Want to do something to help the planet, but not sure where to start? Check out these top ten tips that Londoners can take to cut emissions and protect the city’s wildlife. From donating your old tech to taking a greener route to work, there are lots of simple things you can do today to make a difference.

1) Move your money

In the UK there’s about £2.6 trillion invested in pensions. Did you know that if you have a pension, you can have a say on what happens to the money you put into it? Most providers will have a green or ethical ‘pot’ you can invest in. According to Make My Money Matter, making your pension green is 21x more powerful than giving up flying, going veggie and switching energy providers! If you don’t have a pension you can still have a big impact by moving your current account to a green bank. Get top tips on greening up your finances from Pebble. 

Switch your pension

2) Reforest the planet as you browse

One of the easiest things you can do for the environment is to change your default internet browser to Ecosia. They use advertising revenue to plant trees around the world and run their servers off renewable energy. So far Ecosia and its users have planted 134 million trees across the globe. It’s free to use and you can find out exactly what projects your browsing is funding. If you want to go one step further and plant a tree in your area, you can sponsor a tree in the street right outside your house, or in your neighbourhood. Visit Trees for Streets.

Switch your browser

 3) Save energy in your home and help the planet

As winter draws in, a lot of us will be thinking about how to keep our homes warm and keep our energy bills down. A lot of our carbon footprint comes from energy and heating, so by reducing how much you use, you can save money and help the planet! Get top tips from the Energy Saving Trust on how you can reduce your home heating bills. If you’re worried about paying your energy bills this winter, visit the Mayor of London’s Warmer Homes Advice Service.

Get top tips on reducing your energy bills

4) Get people connected with your old tech

7 million people in the UK don’t have access to the internet or a smartphone, yet there are 28 million phones sitting in people’s homes! Do you have an old phone or tablet you’re not using? Donate it to Community Calling and help get Londoners connected and reduce e-waste. The UK produces 145 million tonnes of e-waste every year. If you have tech too broken to donate, make sure you recycle it instead of putting it in the bin. Check your local recycling to make sure your electronics get recycled properly.

Donate your old phone

5) Get creative with your wardrobe

The fashion industry counts for about 10% of global emissions,[1] so making the clothes we have last longer, and choosing second hand, will help to make our wardrobes greener. Extending the life of a piece of clothing by nine months reduces its carbon, waste and water footprint by 20–30%! Luckily there are loads of ways to do this.

Got a hole in your jumper, need a zip fixed or your favourite jeans repaired? Give it a go yourself with these easy sewing guides. If you do need to buy something, why not visit one of London’s incredible charity shops and support a good cause while saving the planet? And when your old fabrics are really unsalvageable, make sure you recycle them rather than throwing them in with your household waste.  

London’s best charity Shops

6) Be smart with your deliveries

If, like many people, you’ve been getting more home deliveries since lockdown, you’ve probably been racking up more transport miles on the things you buy. Cutting down is easy by getting your parcels delivered to pick-up points all across the city rather than to your office or home address. Save the planet and stay healthy by getting a quick walk in while you’re at it!

Find your closest pick-up point

7) Cut down on plastic waste

On average Londoners buy 175 plastic water bottles per person every year![2] There’s been lots in the news about the effect plastic pollution has on our oceans and on our health, so how can you help? Turn the tide against plastic pollution by investing in a refillable water bottle and downloading the Refill app, which helps you find a place to refill your water bottle on the go! There are over 4,000 shops and businesses offering free refills and a network of drinking water fountains across London which are cleaned daily. If you do need to buy plastic when you’re out and about, make sure to hang onto it until you see a recycling point.

And why stop your refilling habits there? Get your morning coffee in a reusable cup now most places are accepting them again.

Download refill app 

8) Take a greener route when you travel

Londoners generally spend over an hour a day getting to and from work. Switching some or all of your journey to cycling or walking will keep you fit, help you see more of the city and reduce your carbon footprint.

Go Jauntly can help you find the greenest walking routes near you to explore the city’s beautiful parks, canals and green spaces. Did you know that apps like City Mapper also let you plan ‘quiet’ routes for cycling, away from busy roads?

Plan your journey with Go Jauntly

9) Reduce your food waste (and grab some freebies) 

Food waste is a big problem for the environment and for your pocket. For every two tonnes of food eaten in the UK, another tonne is wasted. Lots of us throw away food because we don’t get to it in time or we don’t make the most of what we buy. Love Food Hate Waste has loads of simple everyday food hacks and tips that’ll help you save your food from the bin. If you still can’t use everything up, download the Olio app which will connect you to people in your neighbourhood who want (or have) spare food - it’s great if you’re going on holiday and don’t want to throw away the bits in your fridge! There may also be a local Community Fridge where you can share any surplus food. Too Good to Go is another great app which gives you a good discount on food from your favourite local restaurants before they close at the end of the day!

Start sharing with Olio 

10) Help turn grey to green in your community

We’re seeing the effects of heavy and inconsistent rainfall over London with many of our streets becoming more prone to flooding. Why not start a community de-paving project with your neighbours? It’s a good way to meet like-minded people and you’ll not only be helping the ground soak up more excess water, but you’ll also be creating a fantastic new green space for wildlife on your doorstep. And if you’ve got your own garden, check out these tips to make it more wildlife-friendly, at any time of year.

Read our starter guide to de-paving

Not a Londoner and keen to try a new climate action?

Check out our list of the 12 most impactful actions you can take for the environment and your community. Let’s #MakeOurMove together.

TAKE ACTION

[1] https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200310-sustainable-fashion-how-to-buy-clothes-good-for-the-climate 

[2] https://www.wcl.org.uk/turning-tide-single-use-plastic-pollution-london.asp