No matter who you are – no matter what your age, race or beliefs are – absolutely anyone can make some small changes to become a more sustainable person. Small changes may not feel like much but if enough people make ‘small’ changes, these ‘small’ changes will very easily turn into big changes!
Not all of us have the time, money or expertise to do a whole lot of good on this planet so it’s important to take control of the little things we can. I try to be as sustainable as possible in my day to day life. Sometimes I forget and sometimes it’s not convenient but the important thing is to at least try.
Here are five small changes you can make in your everyday life.
BUY A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
This one is a no-brainer really but also benefits YOU as well as the planet. Stop buying plastic bottles of water and pick up a nice reusable bottle. You can buy them for as cheap as 99p in Wikos and, elsewhere like H&M and Primark, you can buy ones with super cute slogans. Not only can plastic bottles of water release harmful chemicals into your water, but the plastic tops of bottles cannot be recycled and are another contributing factor to the plastic harming our oceans. The bottles themselves also require huge amounts of fossil fuels to produce them and they often go to landfills once used as they’re tough to recycle. Using a reusable bottle will make loads of difference and always carrying one in your bag will also encourage you to drink more water.
I do preach about veganism sometimes but I am also aware that it’s not the easiest thing in the world. That’s why I often suggest people try giving up meat just once a week. It’s better for your health and it’s a really good way to get more creative with your cooking, too. If ten million people gave up meat for just one day a year, for example, it would reduce water usage by 13 million tonnes and save up to 5,700 acres of land for example. And that’s just one day a year. Imagine if enough people did that once a week?!
SAY NO TO PLASTIC BAGS
Use reusable shopping bags (even better, say no to a plastic bag for life and instead buy a paper or material bag. H&M are well known for cheap conscious bags at their till points!) and stop buying fruit in plastic packaging. I’m a sucker for buying a two or four pack of avocados from Tesco, which I never finish before they go out of date (the ripe window for avocados is so hard to nail down) so not only do I waste plastic by buying these, I also waste food too. Instead grab your fruit and vegetables loose. It’ll cut down on plastic packaging and make you more thoughtful and aware of how much food you really need, therefore stopping you wasting any.
BUY SUSTAINABLE TOILETRIES
These days, there are lots of sustainable products on the market right now which makes it almost overwhelming. My favourite brand is PicnMix however, who provide an array of products and kits including a festival kit. They sell things like bamboo straws, natural deodorant and even biodegradable toothpaste. The festival kit really does cover pretty much everything, which is why I always take it with me when travelling now too. I absolutely love the toothpaste and the natural deodorant because they do a much better job than you’d expect! Plus, ordering a kit like this means you don’t forget anything when packing for a festival or holiday.
I’ll never forget the time I worked at Next and had an email asking me to print out a notice…it was a seven-page-long guide to recycling! I still laugh at how ironic it was that they not only needed seven pages to put the message across but that it needed to be printed off in the first place! This final step is pretty easy; many banks, for example, are paperless now anyway, but it’s so easy to forget how to reduce paper waste when working in an office for example. Now, we use scrap paper in the printer if it’s not an important printout and on the very rare occasion I go to an ATM, I always say no to a receipt. Easy choices – though often forgotten – that make all the difference.
These are just five seemingly (but not really) obvious steps to make a small difference to be more kind to our planet = why not make some of them your new year’s resolutions?