It’s devastating seeing what us humans are doing to our beautiful planet, however it’s also quite incredible seeing the impact recent awareness is having on people’s views to climate change, specifically with single use plastic. People are making changes to how they are living day to day and whilst some might say it’s the government or world leaders decisions and changes that matter the most, I truly believe that everyone is responsible and by making small changes to your lifestyle is one of the best thing you can do for the planet.
These 12 swaps are those that I myself have taken on board, it’s very easy and most of these swaps will also be much more cost effective in the long run, so saving the planet and your pennies, win win.
- Reusable water bottle
Probably the most obvious and easiest swaps to do. Statistics have shown that if the ocean plastic problem continues by 2050 there will be more plastic bottles in our oceans than fish. I always feel guilty when I use a plastic bottle, so I always try and make sure I carry around a reusable one!
- Reusable Coffee cup
Wait… takeaway coffee cups are not recyclable?…Nope. Well, some are but you would know because they say ‘compostable’ on them. However the majority of coffee shops do not provide recyclable takeaway cups. Some places now have incentives to people using their own reusable cups such as discounted drinks, extra loyalty stamps, etc. Ive also seen one coffee shop chain that no longer stocks takeaway cups! It’s reusable, sit in, or nothing! Which I think is a brilliant idea
- Shopping bags
I think we can all remember that time they introduced plastic bags for 5p, and what a good idea that was! According to the Independent, single-use plastic bag sales have fallen by 86 per cent since the 5p charge was introduced. By keeping ‘bags for life’ in the back of your car, or carrying a round a reusable roll up bag will help you stay clear of having to buy plastic bags again!
- Food shopping
When I’m food shopping I try and be a little more conscious about plastic use, for example I no longer use those tiny plastic bags for lose veg, instead they just hop into my basket plastic free. I also love buying fresh bread (and maybe the odd pastry) and being able to put these into a paper bag rather than buying bread in plastic. This is a change I am trying to work on and it is a difficult one but by just being a little more aware and conscious is the first step
This is an obvious one, but do you actually do it? When I see someone not recycling my face literally turns into the same shock look when I hear someone say they’ve never seen Harry Potter. Whaaaaaat?! It’s no more hassle to recycle than to put something in general waste. Your general rubbish bin isn’t a black hole that disappears, it will end up on landfill, just sat there, so the more we try and recycle then less waste is just dumped on the planet
- Change your commute
I think we can all agree that there are way to many vehicles on the roads. I myself drive pretty much everyday and when I travel further distance I still drive or fly. I rarely get another form of transport like the train, mainly because of how pricey it is! However, I do try and cycle to and from local places instead of hoping in my car for a short 2 mile journey. I love walking and running so sometimes may use this as my commute instead if I have time. How far away do you live from your work? If its 2 miles or less why not try cycle or walk? It also makes you feel great for moving your legs and getting some fresh air before starting your day. I know this option can be quite tricky for some people, but it’s a good change to think about
- Clothes shopping
I had no idea how much impact the ‘fast fashion’ industry had on our planet and climate change. I was a little shopaholic back in the day and didn’t think twice about my shopping habits. However, after having to put luxuries like clothes shopping aside due to setting up a business, and then recently learning more about fast fashion, I definitely have a more open minded approach when it comes to clothes shopping. I’m not going to sit here and tell you how I’m 100% ethical when it comes to fashion, as I will still buy from the high street occasionally. However I rarely shop much these days, and when I do it’s generally because I need something, or sportswear for work.
Ways to shop more eco-friendly? Reuse and wear an outfit more than once. Think twice before purchasing, do you really need it? Fix something before throwing it away. Look around in charity shops. Buy products that are from ethical clothing brands.
See the documentary The True Cost on Netflix for a better insight into fast fashion.
- Use less makeup/baby wipes
Did you know makeup and baby wipes can take years to breakdown, floating around in our seas and sewers. They often clog up in sewer pipes causing floods of sewage onto the streets. Gross right? I’ve made a simple swap to using coconut oil and a reusable cloth that I simply wash every week. I wasn’t so sure about coconut oil at first but it’s incredible for removing makeup, especially mascara and leaves my skin feeling amazing! Of course there are many other options like cleansers and creams that take off makeup so you could also use these with a reusable cloth
- Plastic straws
There was a time not even that long ago where having a plastic draw didn’t bother me. Now however, if I walk into a pub or cafe and I see they have plastic straws I am judging and feel so bad if I’m ever given one. So many places have switched to paper straws which is an amazing simple swap that will do our oceans good! Yes I know paper ones can be a little annoying after a while when they go floppy but I’d rather that than put marine animals in danger!
One thing I am finding difficult or haven’t made much progress on is the use of clingfilm in the kitchen. I do use tupperware when I can, especially for taking food on the go which will help reduce waste big time if you’re usually someone that puts your sandwiches and fruit in a plastic sandwich bag or wrapped in clingfilm
- For all the ladies – plastic free periods
Quite recently I’ve swapped from using tampons to a menstrual cup. It is probably one of the best things I have done for reducing waste. At first I was a little dubious, like many people are when I tell them about it but I also haven’t met anyone that regrets using one or prefers not to, so if you ladies want to do something extra for the planet, try switching over to a menstrual cup!
- Reduce your animal consumption
There has been a huge rise in the number of people turning vegan in the last decade. Not only do people go vegan for animal rights but also because of the impact the agriculture industry has on our planet and climate change. Personally I am not a vegan, however I am very aware and conscious of my choices when it comes to consuming animal products. I stopped eating dairy quite a while ago, due to digestive problems (however I still like the odd bit of chocolate and ice cream!). I also love plant based eating and I would say my diet is probably around 80% plant based. I don’t really talk about my diet much on social media and I don’t like labelling but I think taking on this ‘flexitarian’ diet as they call it is a great choice that many should consider taking. Also it gets people eating more fruit and veg!
So there we go, 12 Easy Sustainable Swaps! Some of which I am still working on but I am trying my best to be responsible for my own actions and to make the world a better place
Take a look at these documentaries that you may find helpful/interesting:
Drowning in Plastic
Before The Flood
A Plastic Ocean
The True Cost