Happy Wednesday, loves!
I hope you’re all having a great week, I sure am and I can’t wait for this weekend! I’m planning to spend it doing a little Christmas shopping, a date night with Matthew, and a whole lot of cosy QT with him too. Also, Victoria’s Secret opens in our local mall today and I’m giddy about it, I can’t wait to go browse (and probably buy lots as I just had a huge clear out) at the weekend!
Today’s post is one that’s very close to my heart, and something I’ve already touched on a few times in recent posts. Living sustainably is something, in my opinion, we should all strive to be doing, and it’s a complete minefield of a topic. For me, I’m trying to implement lots of little ways in which I can live a more sustainable lifestyle, and I’m excited to share these things with you too. Some of the things in this post I already do, and some I’m slowly introducing and trying to be better at. We’re not perfect and we’re certainly going to make slip ups and mistakes, but that’s okay! Being knowledgeable about this topic is the first step in taking action, and you’d be surprised at how teeny little changes in your day-to-day life can make such a huge difference to the world we live in.
Sustainable living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources, and one’s personal resources.
Buying re-usable bags
…and using them! In my opinion, one of the easiest things we can do is buy canvas bags or bags for life and use them every time we go shopping. Matt and I keep several in the boots of our cars, so they’re out of the way and we never have an excuse to not use them. I love the M&S ones especially – they keep food cold for ages! They also zip up so nothing gets wet when you’re taking your items back to the car in the rain, and let’s be real it’s always raining in England! Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda etc all have so many options, and the Christmas themed ones out right now are super cute. The UK implemented charges, starting at 5p per plastic one-use carrier bag, a few years ago, and that alone has reduced our waste from the UK massively.
Limiting one-use plastic purchasing
Following on from the above, one-use plastic is a huge contributing factor to the problems we’re facing with our planet right now. Real talk, my job is based in Accounts, but in the plastics industry, and I’m so tired of hearing how we must all hate plastic. Plastic is the worst material for us to use/purchase. Plastic is killing our planet. No, no and no! This is not true, and after that Blue Planet documentary, the UK has gone crazy in a ‘war’ against plastic. In reality, plastic is a great material and is a necessity in our lives nowadays. The issue is how we dispose of plastic, and the fact that so much waste was being sent abroad and literally being thrown into rivers. Obviously, this meant the plastic packaging eventually ended up in our oceans, and as a result is killing all of our marine life. Small things like buying cans instead of bottles of fizzy pop, not buying the afore-mentioned cheaper plastic bags and not using plastic straws can make a world of difference.
Recycle household waste
I’m pretty sure this is a very obvious suggestion, but it baffles me that some people still don’t separate cardboard, plastic, glass etc at home! Every council will be different, but as far as I’m aware all councils provide a standard bin and a recycling bin, check with your local council to see what should go into each. You can also take extra waste to bottle banks and cardboard recycling units, it’s easy and a small change that can make a big difference. The other issue with this is when items go to recycling plants, most materials end up in landfill and as great as it is for manufacturers that plastic is long-lasting, unfortunately those long-lasting effects mean they’re stuck in landfill sites for YEARS. This is a whole other issue that we cannot personally help with, but at least separating our waste is a start.
Shop more sustainably
I already wrote a whole post on this, and it’s a topic with many layers. You can read that post here for lots more detail. I personally am trying to purchase from ethical, sustainable brands where possible, Selected Femme, Matt & Nat and Patagonia are great options that sell fairly affordable products. The issue is that when you shop sustainably, the items cost more because the production costs are higher, making this less possible for everyone to adhere to. Other things you can do to shop sustainably on a budget, is to buy clothes that you know will last you a long time, for seasons to come instead of just the current one. You can swap with friends or hey, if you’re crafty you could even make your own!
Shop more sensibly
This is slightly different than shopping sustainably, as what I mean by this is to shop in a way that suits you and your lifestyle, but in a sensible manner. You don’t need to buy a new outfit every time you go out, and buying items that will last you for a long time is sensible as you’ll re-use items, and they’ll stand frequent washing and wearing. My number one tip that I’m now trying to stick to whole-heartedly, is to buy better quality items, and to shop less in general. Buying better quality items of course means they will last longer, and in turn means you have less of a ‘need’ to shop, so this covers both bases. I touched on this in my Wardrobe Declutter post and I’m going to have a whole post up about shopping sustainably on a budget in the new year!
Carrying a re-usable cup
This past week I’ve just put my favourite Starbucks re-usable cup in my car, so I don’t have an excuse when I’m out and about to get a paper cup. Let’s hope I remember to put it back in the car after each use! Another bonus of using a re-usable cup in a coffee shop is you get a discount, which I know is 25p at Starbucks and that’s a pretty good saving. The whole issue with takeaway coffee cups is inside the lining of them is a thin polyethylene lining that cannot be easily removed from the cardboard, therefore making it unrecyclable. Or of course, the best option would be just to make your own hot chocolates, teas and coffees at home more often!
