We all have our own daily routine when it comes to day-to-day activities such as cleaning, shopping or cooking. Packaged food, traditional cleaning products, long showers, bargain clothes from the high street… As convenient as they may seem, the majority are extremely hazardous to the environment and will most likely have a negative impact on the planet.
The good news is – you’re able to change this! Many of us put our brains on “auto-pilot” when it comes to routine, but once you understand the importance of these small actions, change will be the next natural step. Don’t be hard on yourself, but don’t deliberately look the other way either!
We’ve gathered adaptable tips so you don’t have to bend over backwards to start making positive adjustments.
Recycle – Reuse – Repeat
If you’re feeling creative, there is no limit to what you can reuse or entirely transform;
- Cans and bottles can become plant holders, or a whole garden if you have the time.
- Old take-out containers make for great little treat holders, you can even decorate them, fill them with baked goods and you’ve got yourself a gift idea.
- As for your clothes, turning an old pair of jeans into shorts or an old Goat t-shirt into a dress or tank-top, if it’s a really old item, you could even use it as a cleaning cloth around the house. See some tips here.
- Pay a visit to your local vintage store; you never know what treasures are hidden there.
- Keep an eye out for refill options of products, they are great help in reducing waste.
Head up! When recycling, as well as separating your papers from glass, make sure the items are washed thoroughly. This minimizes chances of contamination and speeds up the recycling process.
Cooking too much food, leaving the lights on… We’ve all been there, right? Hence, the best way to tackle this problem is to policy yourself:
- Make sure you use the correct dosages when doing laundry, dishes or cleaning.
- If you made too much food, how about having it for lunch the next day?
- Put your heater/air conditioner on a timer.
- Check out websites like Supercook, where you can list the ingredients you have lying around and get recipes based off them. Fun way to use everything in the fridge!
- The shower can be a great place to think, but reducing your showers by a couple of minutes every day would, eventually, make a huge difference. Have you tried the five minute water challenge?
Leave the car at home
Cars and vans are responsible for around 12% of total EU emission of CO2. That’s a lot! Try leaving your car at home once a week and taking public transport instead.
If you don’t love that idea, how about biking? No parking nightmares or traffic jams to stress about, you save money, not to mention the sensation of freedom that being outdoors at your own pace brings. Also, it is a workout in itself.
Biking not your thing? You could enjoy the same benefits from simply walking. A bit of walking and fresh air can do wonders to the body, mind and the environment, reducing stress levels and getting you in touch with nature. If you’re still not convinced, check out this study. Told ya, get movin’!
This is a big one. According to Greenpeace, up to 12.7 million tons of plastic enters our ocean every year. So what can we do to change this when that stuff is EVERYWHERE?
- If you aren’t already, get yourself a reusable shopping bag. Nowadays, they are available everywhere in all shapes and sizes, so there is no excuse for plastic bags when shopping.
- Say no to plastic straws! If your favourite bar or restaurant is still working with those, spam their suggestion box with requests. Ok, don’t spam… But do request passionately!
- This is a given nowadays, but carry a reusable water bottle with you. It’ll save you a ton of money.
- Same goes for coffee – Did you know most of those cups your coffee comes in are not even recyclable? They’re usually lined with polyethylene, which is a plastic. Big fat Nope! So, invest in a reusable cup- you never know, you might even get a discount on your coffee or even better, start a trend among your friends.
- When doing groceries, pick products in boxes rather than plastic bags.
- Chew less gum! We don’t love this one either, but there’s plastic in it and it is not biodegradable. This info-graphic explains it better.
Heads up! To give you a better idea on how you play a part in plastic usage, Greenpeace UK have developed a plastic footprint calculator. It is an interesting and eye-opening exercise that will make you think twice about it.
Go meat-free a few times a week (if you’re still at it)
The benefits of reducing meat from your diet will change you. According to a study, you’re less likely to die of any cause during a 10-year period, plus you’d be doing the environment a solid! Think about giving your body a break a few times a week, sticking to lighter options with lots of fruits, veggies and grains. They are packed with water and vitamins to keep you hydrated and high in soluble fibre, which helps lower cholesterol. Not to mention nowadays, there are plenty of veggie options for burgers, ‘steaks’ and so on that are delicious enough to please even the more hard-to-please meat eaters!
Apart from the health benefits it gives you, skipping meat has a big effect on the environment. “Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation.” To educate yourself more on this topic, check out these documentaries we suggested to see.
Back to basics
If you’re not already doing so, you might want to give homemade alternatives a chance, as they’re often a much more sustainable option:
- Because of its chemicals, most stain removers are highly toxic for the environment. Mixing apple cider vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and warm water makes an excellent homemade version.
- Aloe Vera works a treat for mild burns; you can find it at any flower store.
- Have you tried olive oil as eye make-up remover? Yes, even waterproof. Apply it gently with a cotton pad and remember less is more!
- In coconut oil we trust! Other than cooking, it can be used as an effective body moisturiser, or even as a massage oil. If your hair is feeling very dry, try adding a couple of drops to your conditioner when showering.
PS. For more tips on this subject, remember that Google is your best friend!
Jeesh, glad we got that covered. Gonna go grab a water with my reusable bottle!