We all know the way humans live is having a detrimental impact on the planet. (If you didn’t know this already, before we get going why not check out these resources to learn more about the damage we’re doing: Nasa, Climate Central, Nature Research).
So what can we do about it? While sceptics will point the finger at big corporations (and rightly so), let’s talk about the real steps that you and I can take to do even just a little less harm to our planet. We all have to start somewhere, so let’s dive into my simple sustainable living tips.
Ditch Single-use Plastics
Yup, I know you’ve heard this one before *eye roll*. You’ve got yourself a snazzy reusable water bottle, a reusable coffee cup, and a glass lunchbox – you’re done right? Sorry sir, not quite! The next time you’re at the grocery store, look around at just how much plastic is used in food packaging. Then ask yourself, where does all of that plastic go and what can we do about it?
I’m not about to tell you to go buy some eco-friendly fabric bag on Amazon – because when did buying more goods, in more packaging, do much good? Instead I’m asking you to be a little more conscious at the grocery store. Just be creative when it comes to cutting out the packaging materials.
Here are my grocery store sustainable living tips:
– When buying fresh produce, shop the loose veggies instead of the heavily packaged packs of peppers. Keep them loose in your cart or reuse a cardboard box to keep them safe from being squished.
– Shop the bulk bins! Buy dried goods such as rice, chickpeas, lentils etc. in bulk from the bulk bins (or those HUGE 10kg sacks) and then decant into smaller mason jars at home. You can then store the big bags out of the way and keep what you need on hand.
– I’m sure we all know this by now, but it’s important so I’ll repeat it… Bring your own reusable bags (or boxes) to the grocery store.
Quit Throwing Away Food
“What, I would never?” I hear you saying… “well except for those potatoes that were sprouting, and those carrots that looked a little sad, and my leftovers the other night…”
We’re all friends here, but seriously let’s quit being lazy when it comes to food waste. It’s hard I know, it’s difficult to plan ahead I get it. However, if you’re lucky enough to be able to have tasty food in the fridge you should also be mindful enough to make sure it’s not going rotten and having to be tossed out by the end of the week. A little planning and creativity in the kitchen can not only cut your food waste but also your grocery bill. Legit, these sustainable living tips won’t just save the planet but also your bank balance baby.
So what do you need to do? Here’s a few things that will help:
– Meal plan. Not the boring *and restrictive* dieting type meal plan, nope. Instead, sit down once a week and realistically plan your meals before writing your grocery list. This way you only buy what you plan to eat that week (and if you only need four carrots please just buy four loose carrots, avoid that ‘value pack’ that’s going to be soggy in the back of the fridge by Thursday).
– Freeze your leftovers. Can’t eat all of that tasty vegan lasagne you just rustled up? No biggy, portion some for lunch tomorrow and any extra can be frozen and saved for one of those I just don’t feel like cooking kind of nights.
– Find your favourite curry recipe, and tweak it whenever you need to use up leftover veggies. Start with a simple vegetable curry recipe (this one by WhatLuceEats is just delish!), and add any vegetables still lingering in your fridge. I also like to add a tin of chickpeas to bulk it out too! Transforming all those odd bits of veg into a delicious curry at the end of the week is my favourite way to empty the fridge – and it feels so much better than putting all the scraps in the compost, I promise.
Clean Up Your Bathroom Too
Take a peek inside your bathroom right now and count the amount of plastic you can see. Uh oh, we’re still talking about single-use plastics? You bet! Those pesky plastics just sneak in everywhere. It really feels like there’s no way to avoid them sometimes, but we can try right 🙂
– Switch from body wash (eww gross plastic bottles) to a delightful soap bar. (That lavender scent will have you sleeping like a baby FYI)
– Find beauty brands that use sustainable packaging materials. Hello Sunday package in glass bottles and jars, and some brands even offer refills or discounts for returning packaging. (I see you Tropic Skincare).
– Swap out single-use cotton balls and pads for a reusable muslin cloth, or if you’re feeling crafty knit your own reusable face scrubbies!
While these are a few sustainable living tips to get you started, I really encourage finding your own new habits. Where you can avoid buying new products please do! Ask yourself: could I buy this second-hand instead or could I make this or even up-cycle what I already have?
All in all, I hope these sustainable living tips will help you to live more consciously and I’d love to hear your tips in the comments section too! It’s a crazy world out there (2020, am I right?) so let’s be kind to ourselves, others and most importantly to our spectacular home here on Earth.