Below are a number of ways we can use to at least start minimizing the impact we all have on the planet. It is by making both big and small changes to our everyday lives, we hope to make a huge difference to the world and how we leave it for our future generations.
Take your own coffee cup when buying your morning latte
When you buy your morning coffee from your nearest cafe, be it a huge conglomerate or a local small business, do you actively search for a recycling bin to toss away the disposable cup with all its constituents? Think about it, the sleeve is cardboard, the cup itself a mixture of paper with waterproof lining and a plastic top. It is this very combination that is thrown away in massive quantities: 2.5 billion cups a year, in the UK alone. By taking your own cup or thermos flask to your cafe, you’ll be doing the world a huge favour.
Carry an organic cotton bag with you
Many countries have cut the amount of single use plastic bags by charging a small amount of money, each time one is used from a shop. It’s such a dramatic drop that it goes to show plastic bags were simply being used for ease by most of us – with little thought to the effect on the environment. By carrying an organic cotton bag with you everywhere you go, you too will cease to use plastic bags whatever country you are in.
Minimise food waste by not throwing out food unnecessarily
The amount of food that each household throws out before necessary is staggering. Most homes could save three figure sums by using food that is still edible even though it is deemed ‘out of date’. Supermarkets mark many goods with a ‘best before date’ which is very different to a ‘use by date’. A best before date is just that – a guide as to when to use food by to taste it at its best. Many foods will last longer and many can still be delicious if cooked in the correct way. Other ways to minimize waste is to freeze food, or buy food that is already frozen, and just use what is needed. Veggies, in particular, are great foods to utilize in this way. If you really have left a potato or onion too long in the bottom of the fridge, and it does need to be thrown, it is best to throw it onto a compost heap as opposed to the trash can.
Take your lunch to work with your own cutlery
Food packaging is a big perpetrator of the type of plastic that ends up in our oceans. So much of it cannot not be recycled. To help the environment and our wallet, taking your lunch to work in a reusable container is a great idea. Plus doing so will minimize the amount of plastic cutlery the world uses. These single use items are literally made to be thrown away. They encourage us to be lazy as opposed to resourceful. Taking cutlery to work that can be used time and time again is not a big undertaking, yet so few of us do it.
Take five minutes to sort bins, once
So many of us don’t recycle as much as we can, due to the fact that we haven’t taken time to set up a type of filing system for our rubbish. All this means is buying four bins from the outset. One for compost, one for plastic and cans, one for paper and one for true trash. You’ll be surprised that once this is set up, how the trash can is the one that is used by far the least, and how quickly the plastic and paper ones fill up.
Reuse your own plastic water bottle
Plastic bottles are one of the biggest contributors to all the plastic that makes its way to our seas. Carrying a reusable one with you will not only help make a big difference to this problem, your body will thank you too. The simple act of carrying a water bottle will make you drink more and thus keep you more hydrated – one of the keys to living a healthy lifestyle.
Think before you print
This is such an obvious idea. We are all guilty of printing too much at work simply because we can. Yet do we really need to? By reducing the amount that we print out when we are in the office, we naturally limit the amount of paper that is produced. A small concept that makes a big difference to eco living.
Don’t buy beauty products containing plastic micro beads
Microbeads are often found in beauty products that promise exfoliation and the sloughing away of dead skin. Yet the majority of these beads are plastic and are so small that once they are washed away, they find their way into our oceans as they are so tiny they cannot be filtered out when our water is cleaned. These microbeads are then ingested by sea life and other creatures. To lead a sustainable lifestyle, use scrubs and face washes with natural exfoliants.
Use reusable cloth instead of kitchen paper
Another one of the world’s main perpetrators of pollution is the humble kitchen towel. It is literally made to be thrown away, and so it is – in the truck load. There is a simple solution to be had for an eco lifestyle game changer in the form of reusable cloths that are just as easy to use and maintain. And if you do have to use a paper kitchen towel – at least recycle it.
Brush your teeth with a recyclable toothbrush
Did you know that every toothbrush that has ever been made, is still on the planet? That’s a lot of toothbrushes. Oral hygiene is obviously of the utmost importance, so a bamboo brush or a bio-brush is the answer for those looking to take on an ethical lifestyle. A bamboo brush has a biodegradable handle, whereas a bio brush goes one further and has replaced the bristles with pig hair. Understandably this won’t be an option for all, especially those living a vegan lifestyle, but there are options out there to minimize the impact that brushing our teeth has on the planet.
These tips are just for starters too. We’d love to hear our readers’ ideas on ethical living and how to lead a sustainable lifestyle.
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