With credit to Zero Waste Scotland, we are sharing informative campaigns you can join in on this year! West Lothian Council departments, including NET and Land & Countryside, will be getting involved in some of the campaigns mentioned below. Keep an eye out on our socials to see how we will be getting involved.
You can do a lot to reduce your organisation’s energy costs by changing equipment and processes. However, to bring about and maximise improvements for lasting benefit, it’s vital to get your colleagues on board with your energy efficiency initiatives.
Encouraging your staff to understand and support the energy efficiency changes you want to introduce into the workplace is key.
Whether it is as simple as asking them to turn off lights when a room is unoccupied or to switch off and unplug their computer when they finish for the day, it is important they share your goals and are keen to help. We have a number of excellent resources available in our staff engagement toolkit that will help you train staff and run professional campaigns.
There are also many national campaigns that you could take part in to boost your efforts.
We have rounded up a number of dates you can add to your diary – covering a whole host of environmental themes. There are campaigns you could take part in as a business. And there are also lots designed to engage and educate people when they are at home or in the community.
Veganuary: Kick off the new year by making a pledge to try a plant-based diet for a month, or maybe longer. Their website contains recipes and eating guides to help you plan your menu – and if four weeks seems a big stretch, why not try it for a few days each week?
Big Energy Saving Week runs from 17-22 January with the aim of helping people cut their bills and make sure they are aware of any financial assistance that is available to them to make their homes more energy efficient.
2 February is World Wetlands Day, helping to raising awareness of the importance of wetlands to the planet. You’ll find a whole host of resources on their website.
21 February-6 March is Fairtrade Fortnight when organisations highlight where our food and clothing come from and help to promote a fairer global economy.
Returning in 2022 is Food Waste Action Week which launched last year, bringing people together with the aim of halving food waste by 2030. It will take place from 7-13 March.
18 March is Global Recycling Day, when the focus, not surprisingly, is supporting the planet by recycling. It was first recognised in 2018 and continues to centre on the importance to the planet of recycling rather than simply throwing away.
22 March is World Water Day, an annual date declared by the UN in 1993 focusing on the importance of water in all our lives.
26 March, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm (local time, whatever time zone you are in) will be Earth Hour, which was started in Sydney by WWF in 2007. Around the world people unite by switching off their lights for one hour to show support for our planet.
The Great British Spring Clean is running from 25 March to 10 April, uniting communities to help clean up where they live.
22 April marks Earth Day, an annual event started in 1970 that is celebrated around the world, showing support for protecting the environment. The website is full of ideas on how to mark the day.
No Mow May was a new introduction to the calendar last year. While it may sound like an excuse for reluctant gardeners, organisers Plantlife say that leaving the mower in the shed for a month results in nectar for ten times more bees.
1-7 May is International Compost Awareness Week, which always falls in the first full week of the month. It started in Canada in 1995 and has now spread around the world. The theme for this year is Recipe for regeneration: Compost.
Walk to School Week runs from 16 May. Resources can be found on the website for a week that promotes healthy minds and bodies for youngsters and encourages them to connect with the natural world.
16-22 May is the week to ditch the meat for National Vegetarian Week. Stephen Fry, Chris Packham and Joanna Lumley are among the celebrities who support this week. Go to their website for a selection of veggie recipes.
20 May is World Bee Day and is one of a number of awareness days that focus on the importance of the humble bee and the important role it plays in bringing food to our table. Ideas for marking the day are on their website.
The International Day for Biological Diversity falls on 22 May. Originally observed in December, it was moved by the UN to May at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Last year promoted the message: We’re part of the solution.
5 June is World Environment Day which has been on the calendar since 1974. The theme will be Only One Earth. Each year a different country is selected as the host nation and in 2022 it will be Sweden.
6-12 June is the week to get on your bikes for Bike Week. Leave the car at home and reduce your carbon emissions by using two wheels instead of four. A great opportunity for the family to spend active time together.
8 June is the day we celebrate World Oceans Day and the website has some cool posters to download to promote awareness of the need for a healthier ocean.
15 June is Global Wind Day…and it doesn’t involve baked beans. The day celebrates wind power and the website has children’s activities among its resources so all the family can get involved.
International Clean Air Day will be on 16 June. Air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths each year in the UK. Today is the day to improve public understanding and take action to tackle the issue.
Also on June 16 is National Refill Day, which aims to get the UK public to stop bottling it when it comes to our drinking water. The organisers want to help create a new social norm for refilling on the go – saving us money, keeping us hydrated and preventing millions of single-use plastic bottles at source.
Plastic-free Beauty Day is on 17 June and raises awareness of the amount of plastic that is used by the beauty industry that ends up either in landfill or the sea. Go to the website to sign the pledge.
18 June is the day adopted by the UN as Sustainable Gastronomy Day. Do you know where the meal on your plate has come from? Today is the day to reflect. Plenty of food for thought.
