Be the change you want to see in an environmentally friendly world
What is a more current topic in world politics than the environment? Everywhere, you see political discussion popping up, but also individuals are fighting harder and harder to combat the waves of plastic and the hole in the ozone layer. And I think it is important that everyone needs to chime in to be more environmentally friendly as they reasonably can. And that is an important thing: reasonably.
Let’s start of with saying that I am by no means a zero waster: I don’t even come near to it. However, I have taken on the task to swap out items, one by one, to reduce the waste I produce. The first 7 steps I have written down here, but apart from buying in bulk, there was nothing waste-related in there yet (which does not make it less important). Another thing you might know if you have been reading my blog for longer is that I stopped buying beauty products, from skin- and body care to make-up, that are tested on animals, since I just don’t see the need to test luxury (read: unnecessary) products on animals whilst there are many other techniques available nowadays. I will also immediately come clean about the food I eat: although I eat far less meat then I used to, I am no vegetarian nor I see myself becoming one in the near future, which means I do have a considerable negative effect on the environment the way meat is produced right now.
By writing down tips and tricks I use to minimize my impact, I hope to inspire you to be creative in ways you can help the environment without wrecking the bank or having no time left to live your life normally. I honestly believe that we don’t need to all be zero wasters or vegans, but if everybody can find their personalised way to contribute to the cause, the world would be far better off. Therefore, I would like to ask you to not hold back and write down all your tips, recommendations and critiques, because I (and hopefully others as well) can learn from that! Now without further ado, here we go!
1. Prep your meals
Because chances are, you’ll put the prepped meals in a lunchbox, which you can reuse time and time again. Much take-away food is packaged in plastic and they offer plastic utensils to go as well, but what is wrong with an home prepped meal with your normal forks and knives? It saves you heaps of money, is probably a lot healthier in terms of sugar and salt and most of the time, it tastes better as well. Another benefit of planning meals is that you are less susceptible to cravings towards unhealthy foods that stores offer, so you get to make a healthier decision overall.
An important note is not to throw away the plastic tupperware you already have, but to use it until done. When that time has come, you can switch to an even better alternative, like steel lunch boxes. This also applies for water bottles of course, but you can read all about it in the another article about hydration.
When my bag is full, I often put my bread in a plastic ziplock bag which I reuse during the rest of the week as well. I am still looking for a better sustainable alternative, but I figured I might as well use up the ones I have already bought, which takes a while since I only use one per week.
2. Buy eco-friendly cleaning supplies
I must say I don’t really see myself making my own at this point in my life, therefore I still buy cleaning supplies. I just try to make a more conscious choice about it. However, many eco-friendly supplies are unfortunately very expensive, which might be something that can hold you back.
This is however not always the case: I found a cleaning range at the Action called ‘A good clean, naturally’, which is said to be 100% biodegradable and from 99% made of natural products. For instance the all-purpose cleaner retails for €1,27 for 750 ml and the dishwashing liquid of 500 ml for €0,97. They both smell like a dream and they work pretty well. This makes the range perfect to make a more eco-friendly swap. The Action also sells the brand ‘Launderette’, a brand that produces laundry detergent which is 98% biodegradable for €2,29 for about 21 washes. This way washing gets cheaper, smells better, is better for your health because of the lack of fumes and is environmentally friendly as well.
3. Use reusable face cloths
Instead of using face wipes in the plastic packaging of 25 wipes per packet, it is much cheaper and far better environmentally friendly to use reusable face cloths to wash your face with. Since you do want to have a stash so that you don’t have to wash them every day, it will cost you a little money to start with, but think about what you’ll save in a year on wipes! There are several sorts you can buy. Some have microfiber that are especially nice, because they don’t damage the skin and some even have a special coating that also takes of your make-up for you. My personal preference is to use my Medisana face brush in the morning to give my muscles a waking up and to clean somewhat deeper, whereas I use the make-up removing wipes in the evening. I use the ones from the Primark, but I find them a little small so I would recommend the sizing of the ‘make-up eraser’ wipes. They are quite expensive, but I am sure there are more alternatives out there, since I found mine at the Primark.
4. Find a balance in buying in bulk versus your usage
As we all did at the beginning of this less waste journey, I made mistakes and one of them was buying in bulk, just because some girl on Youtube said so. Don’t get me wrong; if you can, buying in bulk is a great option to limit your plastic usage (and expenses), but only if you are really able to use all of it. I always bought the biggest packages of spinach, because it was the eco-friendliest way, but then I really struggled to really use all the spinach before it got bad, so I often had to throw it away. Such a waste! So now, I either cook big batches to use later (so 3 meals of pasta with spinach to freeze two of them in), or I find other recipes using spinach for later that week.
So by planning ahead, I actually get to use all I bought. If this is not possible, I either choose something without spinach or I buy the small packet. For products that don’t go bad, buying in bulk is a much better option, like pasta or rice, so in those cases you can choose the bigger option. The only thing is that you then have to be prepared to have lots of jars and packages in your cupboards, because one day you’ll want brown rice, the other day yellow rice, not to mention all the variations of pasta. But especially when storing them in cute glass containers, it looks very culinary and cute, so it’s fine if you have the space for it!
5. Find ways to reuse packaging
For me, this is easy, since I am a HUGE hoarder, but it definitely has environmentally friendly perks. For instance, for Christmas I got this beautiful giftbox with body care supplies and I couldn’t part with it, so now I store my perfumes in it. And instead of buying (expensive) mason jars, you can also store a lot of spices or tea in glass pots that came with for instance your beans. This way you’ll make the most of the things you have, saving you money and saving the environment.
6. When things are scarce, you’ll enjoy it more
This rule goes for anything. Therefore, you’ll probably find this in something entirely different, but for me this works with showering. I’ll use a wet washcloth every day to remain clean, but I try to shower once in about three days (depending on my schedule). This is then also the time that I really give myself to indulge, so I’ll put a hair mask in, give myself a good scrub, etc. This means it takes a little longer showering then for other people, but those 5 minutes extra still don’t way up to the water I’d use when I would shower every single day. This is saving a lot of water and it makes the time in the shower just that little more enjoyable, creating a true self-care moment. This rule could however also be used with food that is maybe not that good (for you or the environment) or any aspect of your life really. You don’t have to cut things out completely to have a positive effect on the environment.
7. Be your own worst critic
And no, you don’t have to be a bitch to yourself, but you do have to be critical to what you use. Do you really need/want this? For instance, I love buying notebooks, but I rarely use them up and I type most things in on my computer. It does however cause a lot of waste. Therefore I decided to first use up the ones I have before I can buy a new one and even then I need to find a purpose for it before I buy it, which will again save me money and clutter and it helps the environment. However, the only sort I am allowed to buy is a planner, since planning on my computer just does not seem to work out for me. This is an item that I use religiously and carry with me everywhere, so I know that when it is full, buying the wasteful product at least is a real addition to my life, so it will not be in vain.
Next to these seven environmentally friendly tips, I am sure there are many many more tips to be shared and as I said earlier, I would love to hear them from you! What is your little environmental hero moment? What are you contributing and what would you like to pick up as a new habit? And, if you’d like to see more, please follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter or subscribe and get a free e-book on saving money.
Lots of love,
LisaHome » All posts »