Cass does all the hard work for us by rounding up her top 5 websites for helping you save the planet. From finding veggie restaurants in a new city to working out what you can recycle, this selection of sites will make it that bit easier to live a more sustainable life.
So you want to be more sustainable but don’t know where to begin? Whether you’re a seasoned eco-warrior trying to level up and reach the peak of ethical living, or are just taking your first steps into the world of reusable bags, it can be difficult to know where to find reliable information. The internet is good for many things – for example if you want 20 articles from dubious-sounding URLs all sharing different opinions on how long a carrot lasts in the fridge – but finding reliable and detailed websites about sustainable lifestyles that aren’t trying to sell you something is trickier. So let’s round up 5 websites worthy of your Bookmarks bar to help you save the planet one hyperlink click at a time.
OK I’m clearly not very good at lists because my first item is actually two items. The Good Shopping Guide and Ethical Consumer both rank mainstream brands of food, household products and a surprising array of items (have you ever worried that your kettle isn’t ethical enough? Well no time like the present) according to a range of ethical criteria. The reason I include both in the list, is their methods of ranking brands vary a little so the lists can be different on the two websites. This may be frustrating but it reflects that there is no one ideal way to do ethical business. In any case, often only a handful of the highly-rated brands will be available and affordable to you so you don’t have to compare 15 brands every time you go to the supermarket. The best thing to do is read their evaluation of each product and use the websites as a starting point to identify the companies that adhere to more ethical practises – and the ones that definitely don’t.
2. Happy Cow
You’ve probably heard by now that one of the cheapest and easiest ways to cut down your carbon footprint is to reduce the amount of meat in your diet. If you’re worried this means you’ll have to do something traumatic like ordering a salad when your friends all go out for burgers, think again. Happy Cow lists vegan and vegetarian restaurants in your area, along with their opening times, user reviews and photos. It also lists restaurants that have veggie options so you can filter the criteria. There’s usually a lot more around than you might think, and the options are getting better (and by better I am referring to all the new vegan fast food places cropping up) every day.
3. Recycle Now
All the great environmental activists of our generation will tell you that there’s one major obstacle facing planetary survival: overly complicated local council recycling schemes. As much as we all enjoy needing to consult 15 different pages of the town council website to figure out what to do with a piece of cardboard only to discover that the council regrets to inform you that we do not currently accept cardboard, paper, or any commonly recycled item at all, sometimes a clear and comprehensive guide is what we need. Recycle Now is the UK website for how to recycle literally every item and material you can think of, along with a handy tool to identify the nearest place near you that will accept these things.
Buttons hanging on to your favourite shirt by a thread? Do your shoes only stay in one piece if you walk leaning heavily to the left? Your first instinct may be to head to the nearest Primark to revamp your wardrobe, but one of the most effective ways to reduce your environmental impact is to learn to fix the items you have, reuse, and stop treating clothes as disposable (or even single-use items). Fashion Revolution is the leading movement campaigning for more ethical and sustainable clothes and for us to rethink our relationship with what we wear. Their website is an environmentalist’s treasure trove of resources and information on repairs, campaigns you can get involved with, and even a transparency index for different mainstream brands.
You can go a long way towards reducing your own carbon footprint by using the websites listed above and being a more mindful citizen. However if you want to make a larger impact it’s worth turning your attention to changes you can make in the system around you. People and Planet is the largest student-run grassroots environmental campaigning organisation in the country. The work they do includes fossil free campaigns in universities, the world’s most depressing league table where you can find out exactly how bad your university is at sustainability (spoiler alert: it’s probably bad), and the sweatshop free campaign to eliminate unfair working conditions and secure workers’ rights. 10/10 would protest again.
These are just 5 of my favourite online resources for sustainability. However it may surprise you to hear that I am not all-knowing on ethical websites and would love to hear where you go for your information. Got any recommendations? Tell us in the comments!
About the Author: Cass Hebron is the founder of Wild Magazine and a recent graduate of BA English Language and Linguistics at the University of York.