This week’s tasty celebrations on Shrove Tuesday – when pancakes are traditionally made and eaten – are immediately followed by Lent. Starting this year on 1st March, Lent lasts for the six weeks leading up to Easter to reflect the period of ‘forty days and forty nights’ when Jesus was said to have fasted in the wilderness. To mirror this, Lent has traditionally been marked with fasting and ‘giving up’ pleasures or vices like sweets or smoking. For non-Christians as well, Lent is still commonly a time of year for making positive changes.
The most popular things given up for Lent in 2016 predictably included chocolates, sweets and alcohol. In 2017, why not give up something which could make an environmental impact?
Five green ideas to mark Lent:
1. Give up single use plastic bags
Single use plastic bags are contributing to the huge volume of plastic waste produced annually- this has an enormous environmental impact including the deaths of up to 1 million marine animals each year. Taking a cloth bag or bag for life shopping will not only reduce the amount of disposable plastic you consume, but will also save you 5p per bag.
2. Give up disposable drinks bottles
Like plastic bags, disposable drinks bottles are contributing to the mass of non-biodegradable plastic rubbish in the Pacific three times the size of Britain. Choose a refillable bottle instead.
If all British households with a tumble dryer switched to drying one load of washing outside each week, more than a million tonnes of CO2 would be saved each year.
4. ‘Give up’ 1 degree on your thermostat
Switching your heating down by 1 degree can reduce carbon emissions by 300kg per year, as well as saving you around £40.
5. Take part in a Carbon Fast
First started by a Bishop in Liverpool in 2007, Carbon Fast is a church-based movement promoting carbon reduction during Lent. Some Carbon Fast groups have produced Lent calendars with suggested daily carbon reduction measures for inspiration.
Emma Taylor is the Financial Claims Manager at Business Energy Efficiency.