I’m not going to badger you about straws – we already know the deal with how bad those little plastic suckers can be!
But with the fires destroying homes and lives in Queensland and NSW, not to mention polar ice caps melting, plastic-choked oceans and extreme weather in practically every corner of the globe, it has never been more prevalent to start being environmentally friendly. Climate change is here and if we don’t start reducing our impact on this planet, there isn’t going to be much left.
Luckily for us, there are so many amazing options to help us reduce our carbon footprint, and some may be things you haven’t even considered! Here are some small things you can do that can help.
1. Take reusable bags with you when you go shopping. Canberra has been a pioneer for this for years banning plastic bags, but shops still sell this plastic bags when you forget your reusable ones. Always be prepared by having some in your car!
2. Buy bread fresh and put it in a reusable cotton bread bag. Baker’s Delight sell delicious, freshly made bread that don’t come in plastic or paper wrappings like in the super markets. Buy setting yourself up with these funky designed bread bags, you’ll be keeping your bread fresh and environmentally friendly. Failing that, you could bake the bread yourself to go that one step further!
3. Use reusable cotton or mesh bulk food bags. When looking to purchase loose items like nuts, seeds, lentils, salad greens, mushrooms etc get yourself a cotton or cloth bulk food bag, available in heaps of different sizes and styles. Purchase your food at bulk health food stores to save you both money and waste!
4. Use beeswax or organic cotton wraps to seal your food. Wraps are all the rage nowadays to seal your leftover bowls and containers that don’t harm the Earth like Clingwrap does. Available in heaps of different colours and designs, the wraps stick due to heating in your hands when you seal it and it works perfectly to keep your food fresh.
5. Make your coffee with compostable pods. Nespresso has a specific recycling program, but those pods are made with a lot of aluminium and cant take a bit of a toll on wastage. Luckily there is a new kid in town to make your morning coffee environmentally friendly – Parcel and Pod! Parcel and Pod are biodegradable and compostable coffee pods that take only 90 days to break down – AND they’re made from Melbourne quality barista beans! Delicious!
6. Carry a reusable coffee mug with you in your bag. If you’re more of a coffee on the go person, carrying a reusable coffee mug with you in your bag is a great way to ensure that you are contributing to landfill of plastic coffee lids and coffee cups. One of my favourites is the Frank Green for The Wholesome Store coffee mug available from Instagram lifestyle blogger Elsa Bullen.
7. Carry a reusable water bottle around. There are so many plastic water bottles bobbing around in the ocean, and carrying around your own reusable water bottle is one of the best ways to reduce this impact. Most public spaces provide access to free drinking water, so using your own water bottle to refill and quench your thirst is an absolute no-brainer!
8. Compost your food scraps. Composting is a great way to recycle your kitchen scraps and turn it into fertaliser for your garden, creating the circle of life of growing more food! However, if you’re like me and you’re not a fan of worms, don’t own the house your living in, or have difficulty in general, you can join the awesome website Share Waste, which connects you to people who are composting in your area and are happy for you to add to their compost bin. Did you know as well that freezing your recycled food scraps is also a good way to keep them until you can drop them off?
9. Say goodbye to plastic utensils and serving ware. When you order take out there tends to be a lot of plastic wastage that comes with it, like plastic forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks and napkins. Set yourself up right and get yourself reusable serving ware so that you can eat your takeout on the go without feeling bad about adding to the plastic in the environment. One of my favourites are these steel utensils and cotton napkin from Seed and Sprout! They come in a handy like pack as well to ensure hygiene!
10. Utilise the Canberra Deposit Scheme. Only released recently, the Canberra Deposit Scheme is a way for Canberrans to return used beverage containers at return points for appropriate recycling. And the best part is that you get 10cents for every can, so the moola can start to add up! For more information on the scheme, check the website here.
11. When washing your face at the end of the day don’t just use cotton pads! Removing make up at the end of the day can be difficult if you don’t have the proper items, but luckily Face Halo is the guardian angel we all need! This reusable make up remover not only removes make up perfectly, it is reusable for up to 200 washes and is easily washed in the washing machine with the rest of your clothes. For $10 a pad, it’s worth the switch, and you can even send your old Face Halo pads back to the company for upcycling. Now that is environmentally friendly!
12. Don’t use harmful chemicals when washing your clothes. People are waking up to the kinds of chemicals and soaps we pour down our drains and into our oceans, and this includes laundry soaps and suds designed for stubborn stains! One of my favourite organic and compostable way to do the laundry though is to use Soapberries, a complete organic dried nut that is thrown into the laundry, can be reused for up to three washes, and then is completely compostable. Plus, it smells amazing!
13. Clean your surface areas with biodegradable dish cloths. Yes, this is actually a thing! Used dishcloths and sponges take ages to break down in landfill but there are now 100% biodegradable kitchen cloths that can help sort that out. These dish cloths from Retro Kitchen have adorable patterns on them, can be machine washed after use and can be composted after use.
14. Dump those Q-Tips! Whether you are pro or against cleaning your ears with cotton buds, you would have 100% seen the photograph of the seahorse in the ocean floating around with the plastic trash in its tail. This is the quintessential image of plastics in the ocean, and you can do something about it by switching to these awesome cotton buds by Green and Kind. These items are made from sustainable bamboo and are 100% a waste free product – they’re packaging even comes in a compostable and biodegradable packet!
15. Go vegan! Haters and tradition-lovers aside, eating a vegan diet has been shown to not only have amazing benefits on your health, mental state, abilities, and happiness of the creatures we share the Earth with, it has also been scientifically-proven to reduce your carbon – footprint by up to 84%. Being a vegan for 3 years and 6 months has meant that I have saved 1,402,500 gallons of water, 38,250 square feet of forest, 51,000lbs of grain, 25,500lbs of C02 and 1,275 animals lives. So if you think one person can’t have any impact, it’s time to switch your thinking up!