I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but even I have to admit it is not the most glamorous or exciting post I have had in mind, nevertheless, over the past year sustainability and tackling climate change has become increasingly more important to me.
I am incredibly frustrated by users on social media who are uninterested in changes who continue to share memes or negative posts mocking the effects of climate change. Often making jokes out of those trying to encourage change. It has been said many times before but we don’t need one person changing their lifestyle perfectly we need everyone trying to make a conscious effort to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
I am hugely passionate about reducing my fast fashion intake, and shopping more sustainably whether it is making more informed purchases from brands who have an ethos I believe in, to shopping second hand or vintage. I realise that this type of shopping is not for everyone, instead of trying to convince everyone to change their purchasing habits as I don’t want to project my guilt onto others I want to share some really simple changes I have made over the last few years to live more sustainably.
I want to use this post to encourage you all reading this to make just one or two changes from the list below, I have kept it concise because I don’t want to go in all guns blazing, saying we must do this, this and this. I know I am far from being perfect. It is all about the small changes we can all easily make. I believe everyone can make at least one change off this list.
Being smart and thinking about your impact on the planet can save so much waste and can save you a lot of money in the long run, it really is a win-win situation.
Change your fashion habits
I am a huge fan of the British Highstreet. Our ability to react with speed to the catwalk to produce stylish clothes at a relatively affordable price is incredible and I may be biased but I am yet to discover a Country with a highstreet like ours. Yet this is coming at a cost to our planet.
In my post about why I love charity shops, I covered statistics of what affect the fast fashion industry is having on our planet, they are devastatingly worrying. We can all pare back on what we are buying from the mainstream fast fashion culprits. In my opinion, even with H&M and other brands trying with their more sustainable ranges, it is not quite enough until they drive down the volume and speed they are manufacturing. There are a various number of brands emerging who are sustainable and fair, unfortunately, yes they tend to cost more but that is due to the way they are made, how they pay suppliers and manufacturers and the time each item should last. Sometimes it is worth paying out. If that is not an option, Charity shops, eBay and Depop offer a huge range of clothing second hand at a much more affordable cost. I am obsessed with shopping and selling on both eBay and Depop. I have revamped my winter wardrobe between the three options at a fraction of the cost and I have been able to recycle clothes I no longer want, without them going into landfill.
Swap packaged products
I have swapped bottled or refill soaps for bars of soap and instead of buying exfoliating sponges I buy soap with poppy seeds in. I purchase bars of shampoo and conditioner which both work really well, I use the brand Foamie, these bars come in little mesh bags to lather them up. Once the shampoo is finished I use the bags for bars of normal soap which makes a great exfoliator. Lush and Funky soaps also sell a good range of shampoo bars. For makeup remover, I use the Carbon Theory cleansing balm in the shower. I do still buy Garnier Micellar water but I always buy their 500 ml bottle which is the largest size available to reduce the amount I’m recycling. I regularly use coconut oil as an easy makeup remover. This I distribute into little old jam jars I have taken from hotels to keep in my bag for remover on the go. I buy the razors which you change the heads-on, instead of single-use razors. Waxing is a better alternative. I buy all my fruit and vegetable loose and never in packaging. Small conscious changes which stop me throwing out plastic each week.
Walk walkable journeys
I know it is not easy for everyone but just be more mindful of where you can walk or take public transport. My friend uses uber jump at every available opportunity, I wish there were more initiatives such as this across the UK. My gym is a 15-minute walk away and yet I would still always drive there, despite going there to exercise, ridiculous I know. It is simple changes like these which are not only good for the environment but also boost our health.
Buy fresh food / local food / eat the seasons
I use to be the worst for this. I would either do one big shop when I had time, which often resulted in a lot of my food going to waste because I bought too much or I was nipping in and out of supermarkets whenever I needed things, sound familiar?
I know a lot of these issues are due to time constraints and convenience. Those of us who can make these charges are a privileged position but there are so many companies out there trying to do their bit to help us live more economically and avoid food waste without needing more time, such as hello fresh, odd box, gusto etc.
Where I can, I try to shop as local and as seasonal as possible. I often shop in farm shops or at the local market, which again I know I am lucky to have access too and time to visit them, living in the countryside has its advantages. However, being in the country means I do not have access to the emerging zero waste shops which are popping up all over cities, so there are opportunities for everyone, it takes some research and encouragement to make the most out of your area. These outlets are often cheaper and do not use artificial sprays which supermarkets cover fresh produce in. I now plan my meals a little more than before, chopping up all fresh food and popping it straight into the freezer in usable portions. Shopping local is good for your local shops and area who have had to compete against monopoly giants for the last twenty or so years and often the products available are better. There is also the added element that they will not have travelled hundreds of miles from Europe or across the UK.
I am moving closer and closer to a plant-based diet, but I have to admit I struggle to live without chocolate, cheese and products which contain dairy you forget about such as biscuits, pancakes, Yorkshire puddings. I know for many even switching to a vegetarian diet is wildly out of the question. If this is you, try to shop for meat at your local butchers. Find out from the butcher where the animals are raised, where their abattoir is and how the animals travel and how far.
Don’t buy Plastic bags
I cannot believe how normal it was 10 years ago to just grab a plastic bag at the end of the belt and fill them as you pleased. Now I would rather jungle, carrying ten items and throw them into the boot of my car than using another plastic bag.
I always keep bags for life in my car and I always have the odd tote bag or two in any bag I am using that day in case I make any impulse purchases. I have found using a rucksack much easier as well as I can pack it full.
Pack your reusables
I never leave the house (if there is a chance of passing a Costa or a Starbucks) without a coffee cup, water bottle and reusable straws. I do need to get better and purchase some bamboo cutlery which can travel around with me. This stops me using any disposable cups, straws, plastic bottles etc and saves me money too. There are plenty of free water points around the cities now and most coffee houses will fill these up for free for you.
Swap items you throw away a lot for reusable alternatives
This can cover SO MANY PRODUCTS, it is crazy when we think about how much we use and throw away. These are some of the things I have changed of the last couple of years; I use reusable makeup pads which I can pop in the washing machine instead of cotton pads and face wipes. I buy wax wrapping for food or put leftovers in lunch boxes instead of buying cling film. I use loose tea instead of tea bags and try where possible to buy refills instead of always buying new cleaning products. There are so many other items this applies to but these are the changes I have made. Not only do I feel less guilty but I don’t have that ‘oh shit I have run out must remember to pick up’ worry throughout the day I felt all too often.
Recycle old products
I am not going to suggest you stop buying new makeup. Whilst I have really started to pare back on products recently and not buy anything until I have used all my other products up I am aware for many makeups is a confident lifeline we all rely on. I heard via the Talking Tastebuds podcast about this amazing initiative by Terracyle at the Bodyshop, who recycle some of the most difficult products to recycle including our much-loved sheet face masks. The body shop is rolling out these boxes in all of their shops nationwide and this is across all brands, not just The Body Shop makeup. It is fantastic. Save up your old product packaging and dispose of at a local Body Shop knowing it will be sustainably recycled. Find out more about TerraCycle here.