An East Suffolk councillor is calling on residents to make New Year’s resolutions to cut their carbon in 2021 and help tackle the climate emergency.
Cllr James Mallinder, cabinet member for the Environment, is asking people in East Suffolk to consider taking up practical ideas in their New Year’s resolutions this year to help fight climate change and biodiversity loss.
He said: “The start of a new year is a natural time to begin the year as we mean to go on and I want to encourage residents to think more about the environment in 2021 and how we can all do our bit, such as reducing the number of plastic items we use, ensuring we’re recycling right and looking after our local environment and wildlife.
“We’re the first generation to understand the urgency. We need to act now to care for and protect the planet and that starts at home in how we live our lives.
“Living sustainability is all about making small changes and conscious choices and if everyone takes small steps to improve their environmental impact, we can really drive major change for the better. Small changes in our behaviour will make a big difference over time, so this year, what will your New Year resolution be?”
Cllr Mallinder have some simple changes we can all make in 2021 to help improve our impact on the environment:
Reduce plastic use
Plastic bags aren’t easily recycled and often end up interfering with our water sources, trees, and animal habitats. If you haven’t already, buying reusable shopping bags is a low-cost, one-time purchase that could have a big impact on cutting down on your plastic consumption.
Recycle right and waste less
To ensure your recycling isn’t rejected, make sure you put the right waste in the right bin. If you’re unsure about what can and cannot be recycled through your blue bin, go to www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/assets/Waste/Recycling-Bin-Guide.pdf
Beyond recycling through your kerbside bin, why not consider what can be re-purposed or used by someone else before putting it in the bin? Perhaps it can be composted or used as an arts projects or maybe a charity shop will be able to resell an item to help raise money for good causes.
This has been a difficult year for many of our local shops and by shopping locally you can not only help your local economy but also reduce your carbon footprint. There are other benefits too of course, as shopping at local shops and farmers markets means you get the freshest produce whilst supporting your local economy.
Hedgehogs need our help more than ever and there are some simple steps you can take to help them this winter – and beyond. Leave areas of your garden ‘wild’ with piles of leaf litter and logs as these are attractive nests as well as a home for the invertebrates that hedgehogs like to eat. You can also help them by ensuring that they can pass through your garden freely by creating a ‘hedgehog highway’. For more information, go to www.hedgehogstreet.org/help-hedgehogs/helpful-garden-features/
You can also help other local wildlife by put up birdfeeders or start preparing for the spring by planting bee-friendly wildflower seeds. For more ideas, go to www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/animals
As part of East Suffolk Council’s commitment to the environment, Cllr Mallinder is also keen to encourage residents to reduce their waste from Christmas by recycling right and using up any leftovers.
He said: “We produce a huge amount of additional waste over Christmas, much of which is recyclable. I appreciate that it can be confusing to understand what can be recycled through your kerbside bin at home, however, paper, card, plastic bottles, and cans can all easily be recycled. To help us make sure your recycling isn’t rejected this Christmas, please check our website or ask us on social media if you’re unsure whether an item is recyclable or not.
“I also want to encourage everyone to make the most out of their Christmas leftovers this year, as food waste is a serious issue. So why not get your money’s worth and embark on a new Christmas tradition by trying some delicious recipes such as pastries, soups, or chutneys this year?”
For more information on reducing food waste and recipe ideas for any leftover, visit www.foodsavvy.org.uk
If you’ve bought a real Christmas tree this year, this can be disposed of in your garden waste – remember to remove all decorations and make sure to cut it into smaller pieces so the lid is able to close completely. If you don’t have a garden waste bin, you can also compost your Christmas tree by cutting it into smaller pieces or recycle it in the green container at your nearest Recycling Centre.
Alternatively, some organisations are offering to collect real Christmas trees to help raise money for charity, however, these schemes are postcode specific. For more information and to check if you’re able to recycle your tree through the scheme, visit EACH (www.each.org.uk/get-involved/christmas-tree-recycling-scheme) or Just Giving (https://just-helping.org.uk/).
To check any changes to your bin collections during the Christmas and New Year period, please see your bin hanger or go to www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/waste/