“Small acts, when multiplied by millions, can change the world.”
I’m not sure if it’s having children, or just growing up well, growing in general as a person – but I care more about our planet now, than I ever used to.
I care about our environment and about animals. I want to try and reduce the impact I have on our environment as much as possible. When I first started thinking how to reduce my carbon footprint, I became overwhelmed. My life was already hectic and the thought of changing things felt too hard.
Instead, I decided to slowly substitute things. One-by-one, I’m making better choices and replacing products and habits for more eco-friendly options.
I’m far from perfect and there’s many things I’m still working towards but if everyone started by making small changes, the result would be felt worldwide.
1. Switch to reusable cloths.
Imagine if, every time you showered you got yourself a new huge human-sized paper towel to dry off with, throwing it out after using. Sounds a bit excessive, right?
This is sort of how I liken some of the other cloths/wipes in our households. Reusable options are just as effective, they save money and help reduce all that waste going to landfill.
Some inspo for cloths you can swap out for reusable options.
dish cloths, paper towel, cotton pads, makeup remover wipes and baby wipes. There are reusable options for all of these. Keep in mind you don’t have to buy a specific ‘reusable dishcloth’ – a cotton flannel works just as well for wiping dishes and benchtops.
The best part is it also eliminates having to buy these things in your weekly shopping and I for one, am a huge fan of that in itself.
I love the reusable Enjo dishcloth but you could use a flannel instead.
2. Use a menstrual cup.
I already know what you’re thinking. Yuck. I can’t do it. I used to feel the same as you but I am 100% converted. Using a menstrual cup has totally changed my life – and I’m not even exagerrating.
I will never go back to modern pads and tampons. Ever! If you’re curious and want to know more about WTF a menstrual cup is – head to my whole blog dedicated to it.
If menstrual cups still freak you out, why not consider reusable pads? Yep, they’re a thing, too.
3. Don’t use plastic bags.
I mean, this is a no-brainer. A bag, to hold your shit that is then designed to be thrown out after one use… just don’t.
Keep some cloth bags in your car, even stash them in your glove box because we all know we forget to take them every, single, time we go to the shops.
Use your old plastic bags to keep fruit and veg crisp in your fridge, you can use and reuse again and again.
4. Ditch the shampoo bottles.
When I had used up the last of my shampoo and contioner, I switched out for shampoo and conditioner bars.
Heaps of places are selling them now and it can be a bit subjective in terms of how they make your hair feel.
I personally use Amor Luminis products (not #spon because seriously, I have like 1 follower).
They make my hair feel amazing and are made right here in WA. You may baulk at the price but they last for aaaages and smell divine. But there are heaps of other fabulous similar products on the market.
Another pro – they aren’t full of silicones and the stuff your hairdresser tells you to avoid. Winning!
5. Recycle your soft plastics.
Coles and Woolworths supermarkets participate in Redcyle which is a recycling program for soft plastics (think bread bags, frozen pea bags etc. A full list of what you can recycle is listed on the website).
You are unable to dispose of these in your regular recycling bins now – a small change saves all this plastic going to landfill. So when you forget your green bags all the time, those pesky plastic bags you end up accumulating can be redcycled.
All you gotta do is keep all your soft plastics and drop them in the bin at your local collector – such as Coles or Woolworths and select other drop-off points.
It’s a simple habit to get into and the plastic is transformed into some amazing things such as fencing and signage – cool huh?
6. Get a keep-cup (and remember to use it)
If you love to regularly indulge in a barista-made coffee then you must invest in a reusable coffee cup.
Just about everywhere sells their own variety of these babies. I personally use a Joco cup that was gifted to me by my mum.
Did you know that for a reusable coffee cup to actually outweigh the benefit of disposable cups, it must be used at least 15 times.
So make sure you actually get into the habit of packing your cup in your car or bag when you leave the house.
If I forget my Joco cup at work, I don’t buy a takeaway coffee, or I dine-in.
