Sustainable living. With the growth of social awareness, many individuals are looking towards sustainable living in order to reduce the effects of the climate crisis. Sustainable living is an attempt to reduce our carbon footprint by reducing the demand for natural resources, such as using less plastic.
There are many ways we can make small changes in our everyday lives to help the planet collectively take part in tackling climate change, and they aren’t as hard as you may think! Obviously, for some, sustainable living is an instinctive way of life from where they grow their own produce and switch to veganism, but for others, it’s a new way of life. Below I listed small habits you could try in an attempt to live an eco-friendly life because switching to paper straws isn’t doing enough.
1. reducing our use of plastic
You may be thinking how? Today it seems that everything comes packaged in plastic or is made from it, ranging from our toothbrushes and shampoo containers to what our food comes in when we go shopping. However, with the growth of social awareness and the need for change, there has been an increase in eco-friendly shops and products that won’t break your bank! A personal favourite of mine is My Little Eco Shop, which offers a range of sustainable products for all aspects of life. Such as bamboo toothbrushes, rather than using single-use plastic ones, bamboo toothbrushes are sustainably durable as they can be thrown in the compost bin due to them being 100% biodegradable. Another way to reduce single plastic use is by switching to metal water bottles and getting rid of your current plastic one which when exposed to heat leaks toxins and chemicals into your drink. Metal water bottles can be slightly more expensive, but they are more durable and long-lasting as well as once you can no longer use them, a stainless-steel bottle is 100% recyclable. A great company to source one of these bottles is One Green Bottle, where every bottle they sell they contribute to the Ocean Clean-up where they collect 25 single-use plastic bottles from the ocean. You can get your green bottle here for only £17!. It is important to reduce single-use plastic as it isn’t biodegradable, meaning that it only breaks down into micro-particles that contaminate the environment and end up in our food and water sources (Greenpeace Africa).
2. shopping locally and utilising zero waste shops
Over the last few years, there has been a rise in zero waste shops which enables people to live a more sustainable lifestyle by eliminating packaging and offering locally sourced produce. Zero waste shops encourage customers to bring their own containers to fill and refill food, cleaning products and so much more. Although every shop is subjective, the general concept is to weigh out the product you’re purchasing and then pay a set price for that weight. It also encourages customers to purchase only what they need which reduces food waste as you aren’t obligated to buy predetermined portions of food. Because the majority of products are locally sourced; you are also moving towards a healthier lifestyle! This is because supermarkets provide a wide range of processed foods designed to make cooking lazy and convenient whereas raw products can help you tap into your creative side when making meals. Zero waste shops are still a growing trend with there currently being around 200 shops throughout the UK (The benefits of Zero Waste Shops), so do some research in your local area and see if there is a store, talk to employees about products and what small changes you can make. For anyone in the Brighton area I really recommend HISBE on York Road opposite St Peters Church, the staff are super friendly and helpful if you’re new to the process, they also offer a great range of products and even have their own bakery section.
3. Thinking twice about cosmetic products
We often just grab what’s on offer in shops or a product that gives us results we desire without really thinking about how it’s produced. Recently there has been a shift in big retailers such as Boots and Beautybay to offer environmentally friendly products that don’t contribute to animal cruelty whilst maintaining little or zero waste. Lush for example are well known for their shampoo and conditioner bars which ditches unnecessary packaging. Also, companies like My Little Eco Shop provide eco-friendly dental and hygiene products such as toothpaste tablets. These tablets work the same as toothpaste except that you bite into one and then brush your teeth with a damp brush. These are a great alternative in comparison to toothpaste because they are vegan friendly and come in easily recyclable packaging. Lastly, one of my favourite products I personally use for cosmetic purposes is reusable makeup pads. Rather than single-use cotton pads that just fill up landfills, reusable make-up pads can be washed and used over again which also saves you money in the long run as you will no longer be constantly replacing your cotton pads once they’ve run out. Currently, the EcoVibe offer vegan friendly and 100% biodegradable makeup pads for £10.
Switching to sustainable products and lifestyle is a move in the right direction in improving our planet’s climate. Just doing one of the things listed above is effectively reducing your carbon footprint and making your life eco-friendlier. Do your research on shops that source their products locally and see what products work for you, get into the habit of questioning what environmental impact the food and cosmetic items you purchase have and whether there is a more sustainable alternative. Also, if you find something that is eco-efficient, share it with your friends and family and encourage them to try it out!