5 WAYS TO BE MORE ECO-FRIENDLY IN VILLACH
It seems like these days you can’t turn on the radio or read the news without coming across something going wrong on our planet. And we all know we should do something to help, but it sometimes feels very overwhelming. Are you wondering what you could do that would help make a difference? Here is a list of five easy things we could all do to live in a more eco-friendly way in Villach.
1. JOIN #FRIDAYSFORFUTURE
In Carinthia taking care of the environment is very important, and the organisation Fridays For Future is a demonstration of this. Fridays For Future is a world-wide climate activism organisation that uses peaceful protesting as a way to demand immediate action on the global climate crisis.
The Austrian Fridays For Future website has information about regional groups, including one in Villach. There you can find facts about the group as well as the dates for upcoming protests and events. What began as a school strike by one young woman has become a world-wide movement open to everyone who wants to help bring awareness to these important issues.
2. DRINK WATER FROM THE TAP
We are extremely fortunate in Carinthia to have healthy and delicious water available from every tap, water that comes from mountains and groundwater reservoirs in the region. So why buy expensive water in plastic bottles? Though most plastic bottles in Austria are recycled or efficiently burned, the production of plastic bottles is extremely harmful to the environment. And some bottles do end up in rivers or on the side of the road and will slowly degrade into microplastics, harming wildlife and ecosystems for up to 1000 years before they completely decompose. Fortunately, there are many high-quality reusable water bottles on the market these days - getting one will let you help the environment and drink good, local water at the same time!
Sometimes it’s not possible to drink water from the tap, and some products are sold only in plastic bottles. Many types of plastic can be recycled and turned into other products, reducing waste and decreasing how much crude oil has to be pumped from the ground. Plastic, glass, and metal that are put in the normal trash bin are not taken out or recycled - so make sure you sort your trash according to the official guidelines! In Villach most plastics and metal packaging should be put in the big yellow bags or yellow dumpsters. Glass can be taken to the neighborhood glass recycling collection points, and most glass beer, sparkling water, and soda bottles can be returned to the grocery store for a refund, and then they are sent back to the manufacturer to be reused. Check out the website of Villach for all the details about how Villach residents should deal with their trash and recycling.
4. USE YOUR OWN BAGS AND CONTAINER
It seems that these days nearly everything in grocery stores is wrapped in single-use plastic. As we mentioned above, plastic is problematic for the environment in many ways. But how can you avoid it when you buy food? We have a couple ideas for you! First, it’s now allowed to bring your own container to the deli counter in most grocery stores and have them put your fresh meat, fish, and cheese in there for you to take home. Another tip is to make sure you use compostable plastic bags for fruit and vegetables, or use the reusable mesh vegetable bags that are sold in many supermarkets. And of course, make sure you always carry a cloth bag or two in your handbag or your car to put your shopping in!
5. BUY LOCAL FOOD
Is your food more well-traveled than you are? Check out the labels to see where the fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and meat that you buy comes from - you might be surprised how far it has traveled! Shipping food around the world has a huge negative environmental impact, but fortunately there are a few ways to buy locally-grown food - which will be healthier for you, will support the local economy, and will be better for the planet. At the farmer's market held every Friday in Villach you can find great food grown right here in Carinthia, as well as some grown in other parts of Austria, Italy, and Slovenia. Additionally, the many small organic food shops in Villach often stock a good selection of Austrian-grown fruits and vegetables. And don’t forget to check out all the small shops that are popping up on farms all over the region these days - some are even conveniently open 24 hours a day.
We hope that these tips sound interesting and do-able to you! We encourage you to share this with your friends and support each other to make a few small habit changes that will help ensure a greener future for all of us.