Whether it’s swapping, sharing, repairing, reusing or upcycling there are plenty of alternatives to buying new, and doing so can have a big impact on the environment. Globally 30% of  greenhouse gas emissions arising from the things we buy. 

Take action

Cut down on waste

Food, cardboard, plastic packaging, stationary – every organisation creates waste. Waste reduction is a great target to work towards with your staff / members and there are a lot of resources available online to help.

Develop a decarbonisation plan

Setting yourself challenging targets and developing a plan to decarbonise your operations should be done collaboratively with the leadership and your staff or membership.

Buy second hand

Your tech is likely to be some of the most resource intensive items you own. Electronic equipment requires huge amounts of energy, water, chemicals and precious resources like gold, copper and aluminium to make. Buying items second hand has huge environmental benefits.

Learn to make or mend something yourself

You can find tutorials and courses on how to make and endless number of things, from your own bread, clothes, furniture to soaps and cosmetics. Once you’ve learnt something, why not share your new found talents with friends?

Upcycle a piece of furniture

Find your next item of furniture or decorative item second-hand and bring it back to life by refreshing the finish, re-purposing or re-upholstering it.

Find my next item of clothing second-hand or at a swap

Rejecting fast fashion and finding clothes that are new to you can add a really social element to shopping. Swapping a shop for a clothes swap party (swish), a kilo sale or joining a local clothes rental scheme can be great fun. Then there’s also options to rummage in the city’s 30+ charity and vintage shops.

Drink less coffee

Coffee has a high environmental footprint, both in regards to water use and carbon emissions.

Eat seasonally and locally

Avoiding foods that are transported from far away or have to be refrigerated for long periods of time reduces carbon emissions.

Eat more plant-based food

Dairy and other animal products have a higher environmental footprint than many plant-based foods. Reducing them can have both environmental and health benefits.

Eat less meat

Reducing the amount of meat we eat means we produce less carbon, save water and can contribute to a healthy diet.

Join an electric car club

Car sharing is a great way to reduce the number of cars on our streets. Electric cars have a much smaller carbon footprint than combustion engines.

Have a shopping free month

Not buying anything new for a month can help you save money, shine a light on what you really need and unearth some of the psychological reasons why so many of us are addicted to shopping.



Parkside Student Social Group

The Social Action Group at Parkside Community College started with a small group of students. The group is campaigning to reduce Parkside’s carbon footprint. For example, they work to reduce waste and the negative impact of food in the canteen, reduce electricity consumption, recycle papers and pens, and campaign for solar panels, better insulation, and alternative sources of heating for the school…

Read More »

Harry Jenkinson, Right to Roam

Growing up in a village miles from Cambridge, in the East of England, Harry learnt that there was so little land that we can actually access. Our countryside has been so cultivated – ploughed and misused over the years – that today there are few places we can go legally.  Trespassing has become a way to access nature, and get out beyond the country lanes. Through this, Harry has developed a really close connection with nature, and in turn realised that there is something deeply wrong and unfair with how excluded people are from nature…

Read More »

Naomi Forster, Kinnerz

Naomi has learnt that in giving to her community, she is giving something back to herself. Whether Naomi is helping younger students with their work, leading football and multisport sessions after school, communicating with her hockey team or running first aid training, Naomi has the confidence to support anyone who is new or who needs help. There are so many different ways to help. And helping in the community is, for Naomi, not just about structured learning, but also about finding a way to relax and learn as you go. Naomi has found that it’s refreshing to approach learning like this, and it has helped Naomi grow as a person.

Read More »