It is currently Plastic Free July – have you made any efforts to reduce the private rental sector’s (PRS’) contribution to the issue of overfull landfills?
There is room for improvement in every sector, and this one is no exception. There are plenty of changes landlords and letting agents can make to help make a difference.
The aim of Plastic Free July is to encourage people to avoid products that include single-use plastic. From fruit and veg packaging, to carrier bags, there is currently a lot of unnecessary plastic being used daily.
Build to rent operator Atlas Residential has particularly shown an interest in this movement. Jonathon Ivory, Managing Director at Atlas Residential, has said: “It’s important for those spearheading any new sector to set standards that others can aspire to.
“That’s why Atlas Residential, together with our building owners, is firmly focused on how we can ensure that our Build to rent homes are as respectful of the planet as possible. It’s about setting the scene for a joined up approach, with the future firmly in mind.”
Quentin Keeble, Development Manager for Atlas Residential, has also commented: “Buildings produce something like 60% of the waste to landfill. As a business and building operator we have a responsibility not just to control our own waste but also to try to influence our residents to improve their habits.
“Plastic Free July is a fantastic concept, asking people to change their habits for a month and hopefully a lifetime. We have embraced it as a business because we are concerned for the compromised world our children will inherit. The time for change is upon all of us, now.
“As Barack Obama said: ‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person.'”
There are a number of things landlords can do to encourage their tenants to also make changes to the amount of plastic they use daily:
- For those who like to provide welcome packs for their tenants (and to those who don’t, you should definitely consider it!), you could pop in a couple of canvas shopping bags. At 5p per plastic carrier bag, a year’s worth of shopping would be throwing money away
- Other items you could include are water bottles, to discourage pre-bottled water, and a travel mug. Some coffee shops offer discounts as an incentive to bring in your own reusable mug, instead of disposables that come with plastic lids
- If your property comes furnished/semi-furnished, get your tenants off to a green start by allocating an area for recycling. Simply having the different coloured tubs for plastic, paper and glass will work as a great reminder
There are other ways in which you can influence others to live a greener lifestyle as well. Landlords should be aware that changes have now been made to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) and that the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) requirement for their properties is now set at E or above. However, the better the rating, the lower those energy bills will be. By installing double-glazed windows, a more efficient boiler, and effective insulation in attics and lofts, people can save money and help the environment.
We know there are plenty of other options out there, so feel free to let us know about any good ones of your own!