The environment is in fast decline and the media is constantly telling us ‘do something about it’ ‘little changes make big differences’ etc. Let’s throw ourselves in the deep end as share with you 10 things that I am doing for the benefit of the environment. You can do them too, but I do not recommend changing your unhealthy habits over night. Integrate one at a time to feel less overwhelmed!
In The Bathroom
- Swap to an electronic or bamboo toothbrush. Dentists advice us to change our toothbrush every 2 months which is totally unsustainable. Most toothbrushes last up to 4 months before the bristles become harmful! I have a bamboo toothbrush. I am not aware how much these cost (I received it as a gift) but I imagine they are more expensive that the regular plastic one. An electronic toothbrush is also an intelligent swap because instead of changing the whole body of the toothbrush when you need to, you are only changing the head.
- Use soap in bars. Not only do bars not have plastic in them (some do, so try and find a plastic-free one) they cost less and also waste less! The amount of chemicals in bottled soap is not good to keep washing down the drain. Simple (the skincare brand) offers their facial washes in bar form. I find this useful because my skin is so sensitive and using a regular hand wash would not look pretty!
- Keep to the basics. One soap for hands and body, one for your face (if you require an alternative for sensitive skin), one bottle of shampoo (or bar, but I couldn’t make the change because LUSH were the only brand I could find and their shampoo bars made my hair super greasy). Unless you have been gifted products, you really only need one of everything!
In The Kitchen
- This is place where most of your plastic waste and general waste comes from. It would be excellent if loose fruit and veg cost the same as packaged but sadly it doesn’t. Without spending too much money, here’s how to help the environment in your kitchen!
- Buy fruit and vegetables when they’re in season. Think about the amount of wasted crops there are when producing strawberries in winter. So many plants will die and this all goes to waste!
- Buy locally or grow your own. Fo those of you that do not have the privilege of a garden, try going to the market to buy your vegetables and bread. It means that there are less carbon emissions in transporting goods from one place to another. Work with what you have locally! Grow your own herbs and vegetables if you can. I am very lucky to have a garden, and we grow potatoes and green beans which is a meal in itself! My wonderful Granny has hens which is where our eggs come from.
- Cook your own meals. It is cheaper and producing less waste. McDonalds wastes so much lettuce and burger mince in the effort to create a perfect meal. If you did it yourself, you would be using all of what you have! I recommend meal-planning if you are busy in the week, or cooking a shepherd’s pie that would last a few meals. You don’t have to completely abolish eating out, but limit it to once a week or something like that.
- See what products you do not have to buy in plastic. Our nation’s snacking habits are the cause for a lot of plastic waste. Chocolate bars are always individually wrapped. Crisps come in plastic bags. We do not need the above items, but we think we do. It’s a massive lifestyle change to cut these out so you don’t have to. Try your best to have less on them. I rarely have crisps now, and I often buy them in a large bag instead of the individually wrapped portion sizes! It was a small habit I integrated and it is good for the bank balance, health and environment.
- No disposable lunches! Tupperware or bags are perfect for sandwiches. If you have to bring lunch to work, school or college then do so in a box. I currently use tupperware (my lunchbox has lasted two years and it is still fine) though you could have a lunch bag and wrap your food in greaseproof paper – but please use it again!
- Metal or hard plastic water bottle. Stop buying the convenient, single-use bottles! A metal water bottle will last a lifetime if you take care of it. Be a VSCO girl or whatever and keep your water bottle with you. I know that lots of shops now offer a refill point so use it! I have never bought myself a bottle of water and I encourage my family not to as well. Don’t find the prices of metal ones overwhelming either! The Chilli brand charge £40.00 per bottle. This is unnecessary payment and mine was only £16:99 (it still is a lot but you won’t find much cheaper). Hard plastic bottles are just short of £5:00 but I find these leak easily.
- Less meat. This is the hardest for most people but animal farming constitutes to 14.5% of our overall carbon emissions. I went pescatarian just over a year ago and now I am completely vegetarian! I know that some people don’t want to give up meat altogether, but try to have a few meals a week that do not to contain meat. For example: you could have a ham sandwich at lunchtime, but pasta and fried veg in the evening. It’s makes such a big difference.
In The Wardrobe
- Stop online shopping being a regular event and try to buy from suppliers in your own country. Shipping costs so much fuel that we are running out of so we really need to cut down on the rate we buy clothes in particular. You may have heard of fast fashion (I recommend you research it if you don’t know) and it is so common that it makes me sick. I’m not going to talk about what I own, but I do have lots of second hand items and the things I buy straight from the store are swimming costumes, plain t-shirts and leggings. Everything else (thanks to a best friend that is four years older than me) is second-hand. You do not need a different outfit each day.
- Buy in-store. If you are to buy anything new, go in-store shopping because your clothes don’t have to come packaged the annoying and non-recyclable plastic bags. In-store shopping can be time-consuming but it doesn’t have to be if you go in with a list of specific items!
- Sell or donate what you no longer wear. It’s as simple as it sounds! I prefer to donate but selling is a good way to make a little bit of money.
- Bring in a new item? Get rid of an old one. This would hopefully mean that you are sticking to the same amount of clothes and your wardrobe is not massively expanding.
If you have read to the end of this post then I hope you take into account some of my advice! It is crucial that we make a change to our throw-away culture and also make more sustainable choices. Convenience is the only barrier. When we tackle that one, we have done it!
Have you ever tried vegetarianism? What changes are you making for the benefit of the environment and our future?
Thank you all so much for reading and have a great day!