Giving ourselves a sustainable lifestyle is a small way we can prevent more plastic going into the ocean and combat climate change! No, I’m not saying throw out everything and become a minimalist vegan (however, if that is your jam, whooo go you) but I am saying that little changes to your lifestyle and diet can help our environment and yourselves. Many of the products we use are made of plastic, if these go into the oceans etc, fish can eat them meaning that in turn we can then eat those micro plastics digested by the fish when eating. This is also similar by drinking out of single use plastic bottles, you are consuming micro plastics when drinking water which isn’t great!
I hope these tips help you on your way to a more sustainable lifestyle. I know it can be expensive and hard to change everything at once so I suggest making little and small changes when you can and do it over time, like I am.
Here are a few sustainable swaps you can make over time:
Reusable food wraps- waxed paper or Tupperware is really good for keeping your food fresh all day and is reusable where as clingfilm is not.
Water bottles- BPA free water bottles are not only better for your health (as you aren’t consuming as many micro plastics) but is better for the environment. The average reusable water bottle is about £10 thats the same price as 10+ bottles of water in plastic bottles, plus the bottles you then wont need to buy! Most places like cafes will now refill your refillable bottles for free, if you’re in Aber like me, look for the refill sticker in the window, you can find more info on the refill scheme here https://refill.org.uk/refill-aberystwyth/
Travel mugs- such like water bottles this is an easy swap, coffee shops will usually give a 25p discount to those who bring in there own travel mugs or even still you can fill this up at home and have you’re coffee on the go and save yourself some cash too!
Reusable straws/paper- Metal and paper straws aren’t only cute but environmentally friendly too! I’m living for all the different colours and patterns you can get! You can also get collapsable straws too so they dont take up too much room in your bag or pocket.
Carrier bags- take them with you, I always have one folded in the bottom of my bag, not only will you be ready for the little things you might accumulate throughout the day, if you need to go shopping you don’t have to pay 10p+ per plastic bag. However if say your Tescos bag for life breaks, the shop will replace them for free, saving you money!
Loose leaf tea- Many brands have tea bags which contain many micro plastics so to eliminate this you can buy loose leaf tea, not only does it feel fancy, you can get multiple cups worth from it!
Bar soap- bar soap is a great swap because companies who produce bar soap over liquid soap have a 25% lower carbon footprint in production of the product. We also use about 30% more water when washing our hands when using liquid soap, so this is a simple and effective change you can make.
Cloth napkins/microfibre- Kitchen roll is a single use way to do your cleaning, instead opt for scrap pieces of cloth (Old socks are suprisingly good for this) or microfibre materials as these are effective at cleaning and once used you can pop it in the washing machine and it can be used again. I suggest having different cloths for different jobs to avoid cross contamination, Youtuber Emily Norris uses a blue cloth for loo and a pink one for the sink in her bathroom.
Silicone baking mats instead of baking paper- not only does this cut down on the amount of oil you use it is reusable!
At home cleaning products- pros of making your own cleaning products there is minimal waste and because it is natural it is safer for kids and pets or even a multi-purpose cleaner so that there is only one bottle instead of seven.
Buy in bulk- this saves on packaging and petrol
Dryer balls- dryer balls help dry your clothes in Half the time if you are using a tumble dryer but then again the washing line is your most eco friendly way to dry your clothes!
Menstrual cups- tampons and sanitary pads use a lot of plastic and aren’t biodegradable, but you can buy biodegradable ones if you dont want to opt for a menstrual cup but these ultimate save you money as they are reusable. The average person on their period will change a tampon 2.8 times more than a menstrual cup.
2nd hand items- Reusing old clothes or buying from a charity shop is better for the environment as fast fashion has a high carbon footprint.
Compost- My tip for this is only compost if you are going to use it if not make use of that food bin that the councils in your area give you!
Recycle properly- Learn what can and cant be recycled, putting something that cannot be recycled in the incorrect place or something not being clean before being put in the recycling can contaminate that section which then has to be taken to landfill instead.
Reuse single use items as much as possible- For example bread bags can be used to take your sandwich to work, or I use it for my wet swimming costume after a swim to take it home and then my bag doesn’t get wet!
Only buy what you need- Although contractidictory of buying in bulk which can be useful on things you will know you will use, this is so important as there is overall less waste in your life, especially when it comes to food!
Buy from sustainable brands- fast fashion has a massive carbon footprint but buying your staple items that will last many years can lower that foot print and these brands usually pay their workers good money. For example, Lucy and Yak are a great sustainable company or even TALA who have some beautiful clothes which are ethically attained and look absolutley BOMB!
Eat less meat- This actually is something I am new too and it has made me feel better within myself as I have more energy but it is also better for the planet! Try a no meat monday every week and see how it goes!
Remember, doing only one of these things can make a better life than doing none!