Like it or not, this big ol’ blue and green spinning planet is the only home we’ve got, so taking care of it should be something we consider on a daily basis.
Everyone nowadays seems to be harping on about saving the planet – reducing plastic consumption, being savvy about recycling your waste, up-cycling, ditching the straw, walking over using your car, turning the lights off when not in use – I’m sure you’ve heard it all before.
But trust me, it’s for good reason!
Admittedly, it can seem incredibly daunting to take the health of the environment into your hands, but worry not, things are far simpler than they may seem.
But what does eco-friendly really mean?
Quite simply, it means ‘not harmful to the environment’. It involves being conscious about your personal involvement in the welfare of the Earth, and making decisions to adopt a more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. It essentially means reducing the consumption and being wise about using resources such as water and energy. If you’re interested, head to this page or here to read more.
So here are my top 15 tips to live a more environmentally friendly and eco conscious life:
1. Choose a bamboo toothbrush.
Really, a wooden toothbrush?! Yes really. Swapping your old plastic toothbrush to a wooden one (when it needs renewing) is an easy and great step forward. A pack of 4 from amazon cost around £10, so you’re certainly not breaking the bank. The bamboo toothbrushes also offer a ton of natural benefits like naturally hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial .. so there’s no compromise with quality. Plus they look pretty snazzy too.. I mean aesthetics count for something right?
2. Use metal straws.
Yes – I’m on the #refusethestraw bandwagon too. But seriously, why wouldn’t you be?! There’s a reason why it’s a ‘thing’. Say no to the straw at the drive thru or simply don’t grab a straw to sip your cocktail through at the bar, easy. No need to be alarmed, if you’re an avid straw fan – yes they exist I am one, I prefer my smoothie drunk through a straw, then you can purchase metal straws ~ problem solved, hooray! ~ they’re super easy to clean and look better than plastic ones (aesthetics, again?).
3. Use a glass water bottle.
In fact it doesn’t necessarily need to be glass, if you’re reusing a plastic one then ultimately you’re still reducing your plastic consumption/waste. But best if it’s glass/ceramic/metal. Besides glass bottles last longer, don’t taint the taste of the water and have no health concerns (that I know of?). Alternatively there are some great metal bottles out there too that have the bonus of keeping the liquid either hot or cold, win-win. If you’re a grab and go coffee fan, then you can also purchase eco-friendly sip cups too. I’m pretty certain that Starbucks and Costa have already started selling these actually?
‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ – Mahatma Gandhi
4. Remember your shopping bags.
Guilty as charged, I’m just as hopeless at remembering my bags for grocery shops as the next person. But I try. One trick is to just leave them in the boot of the car .. and remember to pop them back in there after emptying your bags! Then they’re always on hand. The addition of charging for plastic shopping bags in England, in my opinion, was a great idea.
5. Take shorter showers
I’m sure you’ve all heard this one before? But reducing your usual daily shower time by 1 minute each time, is said to save almost a thousand gallons of water each year .. Crikey! So just be conscious about the time spent in the shower and for general water use.
6. Turn the taps off whilst brushing your teeth.
Similar to the last tip, we’re focusing on water usage here. This is such an easy hack to incorporate into your every day life. We all brush our teeth on the daily (I should hope?!) so just turning the tap off whilst brushing is such a tiny thing to do, but every little helps .. it soon mounts up!
7. Shop in second-hand stores
Charity shops can be places of hidden treasure and surprises. Admittedly, with the odd incredibly hideous, oversized stained jumper thrown in there too – but we can’t have it all. Locate your local second-hand stores and give them a go, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised. If charity shops really aren’t your thing, then there are an array of online sites now too. Let Depop or Thredup become your new best friends.
8. Turn it off.
Lights, plugs, TV, laptop – they all use electricity, so when not in use switch them off. If you don’t already, then make a habit of switching lights off when leaving a room – it mounts up quickly. Not only is this good for the environment, but great for reducing your bills too.
9. Go vegetarian.
Before you roll your eyes and instinctively scroll past this one, I’m not here to preach about the abundance of benefits that accommodating a vegetarian lifestyle brings.. Not today anyway. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but consuming meat is neither sustainable or great for the environment (give it a Google!) but if you’re not willing to cut out meat all together, then maybe try giving a day, or meal a week a go. You’ve all heard of ‘Meat-Free Monday’, right?
10. Walk it.
If you can walk it then ditch the lazy side of you telling you to take the car, and walk the journey instead. Share a car ride, or take public transport. Just be mindful about whether you really need to be driving the distance.
11. Go digital over paper.
Reduce your paper trail by opting to get your bills via email rather than through the post. Similarly, choose to purchase digital tickets for events rather than paper copies. Whether it be cinema tickets or boarding passes for flights, most phones can now support digital copies.
12. Choose a recycled phone case.
The majority of phone cases are made of plastic, I know mine is. But some companies are now opting to use recycled materials to create products like phone cases, like at Pela that make their cases from bioplastic. Your options are no longer limited to one material, there are cases now made from bamboo to woven grass.
13. Use your online diary.
Whether it be on your laptop or via your phone, choose to make more use of your digital diary. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes an old-school pen and paper list is more helpful, I know it’s my preference. But make an effort to jot things down via your notes or calendar, whether it be your shopping list or Uncle’s Birthday, store it in your phone. If going digital really isn’t your thing, then either recycle paper or use old scraps of paper to jot things down on. Be wise with your paper consumption – use one diary or calendar instead of multiple etc.
14. Choose second-hand books.
This isn’t always an option, but if it is then there’s no harm in opting for the ‘used’ item option when shopping, or in store. There’s something quite sentimental about reading a pre-owned book. I know this isn’t directly supporting the author but choosing a pre-owned book every now and again causes no harm – in fact quite he opposite.
15. Use less packaging.
This can often be a tricky one because what a product is packaged in is usually predetermined as it’s already packaged when purchasing it at the store. But fear not, not all control is lost. Choosing to shop at local farmers markets rather than at big superstores is one way to help. Another option is to take your own bags to package loose fruit and veg in rather than using the shop provided plastic ones. You can also contact shops or brands if you feel they’re using an unnecessary amount of packaging, an email or even a DM on Twitter/Instagram can go a long way.
And there we go – Fifteen, pretty easy ways, to try to accommodate a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Oh, and remember it’s about intention not perfection. Every little helps.
All my love,