Sustainability is a topic I think we’re all seeing come up more and more and, for good reason. More of us are waking up to the fact that our planet isn’t going to be around forever, especially if we keep treating it the way we are.
When it comes to making changes though… it can feel a little intimidating. There are so many things impacting the environment, it’s tricky to know where to start – it can feel like too big a job. There also seems to be a fear that people are waiting, ready to criticise you at every turn when you start to mention your desire to be more sustainable (especially online).
These barriers can be enough to make you turn your back and stick your head back in the sand. And I think, sadly, a lot of people have done this.
For me, it took a while to go from thinking about making changes to *actually* making changes. The catalyst for action in my case was watching an Instagram story from Lucy Lucraft. In the story, Lucy talked about the fact that the way we farm and produce meat products has the biggest impact on the planet and so, reducing our meat intake is one of the best ways we can reduce that impact.
She wasn’t telling anyone to become vegan or even vegetarian, but to simply experiment with reducing meat intake. I talked to Dan about us trying to have one veggie dinner a week and he was up for it, so we explored the many (many!) options available to us.
Now we always have at least one vegetarian meal a week, but often it’s more than one. We rarely eat red meat and our dinners are now mainly chicken, fish or veggie. It’s not groundbreaking and we’re certainly not going to win any medals for our contribution to sustainability, but hey – we’re making a start.
So, I thought it may be helpful to document here a few of the small steps we’ve taken in the hope that you’ll be inspired too.
Eating less meat
As I’ve mentioned, this was the first thing we did and it was so much easier than I thought it would be. There is a huge range of meat-free options now available in supermarkets and it’s all about trying and seeing what works for you. We’ve become big fans of the Linda McCartney range (especially the ‘pulled pork’ burgers!), but Quorn mince in spaghetti didn’t hit the mark for us.
I’m not sure I’ll ever go full vegetarian, but making small changes and focusing on reducing, not restricting is working well.
Getting reusable water bottles and coffee cups
These are some of the easiest steps we can take, right? I used to buy plastic bottles of water regularly, but am now very happy with my metal water bottle that’s not only better for the environment, but keeps my water cold for hours. Mine was £10 on Amazon, and I’ve had it for about a year now, so I’ve 100% saved money by using this over £2 plastic bottles every couple of weeks.
Reusable coffee cups also save money as most coffee shops offer a discount if you use one! I’ve got two now, one at work to use in the cafe on-site, and one to keep in my bag and use at weekends. These are two investments many of us can make easily.
Swapping single-use cleaning wipes with a reusable e-cloth
Up until pretty recently Dan and I were using disposable wipes to clean down certain surfaces in the flat. I started seeing articles about how much of an impact these have and was frankly getting bored of buying pack after pack.
After a little research I found the e-cloth, which you can use with just water. It’s perfect for what we need and while I won’t say it’s the *best* at cleaning (you have to really scrub and go over areas) it is much better than adding to the waste pile of wipes.
Using reusable bamboo pads instead of single-use cotton pads
Another single-use product I was getting bored of re-purchasing was cotton pads. I use two every day I wear make-up (which is most days!) and was going through them at an alarming rate. I noticed some people I follow online using bamboo pads that you can wash and reuse, so ordered a pack and – they’re great!
I use them just like a regular cotton pad, but afterwards give them a quick rinse with water. Then, when I next do a wash I stick them in the washing machine and they come out perfectly clean, ready to use again.
Being more mindful with my wardrobe
The fashion industry is considered the second largest polluter in the world after oil, so yeah – this was an area that has to be addressed. I’ve become much more aware of my shopping habits over the last year and really do not buy anything unless I feel I really need it.
I’m more likely to hit up charity shops these days and am leaning towards more ethical brands when I do want something new. I also got an electric de-bobbler which has given some old jumpers new life! For more on this, I really recommend listening to this podcast episode from ‘The Fringe of it’, lots of juicy tips in there.
These really are small steps, but they’re helping us build momentum. A tip I’ve heard from Lucy is to start with the biggest waste culprits in your life – what are you buying, using and throwing away? That’s why I’ve started with ditching wipes and cotton pads.
There are so many more things to do, but slow and steady is how we’re approaching things. Next on the list are:
- Period products
- Eco-friendly candles (I burn a lot and want to be more mindful of their ingredients)
- Kitchen towel and cling-film alternatives
If you have any recommendations on the above – I’d love to hear them! I’d also love to hear where you’re at with all of this – have you made changes?
Before I go I wanted to mention that my monthly newsletter is going out next Sunday, 26th May, and it will be about grit, perseverance and holding strong when the waves just keep crashing down on you. If you want to receive it, make sure you subscribe before Sunday.
I hope you all have a great week ahead!
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