Eco-friendly initiatives are all the rage right now and for a good reason! The Earth has never been under more stress to support our booming population and excessive consumerism, and it is absolutely essential that we start to give back to Mother Nature -otherwise we definitely won't be around for a lot longer.
Going Green doesn't have to be scary, incredibly difficult or costly, and will have many benefits for you personally and for the wider community. Here are a few ways that you can reduce your impact on the Earth to become a more Eco-friendly citizen-
It is no secret that plastic is a major source of worldwide waste, and is not only choking our oceans but is also poisoning us through what we eat. As plastic breaks apart over many years, it becomes smaller and smaller and is eaten by more and more animals who mistake it for food and/or gobble it up as it lies around near its food source. Microplastics are often consumed by small fish and when these fish are eaten by bigger animals higher up in the food chain, the plastic travels from animal to animal, eventually ending up within that big juicy fillet of salmon on your plate. These plastics do not disappear but are brought up through the food chain to us. We are unknowingly consuming plastic daily, which is dangerous, poisonous, and downright gross.
Single Use Plastics
Reducing out plastic usage is essential to combating the amount of waste we are producing. Ways that you can reduce your plastic use include:
Buying goods that are jarred or canned (that can be recycled) rather than packaged in plastic
Either bring some reusable produce bags to the shop with you (you can purchase or sew these yourself out of old fabric) or don't use the plastic bags provided at all. It is common to wash fruit and veggies before you eat them, so the plastic is really an unnecessary part of the equation! If you must use bags but forgot to bring some, use the paper mushroom bags provided in most supermarkets!
On the subject of reusable bags - please use these at the shopping centre rather than plastic. If you are prone to forgetting them, keep some in your car! If you then forget to bring them from your car into the shop, just pop your food back into your trolley after paying, wheel it to your car, and pack your bags there yourself. Easy!
Say no to single-use plastics such as cutlery and straws. Have a set of reusable cutlery in your car or handbag for such moments, and if you really need a straw, purchase a reusable stainless steel one, they are great! Remind staff when ordering that you don't want plastic cutlery/straws- they often won't ask and will give them to you out of habit.
Invest in a reusable drink bottle. In countries like Australia, our tap water is perfectly safe to consume, making bottled water a 100% markup in the cost of what you can simply get from the tap. Save the waste (and your money) and grab a reusable bottle!
-Have a reusable coffee cup on standby! Saying no to single-use coffee cups is a great initiative that many people have gotten on board with. Many cafe's offer discounts on drinks when you BYO cup, and you can get some really adorable designs which also make it a perfect gift for someone you care about!!
Avoiding the Bin
When there is a chance to reuse, recycle or upcycle things at home, you absolutely must utilise the option and avoid the bin!
Food makes up a whole lot of the waste we as humans produce, and this can easily be reduced through the introduction of a compost bin, worm farm or chicken pen to your home! These are all wonderful ways in which you can put the nutrients from food waste back into the Earth and the by-product of any of these solutions will also make for a wonderful garden fertiliser!
A great tip for your old homewares, clothes, shoes, linen and other such goods is to bag them up all donate them to your local second-hand store or church! This will help people in need, reduce waste and clear your conscience in the process! If you are wanting to take a different approach with your old wares, you could take them down to a local swap-meet or try to sell them on Gumtree to make some extra cashola!
Eco-Friendly at Home
There are so many ways that you can reduce your impact on the Earth simply within your own home, and these can range from the mild to the fully-committed!
Taking recycling seriously
Recycling is one of the simplest ways in which you can be eco-friendly at home. We all have a recycle bin, and we can easily use it to do good! Check on your local council website what exactly you can and cannot recycle- you may be surprised by some of the things that can go in that bin! For example, upon checking my council website I found out that scrunched up aluminium foil can be popped into the recycle bin! I never knew!
Remember to recycle toilet old rolls, the cardboard boxes you get your muesli bars/cup-of-soups in/etc., and be sure to properly rinse out your used cans and jars- really dirty containers often won't be recycled at the plant so please be sure that your hard work actually pays off!
Fun and Effective DIY
There are so many ways in which you can Go Green through DIY projects at home if you are feeling savvy and want to save some pennies!
-You can make your own reusable shopping bags out of old T-shirts quite easily! Here is a link for the step by step process:https://helloglow.co/recycle-your-t-shirt-into-a-no-sew-reusable-grocery-bag/
-This may not be for everyone, but there are very simple ways to make your own shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste at home using simple ingredients! You can then store these in glass jars or old bottles, which will further reduce the amount of plastic you would usually use in buying bottles and tubes of toothpaste. It's not for everyone but is an amazing initiative for the environment, and the products you can make at homework just as well as what you would pay for at the supermarket.
Planting a veggie patch at home is a wonderful, fun, cheap and easy way to save money, and ensure that you are eating pesticide-free food! When shopping for fruit and vegetables hitting a farmers market is a much better decision than ducking down to your local big-chain supermarket. This will not only help support the local farmers but is a much more sustainable way of purchasing and consuming food.
Changing Food habits
This is definitely a contentious topic but is something that must be highlighted. Know that what you consume is totally and completely your choice, but being informed on its impact is just as important as having the right to choose. The meat and dairy industry produce more waste and pollution than all other forms of pollution (including cars, planes, homes and factories) in the world, combined . Reducing waste and pollution is as easy and choosing what you put on your plate. Reducing meat and dairy consumption is a great way to help the Earth and work to be more sustainable. Without more people making these sustainable choices, we are unlikely to survive the next 100 years (check the recent news about climate change- it's some seriously scary stuff). You don't have to immediately go blazing into a meat-free/vegan lifestyle if that's not what you want, but trying Meat-Free Mondays or switching to soy milk instead of dairy (actually very tasty and reduces a lot of bloating and tummy issues in most people) are ways in which you can have a big impact. You make the most important choices for the planet in your supermarket, so consider how your dollar can go further, and do more for the world.
All in all, there are MANY ways in which you can be more eco-friendly and trust me, this list only contains a small number of ways to do so!
Please remember that every choice you make to Go Green has a real and lasting impact, and is absolutely invaluable to the wellbeing of the planet, to your family, and the generations to come.