What has been done by the council?

The council vowed to reduce single-use plastics in council buildings and offices and ban plastic cups and straws. Carmarthenshire was the first council in Wales to introduce electric pool car vehicles around seven years ago and has recently secured funding for plug-in chargers following an increase in electric vehicle sales.

 The council has a policy of integrating low and zero-carbon technologies into major building works projects such as schools, where PV installations and Passivhaus standards are already in use. To date, over £2million has been invested in over 200 energy efficiency projects, saving over £7million in running costs and 41,000 tons of CO2 over the lifetime of installed technologies.

The nature report also outlined some other great improvements.

What can we do? (as young people)

Open up your blinds and use as much natural light as possible before switching on your light bulbs. You all get to enjoy some more sunshine. Turn off your lights when you leave a room.

Grow your plants even if it’s just a few pots around the house, it all helps.

Take public transport, avoid buying plastic-wrapped products, opt for a paper bag instead.

 Stop buying bottled water! Buy second-hand clothes where possible. Acquire basic sewing skills to patch holes and sew buttons back on. Transform old clothes into new ones. For example, a dress you don’t wear can be turned into a top and skirt or sell them so someone else can get some use out of them. Repurpose your empty bottles and jars. You could use them for storing bits and bobs. Save gift bags and boxes for future use.

Give people experiences instead of things, buying them food is a good choice or buy local from small businesses. Use Ecosia. They use their profits to plant trees, and they run on 100% renewable energy. Borrow books from the library instead of purchasing them directly. Most importantly you can encourage others.

You don’t have to do every one of these things, every small thing helps. There’s no judgement if you make a mistake, you’re learning that’s what matters.

What can your school/ community do to be more sustainable?

  • Go plastic-free
  • Plant trees or create a community garden
  • Get a compost to repurpose food waste
  • Turn off lights when no one’s in the room or get light sensor lights so they turn off when it’s sunny
  • Encourage reusable bottles
  • Stop buying single-use plastics or if you do make plastics recycled plastic or recyclable plastic
  • Make digital notes, don’t use as much paper. Get eco or more efficient printers
  • Get solar panels
  • Use renewable energy to run
  • Encourage people to use ecosia
  • recycle rainwater

Arwen Skinner