A few months ago, I went on an eco-friendly rampage. I started watching videos and reading articles that, quite frankly, scared the s**t out of me. Next thing I knew, I was on the phone to my council demanding a kitchen compost bin and researching how to keep your own worms.
I’ve dialled down my environmental-aggression since then, and I’m still far from perfect. But the point is that I’m doing my absolute best by following a few little tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way. These tiny changes may seem small, but if we all start doing our bit for Mother Nature, those tiny changes have the power to make a big difference.
2. Use reusable shopping bags. You don’t have to get fancy and invest in hundreds of canvas bags — even if you reuse your existing plastic bags, you’re making a difference. I bought a bunch of bags online from Seed & Sprout, because I wanted some smaller mesh bags for fresh produce (like green beans) as well.
3. Put all your food scraps in a compost bin, and use your green bin properly. Most councils these days have a suuuuuper detailed list of what goes into which bin, or you can use this reference website. After a couple of weeks of questioning every little item, you’ll get the hang of it.
4. Suss your light bulbs. If you can make the switch from halogen to LED, you’ll be making a difference — LED light bulbs are slightly more expensive but they have a lifespan five times longer than halogen and use less power to run, sooooo who’s the real winner?
5. Use less paper towels. This was a hard cycle to break, because paper towels are just so easy to keep on hand. If you’re struggling to break the habit, put your paper towels somewhere harder to reach, and soon you’ll be grabbing a reusable cloth first!
6. Use less water, or recycle your grey water. Time how long your usual shower takes, and then set a timer for one minute less (unless you’re already super speedy — I’m not asking you to compromise on your personal hygiene)! If you’ve got dishes to do, put a huge bowl in the sink and wash your dishes in the bowl — then, the leftover water in the bowl goes on the garden. Boom.
7. Switch up your personal hygiene regime and stop using products with microbeads in them. Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic that end up in the ocean. There are plenty of cruelty free exfoliants, like sugar scrubs, that will do the job and leave you smelling like a delicious dessert — I personally love Oh Deer Sugar.
8. If you’re not using it, turn it off. This doesn’t just help the environment, but also your electricity bill — win/ win.
9. Eat less meat. I can hear my dad complaining about this one from the other side of town, but I’m not saying to STOP eating meat completely. There are also SO MANY great products now that look like meat, taste like meat, but are actually completely meat-free, like the delicious Plant Nation range. Start by choosing one day a week to cut meat out of your diet — I prefer Mondays, mainly so I can use the hashtag #MeatlessMonday.
10. Write a shopping list. Holy moly, the amount of times I’ve gone to the supermarket with no real plan in mind and ended up buying enough for 17 people (I live alone) is insane. And, incredibly wasteful. Write a list of the things you definitely need, and stick to it. I’m also partial to a challenge: what can I possibly create from the scraps in my fridge?
11. Start a herb garden. Not only does it look cute, but its one less thing to buy from the supermarket that has the potential to be wasted in your fridge.
13. Pick up litter. It can be as easy as taking a light canvas bag with you on your usual walk and grabbing the litter you see on the street. I do this especially when I’m at the beach, because those images of turtles with plastic wrapped around their neck will haunt me forever.
14. Reusable keep cups, water bottles, and straws are a great investment. I personally prefer to drink out of a straw at home so my metal ones are perfect — plus, they’re good for the environment AND I don’t have to keep buying packs of straws. I also choose reusable bottles and cups that I think are really pretty, and now I drink way more water because I actually LIKE using them.
If you’re still feeling uninspired after all that, I suggest listening to the Captain Planet theme song RIGHT NOW.