7. STOP using cling-film.
Cling wrap is designed to be a one-use plastic product. You literally are meant to use it and then throw it away, which baffles me as we know plastics takes hundreds of thousands of years to break down.
Pretty much everything you can use cling wrap for, you can pop into a reusable container. Or another option is to try out beeswax wraps which are 100% biodegradable (but not a vegan option due to the beeswax)
I use beeswax wraps made by a very clever friend I work with. I use them to wrap my cheeses and cover a bowl or leftovers etc.
You used to be able to recycle cling-film through the Redcycle program I mentioned earlier but alas, this is no longer the case.
8. Join your local Buy Nothing group.
Have you heard of Buy Nothing? It is a gift economy that operates in a series of Facebook groups separated into your location.
As the name suggests, it is a gift economy where you can offer items for free or ask to be considered for stuff that people are getting rid of. The groups are are categorised by suburb and if your simply search ‘Buy Nothing’ on facey, your local group should pop-up.
I have decluttered a tonne of stuff via my local Buy Nothing page and have also scored some excellent things – like a 10 foot trampoline that was only 8 months old.
It stops waste going to landfill and instead provides joy to another person, a win-win IMO.
9. Buy more clothing made of natural fibres
This isn’t necessarily a quick-fix as clothing made from natural fibres such as cotton, can consume a lot of energy and water to create.
We live in a fast-fashion society. We buy things only to wear them a few times before throwing them out (don’t forget a lot of what we donate to charity ends up in landfill). If you don’t want to live a slow-fashion life, then perhaps looking at what your clothing is made from is a good start.
The idea with natural fabrics, is that your clothing isn’t made of plastic derivatives and will decompose if you decide to throw it out… you could even feed it to your worms (if you have a worm farm).
Common natural fabrics include: cotton, linen, bamboo, wool, hemp and silk. Or better still, if you are keen to make even more of an impact with your dollars and your closet – check out the next tip.
10. Buy second hand clothing.
eBay, Facebook marketplace, Gumtree and more! There are so many online options for buying clothing second hand clothing (or SELL your shit on there too – check this blog all about that).
And let’s not forget out trusty bricks-and-mortar second hand shops like Vinnies, Salvos and Red Cross. There’s also some really cool consignment stores popping up all over the city – like Second Time Around here in Perth. I think this is something we’ll only see more of as society is becoming more focused on sustainable, slow fashion – woohoo!
11. Give people the gift of experiences, rather than things.
Buying gifts for people can be tricky at the best of times, so why not skip the headache and give people the gift of experiences.
There are so many options for gift vouchers: Hot air balloon rides, museum visits, stage shows, massage, food – the only limit is your imagination.
It also makes a nifty idea for children’s birthdays – try a zoo pass or a ticket for the aquarium. It gives parents something to do with their children and takes some of the cost out, winning!
12. Eat less meat.
I’m not trying to stop you eating meat, if that’s what you want to do! So don’t flip out.
Livestock farming consumes a lot of water to produce the meat that we eat and it also contributes to greenhouse emissions. So if we simply reduced the amount of meat we eat each week, we can help to make a difference.
Start simple – try a ‘meat-free Monday’ meal – and get creative with vegetarian or vegan options. Not too much of a committment and easy to implement.
13. Compost your green waste.
I believe that commercial composting will become a ‘thing’ with our local governments – there are just so many benefits to it, mostly that it makes the best fertiliser which could then be used on all the plants in their district or gifted to residents. It just makes sense! But in the meantime, we just gotta DIY.
You can easily create your own compost system. There are options for smaller homes or indoors with urban composting system like a Bokashi. Or why not get your hands dirty and build a worm farm (or buy one ready-made, like I did).
It’s a fun little project and SO good for gardens if you have a green thumb, like me.
The main point I wanted to make here, is that it can feel so overwhelming to make changes – but if you start small, it can feel less daunting.
Choose one of the tips above and implement it per week/fortnight/month and before you know it, you’ll be helping change the world.