So I’ve wanted to write a little something about living more ethically and sustainably for what feels like an age, but I guess I’ve felt too bogged down in the politics of it all at times. After all, if I suggest to switch to compostable bin liners (which, for the record, I am) I’m sure someone out there will suggest not using bin liners at all.
I am a firm believer in every little bit helps. For some, reducing, reusing and recycling to the point where you could fit every bit of trash you created for the year into a jam jar, is the only way to make any significant change. And in some ways I agree. But unless you’ve lived your entire life consciously, then the chances are you’re trying to undo consumer habits that you’ve also had a life time.
Plastic is all around us, so much so that we’re almost blind to its existence. It’s only when you really take a look around that you realise it’s everywhere, not to mention all the single use products we use like napkins, cotton wool, straws and even cutlery.
I remember looking at Little Ored’s toys one day thinking “OMG. It’s all plastic.” I just didn’t think. But now I’m thinking, questioning and trying my best to make changes to my lifestyle so I can live as ethically as possible. It’s not going to happen overnight, but even the smallest of changes have to make a difference and not just to the environment either. Turning vegetarian last July, was one of the best decisions I ever made. No longer could I turn a blind eye to the practices of the meat industry. I had my son to think of now, and I needed to start setting an example to him and what better way than to lead by it?
I’m still completely new at this. Still learning. But below are a few of the changes I’ve made that have been super easy and so make a great starting point for anyone looking to live more sustainably too! And just imagine the impact it would have on our planet if everyone did just even half of them?
Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one and you can do so knowing that what you’re using is both biodegradable and recyclable (not to mention that bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth making it ideal for mass manufacture).
Humble Brush is my personal favourite- they have great ethics as well as a great product.
As soon as I started thinking about how I was using cotton wool once and then simply throwing it away, I stopped, because it’s kinda crazy when you think about it. So I bought some facecloths which I now use instead- simple!
3. Bars of soap
I dread to think of the amount of bottles of hand soap and shower gel I’ve bought over the years. I used to think that if it came in recyclable packaging, then it was OK but now I realise that having an overflowing recycling bin isn’t necessarily a good thing and so I’ve stopped buying the bottled stuff in favour of bars of soap. If it was good enough for our Grannies, it’s good enough for us!
4. Old fashioned razors
I ditched the plastic, disposal ladies razor in favour of sharing Ored’s single blade razor. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I’ve had a few mishaps but once you get the hang of shaving with this type of razor you’ll find it better than those pesky plastic ones!
Out and About
Since the 5p charge came in for plastic bags, I’ve almost never left the house without a tote bag, and when I have, I’ve had to get creative with the storage under and on Little Ored’s pram! That isn’t to say I’ve never bought a plastic bag but it’s been few and far between compared to the days when I didn’t carry a tote with me.
6.Travel cups, water bottles and straws
Yes, you have to be prepared in the morning but it makes having coffee on the go completely guilt! And it’s not just coffee. Since I started carrying my 1.5L water bottle with me and refilling it in coffee shops and restaurants, I haven’t had to buy any bottled water in months- another small win against plastic!
House & Home
7. Go Vegan
More and more brands are waking up to the fact that consumers want cruelty free products that are eco-friendly, which is great news as it means that these types of products are easier to get your hands on!
All of Co-op’s own brand household products are both free of animal ingredients and are cruelty free. Marks and Spencer and Waitrose have also followed suit and even Tesco have an own brand range with plant-based, cruelty free cleaning products! And of course you have the long-standing Ecover and Method but whichever brand you plump for, you can do so knowing that no animasl had to suffer for a squeaky clean house.
8. Read the label
Did you know most of the plastic packaging found on a loaf of bread can be recycled, just not on your kerbside? We take ours to the recycling banks at our local supermarket where it can be recycled, along with products such as batteries etc. So it’s always worth reading and checking what parts of your trash can and can’t be recycled, and most importantly, where.
9. Shop smart for your groceries
Buy fruit and vegetables lose to minimise all that plastic packaging. Buying in bulk- such as pasta and rice- will also help do the same but try look for alternatives to your mainstream supermarkets too. If you’re lucky enough to have a package free shop, utilise it- just make sure to take your Kilner jars with you!
10. Eat more plants
I’m not going to tell you to go vegan. I’m not even going to tell you to go vegetarian, but what I am going to tell you is to introduce more plant-based meals in your diet. Not only will your health reap the benefits but the environment will benefit too.
As an excerpt from the Guardian illustrates, the practices of the agriculture sector are completely unsustainable.
The heavy impact on the environment of meat production was known but the research shows a new scale and scope of damage, particularly for beef. The popular red meat requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions. When compared to staples like potatoes, wheat, and rice, the impact of beef per calorie is even more extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing 11 times more greenhouse gases.
So there you have it!
But like I said I’m still completely new at this so if anyone would like to share their tips and tricks for living more ethically, please comment below as I’d love to read them!