We need to change this narrative - but how - to achieve sustainability it is vital to review our consumption habits. We can all become environmentally aware and we can all find ways that fit in with our unique lifestyles.
We are all familiar with the triangular recycling symbol; the arrows are in a mobius loop, they chase each other in a clockwise direction.
We find these symbols printed on everyday packaged products such as ‘to go’ cups at the coffee shop or containers used for carrying left over food.
But… despite all recycling efforts implemented since the 1950s only 9% of all plastic has actually been recycled (Gayer, Jambeck & Law, 2017) thus leaving 91% of plastic ending up in landfills, oceans or being burnt.
Are you aware that as of 2016, about 335 million metric tonnes of plastic waste was produced and that single use plastics accounted for almost half of all plastic production annually? (Earth Day Network, 2018)
I don't know about you but this is not the outcome that I imagine when I see this famous symbol!
Here are a few tips and some simple actions that I feel are really simple to implement and will have an instant effect in any home:
1. Realise you can make a difference and change your mindset
Being environmentally aware demands that you acknowledge the impacts that your lifestyle choices have on the environment. Have you really considered your carbon footprint? Do you know what, where and how much of your consumption actually impacts the environment?
There are tools available online to help you calculate your individual impact, thus helping you mitigate the negative impacts to the environment. Such tools include WWF Ecological Footprint Calculator and the carbonfootprint.com calculator to estimate the footprint of what you eat and drink - these tools help you understand your impact to the environment and assist in the changing of your disposable mindset to living a more environmentally conscious life. (It only takes a minute to do this :-)
2. Reducing unnecessary waste
The goal is to minimize waste volume, reduce reliance on landfills and improve human wellbeing. Reducing the production of waste can be achieved by minimizing consumption patterns.
- Put up a bold visible sign stating No Junk Mail - check out Letterboxer for a No Junk Mail sticker to be sent FREE of charge. and loads more information on their Trees Not Ads and will help prevent heaps of waste produced from mostly unread junk mail and proactively contribute to saving the environment.
- Phone books are still automatically delivered but so many are never used - is this the case in your home? If so then it is a very simple save, Yellow have a quick and simple opt out option that takes less than a minute and saves years of that phone book being printed just for you.
3. Be aware of your routine and rather than throwing away an item, switch to reusable products and adapt new waste reduction habits such as:
- Bamboo or Stainless Steel Straws
- Reusable Cotton Make Up Removers
- Donate or Recycle your old Phone
- Use Cotton Cloths instead of Baby Wipes
- Insert Compostable Bin Liners
- Cotton Hankies instead of Tissues
- Reusable Mesh Produce Bags and Carry Bags
- Beeswax food wraps and Silicone Food Covers instead of Cling or Glad Wrap
- Reusable Sandwich and Snack Pack Bags
- Reusable Ziplock Food Pouches
- Reusable Bread Bags
- Bamboo Toothbrush
4. Get your family, friends an flatmates on board
Living sustainably is a collective responsibility and it requires teamwork from every member of your family. You being a good role model is the obvious way to getting all your family onboard and becoming earth friendly. Ask yourself how many gifts do we give family members and friends every year? Imagine if you brought only sustainable gifts? Like Bamboo Flasks! Not only would you reduce the impact on the environment but you could also be responsible for triggering a change in so many peoples habits going forward…. I call this a gentle nudge haha.
Create new habits at home such as purchasing reusable sandwich and snack bag sets for your children to carry to school every day. This imparts them to pick up the habit and grow with it, making them more and more environmentally conscious. Who knows? Maybe other kids from school can learn from them and again you are triggering a change throughout society.
5. Give it a go - Intentionally set a challenge
- Sponsor a tree
- Start using Mouthwash tablets and avoid the plastic bottle
- Place Foldable Travel Spork in the car, your handbag, school bags and say no to plastic offers from food outlets
- Get a Menstrual Cup
- Subscribe to a Toy Library for the Kids
- Using Newspaper for all your gift wrapping
- Use your coffee grounds as a natural cleaning scrub
- Carry your own flask to work - why bother with the hassle and inconvenience of waiting in lines and paying ridiculous prices when you can save your cash and get your coffee exactly how you like it every time - you can take a bamboo flask or french press with you wherever you go (available on our website)
6. Think and Do Sustainability
Before purchasing anything think about their short and long term effects to you and your environment. For instance consider if its more economical to buy a single use bag or silicone ziplock bag? Which is more durable and less harmful to the environment. Gauge the cost benefits analysis before making the purchase.
Do your research and be the change.
Live with intention - it will go a long way in saving our environment.