We have been given enough warning signs and it is about is about time we all stepped up our sustainability game. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have to start living in a tent in the middle of the forest, but there are some seriously easy changes we should all be making that combined will make a difference. I am a staunch believer that huge corporations need to drastically change their behaviors, but most of them will not do so out of the goodness of their heart. They need us, the consumer to demand these changes, something I believe we are well on our way to.
Since moving towards a more conscious lifestyle, I have found myself consistently thinking of ways to reduce, to buy less, to choose package-free. I have also found that there are a lot of people who will expect you to be an all-or-nothing kind of eco warrior. Whatever little or large way that you are helping, never think it is insignificant, and support others to do the same. If you are just starting out and need a little nudge in the right direction then look no further my friend, and welcome aboard!
The first thing I would recommend is to start imagining if there was no bin in your house. Imagine if everything you threw away into your main non-recycling bin had to live in a corner of your house. I am pretty sure you would want to reduce that pile as much as you can. Start to police those recyclables and make sure everything is only going into your main bin as a very last resort. Think about what else you could use your throwaway items for. I started making bin bags out of old (giant) rice bags or clothing bags. Notice where your main waste is coming from. For me, it was pointless food packaging. Which brings me onto my first point:
- Start cooking from scratch. In fact, start making everything you can from scratch. Once I stopped buying oven chips and cutting up a potato (wow not rocket science Flora) I was removing plastic packaging. I have seen a lot of great recipes online of people making their own plant-based milk.
- Buy less animal products. It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef, while producing 1 pound of tofu only requires 244 gallons of water. Even if it is not possible to cut out animal products entirely, try to reduce your intake and buy quality over quantity.
- Buy from markets. Buying from your local market (if you’re lucky enough to have one) is a GREAT way to remove the packaging. I have found my vegetables go off a bit sooner from the market, so we do one shop from the market on Saturday’s and a top-up supermarket shop mid-week.
- Prepare your bags. If you are anything like me and often forget to take your reusable items with you, make sure you pack the bags you regularly use with a couple of tote bags, reusable cutlery, coffee cup and a cloth napkin. This is their new home and will only come out to be washed.
- Save your scraps. Can you compost the food scraps? Can you make a vegetable stock from your cut-offs? Did you know you can freeze rice? Did you know you can use your egg shells on your plants?
- Buy in bulk. I have started to buy as much as possible in bulk. The plus side? It usually works out cheaper. The downside? I stubbornly cycled a 10 kilo bag of rice home and a ten minute journey took me half an hour.
- Prevent food waste. Use the whole broccoli stalk. Think of inventive ways to reuse your leftovers. Measure out your pasta/ spaghetti. Be realistic about how much you can eat. Take leftovers for lunch.
- Refill or choose plastic-free. If you are fortunate enough to live near a restock shop than refill your containers. Otherwise opt for the olive oil in the glass bottle (way easier to recycle and break down) and the loose fruits and veggies. Get the salt in a paper box and not in a single-use grinder. Swap your lighter for a box of matches.
- Swap your cling film for reusable options. There are some pretty great options out there; reusable wax wraps, silicone wraps or just good old sealable containers to keep your food in.
- Save your containers. Half of my favourite containers are old Bon Maman jars and coffee tubs. Save them, and ask the restaurant to use them when you next need to get something to takeaway.
- Use less water and energy. Can your pasta water double up to steam your veggies in? Can you cook something else alongside your roaring oven? Put a lid on that pan of boiling water. These small changes will also save you money on your energy bill.
- Rethink your cloths. I have created a whole blog post on natural cleaning, but get rid of the kitchen towel. Use cloth napkins and cut up old t-shirts to make dusters or reusable kitchen towel.