use plastics and other regular items means that there’s less pollution and waste. Reducing laundry wash loads, or even reusing a cup throughout the day and not using 6 cups for 6 coffees (slight exaggeration here on number of coffees, but even having too many coffees in the day can impact health and not be so good for the planet from over farming!) Every little decision can have an earthly consequence. Requiring less items also mean that there’s less demand, less production, less packaging, less over farming and less carbon footprint. Of course, the list can go on. One way of reducing waste is by minimal packaging. Look around your house, and see which items are regularly used, would you consider buying in bulk or could you swap for a substitute with less packaging? Examples are washing up liquid, shower gels and shampoo products. For example, using a multi-use soap bar can minimise a significant amount of plastic packaging waste.

2. Reuse

If you are a regular coffee or hot drink drinker, using a reusable cup means you’re not contributing the 2.5 billion single use coffee cups used

and binned a year in UK alone. Think what the figure for the world would be and that is just coffee cups? We as a caterer are implementing and creating new incentives to encourage reuse china cups and other initiatives. Generally, disposable cups have a plastic liner that that cannot be recycled, so need to be binned. Plastics are a major problem and scientists have now found plastics in salt, seafood and even human stools, so every little bit of effort helps to reduce the number of plastics going into our oceans, rivers and soils. There are so many alternatives on the market for ‘green living’, from razors, to toiletries to stores that encourage grocery refills. Sometimes, these items can cost more or could be less convenient (think refilling condiments and groceries for example), this is where it can take a conscious of effort of how we can ‘invest in our planet’. Before you throw any items of clothing away, ask yourself can this piece be mended? There are a lot of workshops on learning how to mend, reuse and recycle fashion. Choosing clothes with natural fibres can also mean less ‘plastic’ fibres entering our environment from clothing waste.

3. Recycle

There are different ways in which recycling can help our planet, firstly, the most obvious one is to recycle unused items, so that they can be broken down, cleaned or processed to raw materials, or to be reused entirely. Secondly, is that the recycled components, be it metals, woods, paper or plastic bottles can be turned into other products. So, this in turn is kept in a circular system so keeping waste from polluting the environment. Thirdly, one can buy products that have been produced with recycled components in. Some examples are; bags being made out of plastic bottles, or coffee grounds made into biofuel logs, or by products of food production turned into other products such as the rice husk cup from rice husks! Another term such as ‘upcycling’ is also great, as it is about taking an item and upgrading it to have another use. Re purposing household appliances and furniture is a good way to not waste. Even Ikea has a buy back scheme where they buy back second-hand furniture that is re saleable. Giving away items also means that charities can benefit from having items to sell to support their charities.

However, you decide to celebrate Earth Day and invest in our planet, living consciously about the planet is something that will benefit us all!

Happy Earth Day!

Yuki Solle

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