Plastic Free July is a global month of action to encourage everyone to refuse single-use plastics in order to reduce the plastic pollution in our oceans and landfills. Sign up on the website for a month of tips and advice.
Net Zero Week will run from 1-8 July, encouraging everyone to focus on reducing their carbon emissions.
3 July is International Plastic Bag Free Day, so if you’re daunted by a plastic-free month, why not start small and pledge not to use a single-use plastic bag today? Here are some interesting facts to consider – the average plastic bag is used for 25 minutes, yet it takes between 100 to 500 years to disintegrate.
10 July is another opportunity for us to celebrate the bee with Don’t Step on a Bee Day. They might be small but they have a mighty role to play in our ecosystem. So, take care where you’re walking.
28 July marks World Nature Conservation Day when we are encouraged to do anything from planting trees and growing vegetables to recycling and turning off appliances. In other words, steps that will help in any small way to protect our planet.
In 2021 Earth Overshoot Day fell on 29 July, almost a month earlier than in 2020. It marks the day when we have effectively used up nature’s budget. We cannot predict if Earth Overshoot Day will occur in July this year – but we will keep our fingers crossed it happens after the 29th.
4 August is another day to saddle up and take to two wheels for Cycle to Work Day. Not only will you be helping to save the planet, you’ll get a good workout and probably beat the traffic.
8-14 August should see you out working the soil to mark National Allotments Week. First started in 2002, the week highlights the benefits of growing your own fruit and veg, as well as eating healthily and uniting communities. Think about those food miles you’ll be cutting out by picking your own peas.
This is the month for Organic September – well, it wouldn’t make sense to hold it in any other month. According to the Organic Soil Association’s website, if Europe’s farmland all followed organic principles, agricultural emissions could drop by 40% by 2050. There is more interesting reading to encourage you to think about the food you eat through the month.
Zero Waste Week takes place from 5-9 September. From its small beginnings in 2008, the campaign has now grown to unite more than 56 million people across the globe, all focused on reducing waste and building a more environmentally sustainable future. Included on the website are recipes with ideas on how to use your leftovers rather than discarding them in the bin.
The International Day of Clean Air for blue skies falls on 7 September. Last year’s theme was Healthy Air, Healthy Planet. UN Member States appreciate the need to reduce the number of people dying or falling ill from pollution and uses this day to acknowledge what needs to be done.
16 September is International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, another UN-designated day. It helps to raise awareness of the harm that is being done to the ozone layer and the action taken to prevent further damage.
World Clean-up Day will be on 17 September when millions of people across 180 countries will unite to help clear up rubbish from beaches, rivers and streets.
The Great British Beach Clean will take place from 17-26 September. This is an event that has been happening annually for 28 years. More than 300 tonnes of litter have been picked up from beaches around the Great Britain in that time, helping to lower ocean pollution.
21 September is Zero Emissions Day. The concept is that for one day, we give the planet a day off by not burning any fossil fuels.
22 September is World Car Free Day. Ditch the motor for the day and enjoy walking streets without all the vehicle emissions.
Celebrate our waterways on September 25 which is World Rivers Day. The website has ideas on how to get involved.
The UN holds its International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction on 29 September to help raise awareness of the need to reduce food wastage. It is estimated that around a third of food that is produced around the world goes to waste each year.
Recycle Week was held in the last full week of the month last year and is likely to take a similar slot in this year’s calendar. The premise of the week is clear – to reduce waste by recycling. Most of us have recycling bins from our local authority, so it should be on everyone’s radar, but the message is: we can still do better.
This month is Unblocktober, a national campaign and awareness month to encourage the great British public to consider the health of our drains, sewers, rivers and seas. We all know about icebergs, but this campaign turns the focus to fatbergs. It’s a time to think about what we pour down our sinks or flush down our toilets.
October is also International Walk to School Month. A poll on their website says children who walk to school are more engaged with their streets and aware of the impact of cars than those who don’t. It’s also healthier for them and their parents.
1 October marks World Vegetarian Day. Even if you are a committed meat eater, why not give it up just for one day? Learn about the benefits and how you can support the day on their website.
World Animal Day is marked on October 4, the saint’s day of Francis of Assisi, well-known for his love of animals. The day’s focus is on animals being treated as sentient living things. Dame Maureen Lipman and Virginia McKenna are among its celebrity supporters.
This is the month to challenge yourself and your team to go vegetarian or vegan by joining the Veg Pledge for Cancer Research UK.
1 November marks World Vegan Day. Globally celebrated to recognise how far the vegan movement has come, and to highlight how accessible and beneficial veganism is.
5 December marks World Soil Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness on how to keep soil alive and protect biodiversity
11 December is International Mountain Day. Mountains host about half of the world's biodiversity hotspots. Unfortunately, mountains are under threat from climate change and overexploitation. See how you can get involved in this campaign because #MountainsMatter.