5 switches to a more sustainable life.
We all know that our world is being littered with rubbish, polluted by our travel, and and every cow bred for our meal is damaging to our planet. Somehow it is hard to take any action, when we, ourselves, are not at the forefront of seeing the damage. We can choose to block it out, to look away, and when we are busy with a family, most often, convenience overpowers our need to save the environment, because we are busy goddammit!
I get it! We barely have time for ourselves, let alone trying to save our planet, but ultimately, it is our children that we are raising that are going to be left with an even bigger environment problem if we don't take steps to change our habits now. The World Economic Forum states that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea, than fish. If that doesn't alarm you, think of the world that we are leaving our children. The difference you can make today, is rewiring your habits and teaching your child that living sustainability is the norm, not something that needs to be learnt down the track.
Here's a few little tips to get you on the right track to living a more sustainable life:
Plastic Free Shopping Kit.
Purchase some good quality cotton and mesh bags (if you dont have any already), a reusable coffee cup, a few little glass jars (for bulk food shopping - nuts etc) and pop it in your car, or by the front door, so you'll always remember it. I love putting my kit in a beautiful colorful bag, I always see it on my way out and its become second nature to take it with me.
2. Grow your own Herbs
So many of our beautiful herbs and garnishing all come packaged in hard plastic containers in the supermarket, and these babies take up to 450 years to break down, shocking but true.
Take a trip to Bunnings or your local garden centre with your family, and get everyone involved in picking our a herb that they might like to grow. Pick our a grow pot and make it a family fun day of potting your plants and learning how to grow them. Perhaps you could give your children set days to water your herbs, and I guarantee their faces will light up when they see their efforts rewarded with a healthy growing plant. And of course, nothing tastes better in your meals than freshly grown herbs!
3. Switch out just ONE cleaning product a week.
Not only are household cleaning products that you buy in Supermarkets cased in hard plastic that will be dumped straight into landfill, these products are super misleading ( heard of Greenwashing?) These chemicals are essentially hormone disruptors - interfering with the body's natural chemical messages, and can cause birth defects, increased rates of cancer, on top of this respiratory problems and a miriad of other problems . Not only this, but when certain chemicals are flushed down the toilet or sink and enter the ocean, they threaten the underwater species and continue to pollute the environment.
It is so easy (and cheap) to make the switch to using just the simple soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and borax, and a bit of elbow grease. Alternatively, many Health Food Shops will have large tubs of chemical free cleaners, just take your cleaning bottles with you and fill them up, au natural. For products that you cant find an alternative to, look for Biodegrable, and buy in bulk when shopping in supermarkets. Go easy on yourself and make one change a week, give yourself the time to adjust to each, and I promise swapping out these chemicals for natural products will be worth it!
4. Buy and Sell Second Hand
This is my most loved tip, and really no secret, there are SO many amazing things that you can find on Marketplace, second hand, but perfect for another. If I have my eye on anything for the house, my first stop is ALWAYS Marketplace. Ill suss out whats around, and then ill check back everyday for a week or so, guaranteed every time I have found what I am looking for! My most recent win, a beautiful (perfect condition) rattan chair, RRP $300, which she sold for $140...only a few months old, but just didn't suit her decor! ...It definitely pays to look!
I love Op Shops for all the little bit and pieces that I need, a serving tray, a nice vase, plant pots, wooden toys, and other little items you didn't know you needed but you really do! Sure, you can shop at cheap shops like Kmart and Big W, but these items are cheaply made and never last, whereas I find much more quality items while browsing the Op Shops. I have a favorite street of 4 Op Shops and between them I ALWAYS find what I'm looking for...and usually do my entire shop for under $50. You see why I love them?
5. The real art of recycling.
5. This is more of a step than a switch, but an important step, one that should be common knowledge. We all know how to recycle, but are you actually doing it properly? Of course we should be trying to REDUCE and REUSE before we RECYCLE, but many of us have good intentions when it comes to recycling, but are are unclear on how properly recycle. First thing you need to know, KEEP those soft plastics! You CAN recycle them! Any dry food packets, rice, bread, crackers, plastic bags etc. as long as they are clean, pop them in a plastic bag and drop them off at a REDcycle near you, some Woolworths and Coles offer these drop-offs, just research REDcycle to see your nearest.
Then any typical recycle products, hard plastics, glass bottles, cans etc. make sure they are clean and dry before you pop them in the recycle bin, if they are contaminated with food...the whole bag goes to landfill! This is something we really want to avoid!
If you can set up a Compost for all those food scraps, fantastic! You'll be making some amazing fertilizer for your plants as well as a fun little project for your kids to help with!
So there you have it. 5 switches that you can implement today, at your own pace and in your own time. See the difference that it makes to your lifestyle, and feel good in the knowledge that you are reducing your carbon footprint. If not for us, lets do it for our children.