I don’t know if I’ve ever spoken about this on the blog before, but being environmentally conscious – and aware! – is something I’ve become pretty passionate about since moving into my own place; and although I haven’t transitioned to wind power or have my own vege patch (yet!) I do try to be considerate and kind when it comes to products I by/actions I take. So here are a few very simple but effective ways to be a little more green and reduce your pollution on our beautiful planet.
Living in Weipa we never had a recycling service, and as far as I’m aware there still isn’t one available yet (that’s over 14 years – that I know of – of nobody recycling up there 😦 ) – so THAT SUCKS. In my current apartment complex, we only have a skip available, so again my rubbish doesn’t get disposed of as well as it could. So if you DO have a recycling bin, please use it! And use those triangle-option bins at the shops, too! It really doesn’t take much extra time to sort your rubbish at the time of disposing it, so yeah, start with that one.
2. Turning the lights off
This one is also pretty self-explanatory, but sooooo many people aren’t bothered by it. Not only are you SAVING YOURSELF MONEY by flicking a switch once you’re finished in the room, but it’s also reducing your overall energy consumption. Imagine how much power a city could save if we all turned out every light we weren’t using every night. Crazy.
3. Using eco bags when doing your groceries
I’ve never really liked the feeling after you do a massive shopping/grocery haul and you’re left with all of the empty plastic bags. Yes, you can definitely reuse them, but I rarely have the need to, and since living in our apartment we accumulated an entire cupboard of unused plastic bags. I simply couldnt’t use them fast enough to compensate for the amount I would bring home with each grocery shop. So one day at Woolworths I finally bit the bullet and bought some of their super-sturdy hessian bags and haven’t looked back (I actually get super grumpy if I leave them at home/have bought too many things to fit into them). I won’t lie – I still bring home plastic bags from various stores, usually if I’m running errands and didn’t bring a bag big enough to fit everything in, but at least I’m TRYING. With the upcoming plastic bag ban in QLD, now’s the best time to start training yourself to say no to plastic and remember to grab your reusables out of the car.
4. Swapping to receive your bills via email
This is another easy way to reduce your paper waste, plus it makes the whole depressing ordeal quicker and easier to keep track of. The amount of times I’ve gone searching for a reference number in the past is ridiculous, but now I can just do a search in my emails (or through my company account) and everything is readily accessible.
5. Hang out your clothes
Don’t be so lazy, man. Okay, so anyone with a baby/small children gets a free pass from this one, because those little bastards take up a LOT of your time (and go through a lot of outfits), so sometimes a parent/guardian/excellent big sister has to do what they’ve gotta do. Otherwise: get a washing schedule in place and take advantage of warm, sunny days.
6. Only buy what you will actually eat
When I first moved to Cairns my brother and I discovered the local farmer’s market and basically lost our shit over how much fruit/veges were available at such a low cost. So, we went a little bananas and bought a LOT of food. Food that unfortunately went off well before we could manage to consume it, resulting in WASTE. It’s actually such a crappy feeling having to throw out food that you never even got to touch, simply because you overcompensated and bought too much of it. Now I try to only shop for fresh stuff as I’m going to need it, and plan out dinner ingredients before I go to the supermarket to avoid getting shit because it was on sale/I saw someone’s instagram salad that I had vague plans to recreate.
7. Donate your clothes
C’mon guys, if you’re still not doing this then you don’t even deserve to be buying them in the first place. I’m trying to be realistic when I say that no one keeps everything they buy forever. Sometimes, it’s a simple as the item being beautiful but completely inappropriate for your everyday climate. Sometimes you buy the wrong size and they won’t let you return a sale item. Sometimes you fall in love with the piece but grow out of that fashion style altogether. Look, it happens, and when it does it’s our job to be conscious and smart about where our clothes end up. Donating them is fun because the clothes are getting a second chance at life (and love!), and it’s nice to know that someone out there is going to appreciate what you don’t.
8. Shop less & limit those fast fashion purchases
Yes, I know that we can’t all afford the original or designer pieces, so we settle for something similar at a sliver of the cost. There’s no shame in having to dress to suit your budget. But there is shame in supporting companies who outsource to factories with hellish working conditions and who create mountains of waste with every new line they drop. It’s not sustainable, or ethical, and usually the clothes don’t last as long, so it’s definitely worth doing your research and sticking to brands you know produce mindfully and who make quality clothing. I’m planning to make a blog post about all of my favourite brands, and how they are being eco-conscious with their products, so stay tuned for that!
9. Reduce your animal product consumption
Don’t worry, I’m not about to start preaching veganism to you (even though it sounds amazing and is something I am very much looking into), but the time for denial is over. We don’t NEED meat and dairy to survive. We’ve grown up with it and we’ve become accustomed to using it as the foundations for all of our meals. But we don’t need to. Over the past couple of years I’ve began exploring how I can create vege based meals, and on the days that I do eat completely vegetarian (usually unintentionally, because I bloody love my vegetables) I don’t feel any less energised or full. I don’t expect anyone to go completely cold turkey immediately, but it’s worth reducing your consumption and experimenting with a couple of dinners a week that are completely vegetarian/vegan (it’s surprisingly easy to do!). And if you’re still not convinced, I urge you to try the vege burrito from Guzman Y Gomez. You’ll thank me later.
10. Buy organic cleaning/skincare products
We all know that organic produce isn’t always cheap, but being eco-friendly with your cleaning supplies and skincare DEFINITELY IS. Coles and Woolworths (in Aus) both have various organic cleaning/household product brands (Earth’s Choice, Thankyou and Organic are my faves) and it’s actually only a dollar or so more to shop for these products that are not only better for your skin but better for our waterways. In terms of skincare, there is a mountain-load of readily available products that don’t use nasties and are perfectly safe to be washed down the drain (Go-To, Sukin and Lush have won my heart over).
Now I’ve gotten onto my grass-fed high horse it’s hard to get off. Sometimes I just get so damn mad that people can be so careless when it comes to our planet. Because, hellllooo?! We don’t have a backup!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post, and it either gave you some useful tips or confirmed that you are in fact amazing for already doing all of these things (you go, Glen Coco!), and if you think it’s irrelevant, well, go sit in the corner with Donald Trump, eh?
Kidding. Sort of.
Till next time,