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Smart resource use – doing more with less - 17/10/2011

Our future well-being depends on how efficiently we use resources now. Below are some tips on how we can do this.

Our current consumption behaviour has a price: as resources become scarcer, we put our future welfare at risk.

We are using the earth’s limited resources much faster than can be replenished. Our supplies of minerals, metals and energy are under threat, as are stocks of fish, timber, water, fertile soils and other natural resources.

Resource efficiency is about using resources sustainably – doing more with less and reducing our impact on the environment. Making the right choices by changing our consumption choices can help ensure a good quality of life, now and for the generations to come. It's not about consuming less – it's about consuming differently.

What can we do, and how?

About 80% of the environmental impact of our lifestyles comes from housing, transport and food, so that’s where we need to act most.

We need to change the way we consume. We should use resources more sparingly, reuse or recycle them when we can, put a value on those that aren't priced, and use less polluting alternatives.

It means rethinking routines, asking more questions about where products come from and how they were produced, avoiding waste, making sustainable choices, reading labels more carefully, reusing and recycling, and making space for nature.

We can start with everyday things

If we ate a little less meat and dairy products, we could help protect biodiversity more, and put less pressure on land. Try to cut food waste by shopping more carefully and using up leftovers.

You can save energy in the home by eliminating draughts and adjusting your thermostat. And if you do need to upgrade your mobile every year, dispose of it properly as it contains precious metals that can be recycled. 

It's a challenge, but at this point we still have a choice. So what would you rather do: face the problem later or start living more resource-efficiently today?

More tips on using resources wisely

What the EU is doing about resource efficiency

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