When I started my sustainable journey I wasn't sure how to begin because it seemed to me plastic is everywhere and it is so hard to avoid. I thought that I couldn't do much to reduce my carbon footprint and it was probably pointless to even try.
But the thing is, even the smallest changes are important and have a positive impact on the planet. You can't completely eliminate the plastic from your life and no one expects you to, but you can make more eco friendly choices when possible. It is wrong to think that you shouldn't try just because you can't do much. Just imagine what a difference it would make if everyone made just one sustainable change in their life... it would equal so much!
I think another reason people are reluctant to make sustainable choices is because they think eco friendly options are very expensive, and while this might be the case for some products I am here to tell you that a lot of the time it is the exact opposite.
Sustainability is all about reducing single use, waste and overconsumption. Therefore, the more you use something, the more sustainable it becomes. This is why a lot of sustainable products are reusable, which will save you a lot of the money you spend on single use. Buying second hand or selling things that you no longer need is something you should also consider as well if you want to reduce your carbon footprint and save/make money.
1. Regrow Veggies
Not all vegetables can be regrown but when they can, it's pretty easy. All you have to do is take the leftover ends, put them in water, leave them somewhere where they can get good sunlight and change the water every few days. Here is a list of the vegetables you can easily regrow in water:
You could also grow all kind of herbs from stem cuttings. All of those will cut down your food bill and you will always have fresh herbs and veggies to cook with!
2. Plastic bags
Plastic bags are awful: they are made of polyethylene, which is derived from natural gas and petroleum, take hundreds of years to decompose, release dangerous toxins if burned and kill millions of marine life when they end up in oceans. Trillions of plastic bags are used around the world every single year, which is approximately 2 million bags every minute. Crazy, I know. The worst part however, is that plastic bags are used for approximately 12 minutes but take around 500 years to decompose.
There is a really simple solution to this problem however, just stop using them. Get a reusable, fabric bag and make it a habit to have it with you at all times. Keep some in your car, in your bag or even in your jacket pockets. And since supermarkets charge you for the nasty plastic bags anyway you will save money every time you don't purchase one.
3. Recycled paper wrapping
Wrapping paper is bad for the environment because even though it is paper, the majority of it contains plastic, plus there would be tape all over it, which makes it unrecyclable. Another con is that luxury wrapping paper is really expensive and even if you opt for the cheap ones they still add up to a lot because you will need a lot of rolls especially around Christmas when you have a ton of presents to wrap.
Use plain recycled paper and paper tape instead! It is much cheaper and it is sold in packets of 50 or 100 meters which will last you for ages.
You can make your presents look really nice by adding ribbons, twine, dried fruit, or other handmade decorations.
4. Reusable Pads
Reusable pads or a cup (if you normally prefer tampons) are a great investment because as every woman knows lady's hygiene products can be quite expensive. I was hesitant about reusable pads at first, but now I feel like I would never go back to single use pads or tampons because they are full of plastic and chemicals. Chemicals near or inside your private parts is obviously a bad idea and also, these hygiene products take hundred of years to decompose. And in case you wondered: reusable pads don't leak or smell bad, after use they just need to be put in the washing machine with the rest of your clothes and they are as good as new!
5. Used books
There are a few options with the books really: the first one is a Kindle or audio book readers. These are great zero waste options and make for a really good present. However, if you are a book lover and need to have a physical book in your hands there are more options: second hand books or libraries! Libraries are great because they will save you a ton of money and there is a great variety. If you want to expand your own book collection try purchasing used books: it minimizes the number of books that need to be produced, therefore it will save trees, money, energy and reduce the size of landfill and pollution. And don't forget to donate, give away or resell your unwanted books as I am sure someone out there wants to have them!
6. Razor for life
There isn't much to say about the razor for life except everyone needs to have one! Razors are something we need to constantly re-purchase and they can be expensive, especially women's ones (for some reason.) So why don't you buy your very last razor and never worry about it again. Razors for life are made of stainless steel and all you have to do is change the razor when it needs changing. When it comes to sustainability and saving money it doesn't get any better than that!
This is a pretty simple one but it's still important. We all use soap on a daily basis, but unfortunately liquid soap and shower gel both come in plastic bottles, so they create a lot of trouble for the planet. Soap is cheaper, plastic free and let's be honest, does the exact same job! I find this is possibly the easiest swap to a more sustainable life!
8. Water Bottle
Plastic water bottles are a big part of the pollution problem: in fact 80% of all the bottles end up in landfills where they take hundreds of years to decompose. Not just that, but while they decompose they leak harmful chemicals into the ground, these chemicals are harmful to people, animals and plants. Having a non-plastic water bottle with you will help you keep hydrated and will eliminate the need to buy plastic bottles!
9. Metal Straw
Plastic straws are among the top 10 items found on beaches, take 200 years to decompose and then they make their way to the oceans they kill a lot of marine animals. Paper straws are an option but they are quite hard to drink with because they fall apart so easily. Investing in metal straws is the best option because once you have them, you can use them forever!
10. Battery Charger
Battery chargers work only with special rechargeable batteries, so you will have to buy both of them. However, once you do you won't ever need to purchase batteries anymore. That is good for the environment because when not disposed of correctly, batteries can be dangerous. Different types of batteries can contain chemicals such as lead, zinc, lithium or even mercury. When batteries start to decompose in landfills these chemicals can leak into the ground and contaminate the soil and water.
If you liked at least one of these options and I convinced you to make the swap then my time wasn't wasted. Save the planet and your money!