Are you looking at ways to live more sustainably? But not really sure where to start? Don’t panic. I’ve compiled a list of ways that you can begin to live in a more sustainable way. This post is here to inform you of just some of the many ways in which you can make positive changes in your life. This list is by no means a comprehensive list of things to try, these are just things that I have tried and tested to suit my own circumstances. They work for my budget, time and lifestyle. These may not work for everyone. And you may not be able to or want to try some of my suggestions. This is just a starting point for anyone considering making changes to live more sustainably.
One of three R’s- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. And reusing items has been my focus over the last few years. And you’ll be surprised once you start looking at how many items around the house are multi-functional. Instead of buying new, you can simply create this using an item you already own. It saves you money, plus it’s one less item going to landfill. Need some examples? I’ve converted an old soy sauce bottle into a plant pot. Gin, wine and cider bottles have been turned into excellent candle holders. I’ve also turned my old glass ice-coffee bottles into food containers for pulses and seeds.
Reduce Your Plastic Usage
Plastic, and reducing the plastic in your life, is one of those issues that should seem simple, but sometimes isn’t. Our whole lives are built around using plastics. From cleaning products in our homes and food packaging to kids toys and aeroplane meals. Plastic is all around us. There are so many ways to tackle the issue of plastic. Here are a few examples of what I have done to reduce my plastic usage:
- Order milk in glass bottles using Milk & More (they also sell ice-coffee, juice, water and milkshakes in glass bottles too).
- Buy loose fruit and veg where possible. I’m lucky enough to live close to a farm shop where a lot of the produce is local and loose. But many supermarkets offer loose (or recyclable) packaging now.
- I now use beeswax wraps from BeeBeeWraps in place of cling film and foil.
- Invested in an Organicup menstrual cup.
- Use a refillable water bottle whenever I’m out to avoid purchasing plastic water bottles.
As I mentioned above, these are just some of the ways I am trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use on a day to day basis. I’ll be the first to admit ditching plastic is not always the cheapest or easiest options. but it does feel good to do. Next up on my list is to start refilling my Ecover laundry detergents and washing up liquids at a local store and to begin buying my store cupboard ingredients from a plastic-free shop.
Grow Your Own Food
If you’re looking at ways to live more sustainably, growing your own food is a step in the right direction. I’m lucky enough to have a garden so have spent the last two years trying to grow some of my own vegetables. Both from seed or from pre-grown seedlings. I’ve successfully grown tomatoes, produces a cucumber and lost a lot of plants to the slugs. If you haven’t got a garden, many herbs and simpler types of veg (such as spinach and chillies) can be grown in pots around the house or on the windowsill. A quick tip with herbs. If you buy the pre-potted ones from the supermarket, repot them as soon as you get home. This way they last so much longer and have room to grow.
Ok, so this one won’t be for everyone. But it’s one of the best ways to become more sustainable. You don’t have to give up meat or animal products completely. But why not try to reduce your intake? Whether that’s having one meat-free day, or skipping meat at breakfast and lunchtimes. If you’re already vegetarian, you could try and add some more vegan dishes into your diet too. The dish above is Jamie Oliver’s meat-less Shephards Pie, made with lentils instead of lamb. And by looking at it you couldn’t see the difference. If you swapped the grated cheddar on top to a vegan alternative, you’d have a delicious, filling vegan dinner. Some other great books and websites to check out include Happy Vegan by Fearne Cotton, BOSH! Simple Recipes. Amazing Food. All Plants, by Henry Firth & Ian Theasby, Vegan 100 by the Avant-Garde Vegan, Gaz Oakley and the Pick Up Limes website run by Sadia Badiei.
Revamp Your Beauty Routine
This doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul of your bathroom cabinet, but it is a good place to start in a bid to become more sustainable. Shampoo and conditioner bottles, razors, tampons, cotton wool buds, toothbrushes and make-up wipes. All of these and more contribute to the growing plastic problem. But there is another way. With a few simple swaps, you could be saving an item from landfill. I’ve already written a blog about my favourite eco-friendly travel products, but I use these items every day too! We’re talking plastic-free dental floss, shampoo bars, reusable cotton pads, bamboo toothbrushes and recyclable razor heads. You’ll even find the likes of Lush and The Body Shop running their own recycling schemes for their plastic (or partially plastic) containers.
Make More Eco-friendly Fashion Choices
I’ll caveat this point by saying I still have a long way to go when it comes to making more eco-friendly fashion choices, but I am getting there. First up is fast fashion versus slow fashion. If you must buy something new, it’s so much more sustainable to invest in better quality pieces. They’ll last a lot longer than something made for half the price. Also try to support brands that are local (if you can), ethical and environmentally conscious. Buying second-hand clothes where possible is also a great move to making more eco-friendly fashion choices. Some of my favourite shirts and dresses come from vintage shops. If there are clothes you no longer wear, give them to a friend, donate to a charity shop or recycle them responsibly. And hey if they’re damaged why not try mending them yourself? Or get someone to fix them for you.
Change Your Search Engine
This may seem like a random one when considering living a more sustainable life. But it’s one of the easiest swaps you can make. By switching your search engine to Ecosia, you can plant a tree while you search the web. Ecosia was born in 2009 and by 2019 it had helped plant 60 million trees and built its own solar energy plant too. But how does Ecosia work? Basically, the search ads generate income for them, which they then use to plant trees across the world.
I hope that this blog has been helpful in suggestions for ways to live more sustainably. As I mentioned at the start, this is not a complete list of things you can do to live a more sustainable life. My hope is that you’ll use this as a starting point to a further discussion or change of thinking that suits your lifestyle. If you have any other tips for me I’d love to hear them too.
Until next time.
*NB* All cookbooks mentioned in this post were purchased by myself. The links to these books are using a Waterstones Affiliate link, but this does not cost you any extra and may earn me a little extra money.