Simple Steps for a More Sustainable Life
There is a lot going on right now, so it’s no surprise that many of us are suffering from eco-anxiety - the fear of environmental damage or ecological disaster caused by, well, us. But there’s no need to feel helpless, because there are things that we can do as individuals that make a difference.
The easiest place to begin is at home. The products in our bathrooms, and the items in our kitchens are great places to start. Think about the products you use and start swapping to eco alternatives when you are restocking next. For example, most toothpaste comes in tubes that can’t be recycled – so why not try toothpaste chew tablets that come in refillable or glass containers. Or once your shampoo and body wash is empty, ditch the plastic and switch to shampoo and soap bars.
Can’t start the day without caffeine? Choose fair trade coffee and switch to loose tea – because most tea bags are actually made from plastic. If your budget allows buy organic when you can. One big way of reducing your impact on the planet is going vegan. Not quite ready? Start by reducing the amount of animal-based foods you consume. You could start with meat free Monday’s or opt for oat-based ice cream.
Understanding what you are buying also helps. Spend a little extra time reading the labels on products – get to know the details. Look out for where they’ve come from and whether they are in season. If an item is out of season locally, then it will have been imported, and the further an item has travelled the more greenhouse gases emitted during transit. The same approach can be applied to clothes – choose organic and recycled materials and opt for garments made locally, and not abroad.
It’s important to improve the way we handle our own waste as well and to start by reducing it - do you need the cucumber wrapped in plastic, or the pre-cut mushrooms in a box? Can you repurpose the waste you do end up with – another dust bag? Use it to store your jewellery. Another shipping box? Flatten it and reuse it for your own packages later. Then lastly, make sure to recycle. Rinse out tins and containers and peel off plastic films from boxes and trays.
Being environmentally conscious can also make economic sense. You can save money, while reducing your carbon footprint by unplugging cables and devices when they aren’t being used. Turning off your TV and computer instead of leaving them on standby. Shutting off the tap when you are brushing your teeth. Taking shorter showers. And laundering your clothes at a lower temperature.
An overnight change may seem overwhelming but you can start today with just one small switch and, as you build up, it won’t be long before it is second nature and you’ve lowered your footprint.