Although we are only *checks* 19 days into January (is that all?!), it already feels like 2018 is the year the world is really sitting up and taking note of the environmental issues facing our planet. Whether it’s the influx of new vegan options in supermarkets or restaurants removing plastic straws from their establishments, everyone seems to be doing their part to help. But it’s not just big corporations and companies that can do their bit, all of us can make small changes to our every day lives that add up to make a big difference. Check out some really simple ways to live a little bit greener in 2018 below.
Reusable bottles / cups
Although takeaway coffee cups look like they should be recyclable, sadly a lot of them aren’t because of the way they’re made with a plastic film inside. Just in the UK we throw away 2.5 billion cups a year, which is absolutely insane. The temptation to buy an instagram-worthy coffee cup is understandable but there are so many brilliant reusable ones on the market now which look even cuter. A lot of places will give discount if you bring in your own cup too, bonus! Chilly’s bottles in particular are brilliant – they keep hot drinks hot for 12 hours and cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours! Genius. That saves having to buying any more bottled water in plastic bottles too.
This is probably quite an obvious one but it’s still important to remember! Just like the cups, there are so many cute reusable bags, especially tote bags, around at the moment that there really is no need to keep picking up new plastic ones every time we go shopping. I personally use a backpack a lot of the time too, which makes carrying heavier items super easy.
Turn off lights and plugs
Another one that may seem obvious but it’s surprisingly easy to forget / become lazy about. I’ve started to make a more conscious effort to turn off lights in any room I’m not using and turn off any plugs that aren’t in use. It soon becomes second nature and you realise how many you used to leave on all the time for absolutely no reason. If everyone did this, it’d make a big difference!
Say no to plastic straws
Straws are made from single-use plastic and will never biodegrade, which means they are ending up in our oceans and causing huge amounts of damage. If you were one of the millions who watched Blue Planet 2 last year, you’ll be aware of its devastating effects so next time you’re out and about, make sure you ask the bartender to hold the straw. If you really can’t live without one, there’s loads of reusable options that you can buy to carry round with you now instead -including ones made from steel, paper and bamboo. Places like Wetherspoons have already started to give out paper straws instead, which is brilliant.
Buy an eco-friendly toothbrush
Swapping to an eco-friendly toothbrush made out of more sustainable materials is another great way to cut down on plastic. I own a Humble Brush which is made from bamboo and nylon 6. It’s been designed by dentists & is biodegradable, plus for every one sold a child in need receives a toothbrush or alternative oral care and education in areas around the world where the need is greatest. Amazing! Plus, they come in loads of great colours to match any bathroom.
“Okay, duh” I hear you cry, but I feel like it would be a sin to write a blog post about sustainability and not mention recycling! It’s so easy to throw things away without thinking of the outcome and I am certainly guilty of it myself, but all it takes it a few extra seconds of thought before you chuck your packaging in the nearest bin. If I find myself with some recyclable rubbish away from home, I try to keep it with me so I can put it in the recycling bin once I get home. There’s a really useful website recyclenow.com, which has loads of info to help you figure out what can and can’t be recycled.
Walk when you can
Do you really need to drive to the shops today? Could you walk instead? So many people use their cars for short journeys that can be pretty unnecessary, which all contribute even more to the huge carbon emissions problem that we have. Plus more often than not, a nice walk always makes you feel better.
Join a beach clean
If you’re lucky enough to live near the coast, why not try your hand at a beach clean? There are organised groups all over the UK who go out collecting rubbish from our beaches. In fact, you don’t even need to find a group to get involved. Next time you’re at the seaside, take a bag and get litter picking! It can be surprising how much you can find in a short space of time.
Cut down on your meat/dairy consumption
Okay, so you knew this one was coming! One of the very best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to switch to a plant based diet or just cut down on meat and dairy as much as you can. Even just a few meat free days a week can make a huge difference (#MeatFreeMonday anyone?). Studies have shown that animal agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to global warming and it’s truly heartbreaking how devastating the effects can be on our environment. Luckily for us, vegan friendly food is becoming more and more accessible every day and there is an abundance of alternatives out there to enjoy.
Of course, there are loads of other ways to live more sustainably but if everyone did their little part, it would add up to make a huge difference!
Do you have any other tips on living greener? I’d love to hear them!🌱💚