I’m not vegan or vegetarian, I wear leather shoes, and I buy food in plastic packaging most days. So, why am I writing this post? Because I care about this planet, and I’ve opened my eyes to the need for change. We all need to take a little more responsibility, and care more for the planet we live on. It’s not all about going completely vegan, or never buying something in plastic packaging again. It’s about doing things that will, however big or small, make a difference and help with the change we need to make.
Please don’t think ‘I’m not going to a difference’ or ‘how is me doing this ONE thing going to make any change?’. Doing SOMETHING is better than doing nothing at all. It would be easy for us to bury our head in the sand and accept that this is what the world is destined for, but I think that’s the lazy option. Join me in 2019 as I try to reduce my impact on the planet and share my tips along the way.
So, what can we all do to make a difference?
1. Reuse your carrier bags
- Or even better, buy a few cotton/hessian shopper bags for your food shop and shopping trips. This is something that has improved massively since the 5p bag charge, but I still think could use some work. Even if paying 5p makes no difference to your bank balance, think about the environmental implications. You’ll use the bag a handful of times and it’ll end up in landfill. Try using a fabric bag that will last for years instead.
2. Buy Reusable Containers
- A water bottle. Not only will carrying your own bottle of water around save you money, it will also help reduce the amount of plastic bottles needing to be recycled.
- Coffee cup. Your own thermal coffee/ hot drink cup will keep your £4 coffee warmer for longer, and you won’t have to feel guilty about chucking a cup away every morning. Some coffee shops also reward you for using your own cup, so look into that in your local area too!
- Tupperware. You can save leftovers for tomorrow, freeze extra meals, or just pack your lunch in an airtight box. Stop wrapping your sandwich in cling film/ tin foil, it’ll help the environment and you won’t have to eat a squashed sandwich again.
3. Reduce your meat/dairy consumption.
- I know I’ve vaguely mentioned that you don’t need to go vegan to make a difference, well that’s not TOTALLY true. There’s more and more evidence showing that humans are consuming way too much red meat, and the health benefits of reducing our consumption is enough to persuade me to give it a go. So, I challenge you to cut down your meat consumption, whether it’s to; improve your health, help the planet, or ease yourself in to becoming veggie or vegan. Any of those reasons are as great as the next! Start will one less meaty meal a week and maybe try to get down to only eating meat 3/4 times a week.
4. Plan your food shop.
- Instead of picking up every piece of food that catches your eye, look at the dates on the items to try and reduce your personal food waste.
5. Buy loose fruit veg instead of packaged.
- This will help you buy only what you need, it usually works out way cheaper AND you’re helping reduce your single use plastic waste too!
6. Fast Fashion.
- It’s easy to get caught up in wearing the latest trends, picking up pieces because, IT’S SO CHEAP! But the fashion industry is most certainly contributing to climate change, by changing the way we shop we can help change the future of the planet.
- Think about whether you NEED the item.
- Question if it’s going to get the wear it deserves if you buy it, there might be someone else that would buy it and get more use out of it.
- Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean you need to buy it!
7. Beauty Products.
- Lipsticks, palettes and eyeshadows tend to be packaged in excessive plastic. It’s especially wasteful if you’re only planning on wearing that bright orange lipstick once. See if a friend’s got one you can borrow, or find an alternative that you’ll actually use.
- Shower gels and shampoos are products we re-buy at least once a month, especially in my house where there are six of us. See if you can buy the products in a larger bottle to cut down on your plastic waste, or all get on board and vow to start buying some naked products. When my shampoo runs out I’m going to pop on the LUSH website and buy a couple of their shampoo and conditioner bars.
- Cotton pads and wipes. Usually housed in plastic packaging and, most, not easily biodegradable. Think about investing in reusable cotton pads and muslin cloths instead. It’ll save you some pennies in the long run too.
Above are just seven simple ways that you can help the environment and reduce your impact on the planet. If you have any other suggestions please leave them in the comments as I’d love some more tips and tricks. I’m definitely not an expert at any of these, but will be doing my best this year to challenge myself to use less plastic and create less waste.