Bank holidays are that time of year when you get an extra day off giving you time to catch up on jobs you’ve been putting off and enjoy some leisure time with the family. We wanted to share some ideas and inspiration for a more environmentally friendly bank holiday, whether you’re planning a trip to the countryside or having friends round for a BBQ.
Around the UK there are hundreds of sites owned and managed by wildlife charities such as the Wildlife Trust and RSPB. Most of them have visitor centres where you can learn about local wildlife and conservation projects you could get involved with. Over bank holidays, especially if dates tie in with school holidays, you can often find fun activities from pond dipping to quizzes with clues hidden throughout the site. By supporting the work of these charities we can keep their wildlife havens and green spaces maintained and available for generations to come.
Car boot sales often take place on bank holidays, and many car booters take advantage of the day off from work to clear the garage or attic. You can find bargains whilst helping to reduce the burden of manufacturing and extracting new resources that buying new creates. Of course if you have a garage or attic that’s overflowing and you want to clear some space, fill up your car, grab a paste table and head to your local car boot and you could get some extra cash whilst sending your unwanted items to new homes. Win-win!
If you’re planning a day trip, consider leaving the car at home and going by public transport. You could walk or cycle if it isn’t far, hop on the bus or take a trip on the train. Public transport not only cuts your carbon emissions but can be a fun part of the adventure. You may even be inspired to use public transport more in the future if you enjoy it! If public transport isn’t practical for where you’re heading on your day out, you can still green your car travel. You could car share if you’re going to the same destination as a friend, or visit places closer to home so the amount of miles travelled are reduced, whilst keeping your car well maintained and driving efficiently can decrease your car’s fuel consumption.
Bank holidays are often set aside for those time consuming jobs like sorting through boxes of stuff that have piled up in the shed, loft or spare room. If you’re planning a tidy up and want to de-clutter your home, avoid the urge to hire a skip – there are lots of environmentally friendly ways to recycle your unwanted items. Items of furniture could be sold through a local newspaper or on eBay, whilst local charities will usually collect donated items for free. Clothes, bric-a-brac and accessories are always in demand at local charity shops too so you could bag up unwanted smaller items to help restock a local charity shop. Websites like Freecycle and StreetBank are also great for connecting with local people who could give your unwanted items a home whilst many people use Facebook pages to rehome unwanted items either for free or to sell them. If your items aren’t really suitable for reuse, they can often still be recycled at the local tip, from hedge cuttings in green waste collection to scrap metal, rubble and cardboard which are sent for recycling.
Weather permitting (unless you have shelter), bank holidays are the prime time for a BBQ. Why not try and make your BBQs greener this year and have some fun at the same time! Local butchers and farm shops have great selections so you can mix and match if you want a meaty barbecue lunch. As well as supporting local businesses, this usually cuts down on food miles and can support farms in your local area. If you like grilling fish on your barbie, look for MSC certification which shows the fish has been caught sustainably. Another option is trying out some vegetarian or vegan recipes for your BBQ. If you usually just go for a couple of sausages followed by a burger, you could try vegetarian sausages or bean burgers accompanied by vegetable kebabs. Dishes of pasta, salad and bombay potatoes can be great accompaniments to cut down on the carbon emissions of an entirely meat-filled barbecue tea. If you’re looking for something to wash your dinner down with, look out for Fairtrade or locally made wines and fruit cordials, or support a local craft brewery.
Whatever you get up to this bank holiday, we’d love to hear from you about how you made your day more sustainable. Send us a message or share a pic on our Facebook page showing us you low carbon your bank holiday.