4 Easy and Small Changes You Can Make to Live a More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
Going sustainable means creating and using materials that can be used over and over again and with that reducing unnecessary waste. Being more Earth-conscious doesn’t have to be complicated and expensive. There are many small things you can change in your everyday life that can make a huge impact on saving and protecting the Earth. For instance, growing a little vegetable garden on your balcony is a good place to start. However, there are many other things you can do.
Say “No” to Plastic Bottles
With over 380 million tons of plastic being produced every year, and 50% of it single-use, it’s time to stop buying a bottle of water every time you go to the gym. Investing in reusable water bottles eco-friendly options has become very popular. Besides being sustainable, there are many other benefits to them.
The average Australian buys 30 litres of bottled water a year, one litre being around $2.75, which adds up to $82.5 a year, wasted on minutes of usage and left as trash on the earth for decades. Reusable bottles range from a variety of prices, sizes, colours, designs, etc. And with proper care, can last you for many years. Also, many cafes offer discounts on their drinks if you bring your own cup. So, the next time you get your morning coffee from the local coffee shop, bring a reusable cup and get it for cheaper!
They keep your drinks hot or cold! Have you ever been walking around all day in the sun, sweating and you reach for your bottle to refresh yourself only to find out your once cold water has gotten warm? Well, that’s one more problem eliminated with reusables. Vacuum and double-layered containers keep your drink at its original temperature for way longer than plastic ones do. You won’t have to worry about your water going warm or the tea you didn’t have time to drink at work getting cold.
Another great thing about reusable bottles is that they feel better. Drinking water or any other drink from a glass or stainless-steel bottle tastes way better than drinking from plastic. Cups specially made for hot drinks have isolated walls so you don’t get burned, or custom fabric sleeves that act as a barrier between your hand and the cup.
“I won’t need a bag, thank you”
Try saying that to the cashier next time you go grocery shopping. We all know how terrible plastic bags are, and they’re so easy to replace with an eco-friendly alternative. Instead of paying for a plastic bag that ends up stuffed in the endless “bag for bags”, bring your own. Many of us have at least a few tote bags at home that haven’t been used in years. And even if you don’t you can find them anywhere, many supermarkets even sell their own. It can be difficult at first to remember to pack up one before you go out, so I’ve found it useful to always carry one folded in your usual bag or backpack. If you can’t do that, hang a few right next to the door or in your car trunk. Once you do it a few times, you get used to it and carrying a tote with you becomes a regular thing.
Save the Turtles We’ve all heard of this one, and for a valid reason. These sustainable swaps have gained popularity on the market in 2018 when The Blue Planet 2 documentary highlighted the problem of plastic waste and blew everyone’s mind. It went viral all over the world thanks to the internet. People became more aware of how harmful plastic straws were for the oceans and the hashtag #SaveTheTurtles was trending worldwide. Many businesses, cities or even countries have banned plastic straw usage since. Today, reusable straws have become very popular.
The most popular type is metal ones. They’re made from stainless steel so they won’t bend, break, scratch, rust and they’re recyclable. Usually, they come in a pack with a few small brushes so they’re simple and easy to clean. Since the material is very durable, they can last for decades and save you money. Coming in various sizes, colours and shapes, they’re a great and non-expensive investment for anyone. Many sellers have silicon sleeves available that you can put on the drinking part of the straw if drinking directly from metal is uncomfortable for you. For people always on the go, there are telescopic or foldable metal straws that come in a travel case so you can toss it in your bag and have a reusable straw everywhere you go.
If you’re the type of person that likes chewing on the straw (don’t worry, many of us do), then you can opt for the silicon version of reusable straws. They’re also great for kids to protect their teeth in case they bite on them, and they come in various bright colours so it’s appealing to the little ones. Made from high-grade silicone, they last long and can be cleaned easily.
Another type worth mentioning is the glass made straws that have the same features as the metal ones, only they’re obviously not as durable. While they’re very aesthetically pleasing, it’s recommended to use them in controlled environments such as your home so they don’t break accidentally.
Ditch the Mall & Try Second-Hand
You’ve probably heard of fast fashion and how it’s ruining our planet. Now you’re wondering how to help reduce your contribution to the industry. A great start is buying your clothes second-hand. The benefits of buying used clothing are endless. You’re saving a lot of money and ending up with unique quality pieces of clothing that would’ve ended up in a landfill of waste. By shopping second-hand, you lessen your carbon footprint since you’re using materials that have already been made and by that also reducing the demand for fast fashion. Next time you’re in need of a new shirt or a comfy hoodie, head over to your local thrift shop and you might find your next favourite piece of wear.
Small steps towards sustainability still count as taking action in saving our planet. Whether you declined a plastic bag at the market yesterday or bought a winter jacket from a small thrift shop down the street, you’re doing a great job engaging in this movement. Maybe get your friends reusable water bottles eco-friendly designs this Christmas, we guarantee they will make a very useful gift.