Try ‘naked’ toiletries
A range of products I’m excited to explore is Lush’s ‘naked’ range; essentially the product acts as the packaging too, and it eliminates the need for a container, which would generally be made of plastic. It’s a great idea and a road I think many other companies will venture down in time, as it reduces their carbon footprint also, and entices the customer more. They make shampoo bars, shower gels etc which follow this concept, and it’s something I can’t wait to try. I am a Lush fanatic – their bath bombs, regular shower gels and bubble bars are my jam! I’ve even got Matthew into them, he loves a bath bomb HAHA.
Buy from ethical and/or cruelty free beauty brands
This is a topic that many people feel strongly about, and it’s a huge part of saving our planet. Many brands still test on animals, even some brands I have purchased from, although I’m really going to be more mindful of this going forward. There are SO many beauty brands that get the ethical stamp of approval, and unlike clothing this category does not necessarily mean higher priced products. Some of my favourite ethical, cruelty free brands include; The Body Shop, Lush, Pixi, Liz Earle, Clean, Drunk Elephant, Hourglass, It Cosmetics, Real Techniques, The Ordinary, Kat Von D and Too Faced.
Donate items you no longer require
Donating items is a win-win situation; you clear out items cluttering up your space, and someone can receive those items for free via a charity, or buy them second hand for a much better price. This applies to pretty much everything you may want to clear out – clothes, shoes, bedding, electrical appliances, even extra toiletries as charities and shelters always have a demand for such items. If you’d like to donate toiletries please ensure they’re fully sealed and have not been used!
Drink tap water
It may sound silly, but again it cuts down usage of plastic bottles, and it’s free! I really do think water tastes different, and my family buy water bottles all the time from Costco, but Matt and I are at leas doing our part by drinking tap water most of the time. Similarly to taking a re-usable coffee cup in the car, a re-usable water bottle is also a great idea! There may be occasions when you’re out and about and purchase a bottle of water, but that’s few and far between. Also, I seen on Instagram a company has just recently released canned water, with a nifty resealable lid, so maybe items like that will become more popular too.
Don’t be so quick to turn the heating on
Another obvious one, but before you stick the heating on, throw another jumper on or your dressing gown! I live for my dressing gowns (and Matthew’s!) and pretty much any time we’re in the house I’m wearing one anyway, even over clothes. Yep, I’m that person! Having your heating on a timer – maybe for an hour just before/as you’re getting up in the morning, and an hour before you come home in the evening is often enough to warm the house through. Of course, once it’s icy or snowy every day this might not be possible but it’s something worth thinking about.
I’m the biggest advocate of a bath (or cuddles from my boyfriend) being the number one way to de-stress and chill out after a long day, but of course taking showers is much better for the environment. I probably take a bath two to three nights per week, and the other nights/mornings I will take a shower. I know three baths per week may still be excessive to some, but it’s definitely a lot less than what I was doing! Modern toilets are designed to help save water too with the dual flush option, and most new shower heads are designed to use as less water as possible.
Buy loose fruit and vegetables, and don’t put them in plastic bags
A simple way to make a change is to buy loose fruit and vegetables where possible, and just put them in your trolley/basket as they are. They don’t need to be housed in a thin plastic bag to go from the supermarket to our houses either – whether that bag is free or not – as it doesn’t really make much difference. It’s generally cheaper to buy by the kg, and you’re almost definitely going to have less waste as you’ll buy what you need and not need to throw other products away after. If you have a farmers shop or something similar close by that is better than shopping at a supermarket too, but unfortunately that’s not something we have easy access to.
Another way to cut your food waste is to meal plan. Matthew and I roughly plan out our meals for the week on a Sunday, and then I’ll go and buy as many of the ingredients as possible in one go. We go through fresh produce like vegetables quickly, and it’s items like peppers or potatoes we need to pick up through the week. Meal planning is a simple way to save money as well as help the environment, and we love to try to new recipes! We’re setting ourselves a goal in the new year to have at least one day a week where we don’t eat meat (probably Monday, because #MeatlessMonday is a thing for a reason) so I’m hoping we can stick to that.
Change up your cleaning products
I’m sure you’re all fully aware who Mrs Hinch is (if not, what?! Have you been living under a rock? Please go check out her Instagram RIGHT NOW @mrshinchome) and as a result, sales in cleaning products is through the roof! Minkeh’s sold out and were going for literally £20 on eBay, it was a crazy time! (If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, I can guarantee you have a busier life than me HAHA). Sophie talks about so many products during her Instagram stories, although not all of them are good for the environment. Brands like Method are environmentally friendly, and although they tend to cost a little more they are a safer product to use. Do your research and change out a few products accordingly, but I’d highly recommend anything from Method when you’re Hinching – they all smell divine!
Carpool or walk more
Driving is of course the most convenient way to get around, but it’s not breaking news that it’s not very good for the environment. Where I live, public transport is not accessible (and in my opinion, the whole point of driving and having a car is to use it!) however where possible you can carpool with friends, family or co-workers. Something that may help in a small way is on a weekend, when Matthew is off, we only use one car instead of two, so we’re slightly reducing our carbon footprint.
Thank you so much for reading! Do you try to do any of the things mentioned above, or are you wanting to put any of these ideas in place? Do you have any extra tips to share with me and my readers?