Saturday, 3 August 2019

A few sustainable practices I have been adopting lately


More and more these days, we are hearing and learning about sustainable practices that we can be adopting in our lives to prevent further pollution to, and deterioration of, the environment. I think it can be pretty overwhelming knowing where to start sometimes, given that excessive consumption and consumerism is such a major part of our lives these days, however I have slowly been trying to incorporate more sustainable habits into my life over the past few months and years to do my part for the environment. Before starting each of these, I thought it would all be a bit of a faf and would cause more inconvenience in my life, but honestly, once I started incorporating them into my life, I realised it really isn't a burden and once each of these became a habit, I haven't thought twice about them.


1. Reusable items


One of the biggest problems affecting the environment is the amount of plastic that ends up in oceans, nature and landfill. Over the past couple of years, I have slowly been replacing my use of plastic with more and more reusable items. This includes taking reusable bags to the grocery store each week (including some reusable produce bags for loose vegetables that I recently bought off eBay), using reusable food wraps to replace cling film or glad wrap (they're actually really easy to wash and store), drinking water out of a metal bottle that I fill up throughout the day, and replacing plastic straws with washable glass or metal straws.


2. Shopping second hand and through ethical brands


When I first started learning about fast fashion and the impact that this is having on our environment, I was a little bit intimidated by the idea of shopping at ethical clothing stores or second hand shops. While I am in no way perfect, as I still buy the odd clothing item from typical fast fashion stores, I have been trying to reduce the amount of items I bring into my life, and try to focus on ethical brands (Everlane, Reformation, Christy Dawn and St Agni are a few of my favourites) and second hand online stores such as eBay, Depop and The Real Real for items that are still in great condition.

3. Composting


When we moved to Tasmania, we discovered that a lot more people used a composting system at home in comparison to when we lived in Sydney. We now have a compost bin in our back yard with worms that are happy to chomp away on our food scraps (and as a bonus, Moose's waste, which really helps with keeping our garden a bit cleaner). I keep a small compost tin on our kitchen bench that I fill with fruit and vegetable scraps when I'm cooking, and then place those scraps in the larger bin every few days when it's full. It really isn't much of a hassle, and has reduced our garbage waste a lot.

4. Biodegradable bags


It is inevitable that we do need rubbish bags in our everyday lives, but I have started purchasing biodegradable bags over the regular plastic bags to help reduce the amount of plastic we are putting out into the environment. A few months ago, I also discovered that the brand Oh Crap produces 100% compostable dog poop bags, which I keep in a small bag attached to Moose's lead when we take him on walks. While these are a bit more expensive than the cheap plastic dog poop bags you can buy from the supermarket, it is a small price to pay in the bigger scheme of things.

5. Redcycle


Many supermarkets around Australia are participants in the Redcycle campaign, an initiative that allows you to drop off your (washed and dried) soft plastics to be recycled and kept out of landfill. Items that are accepted include biscuit wrappers, glad wrap, plastic wrap from vegetables, bread bags, pasta and rice bags, frozen food bags, wrappers from cheese, and cereal box liners. When we started using the Redcycle program, we quickly realised how much our weekly garbage reduced with the amount of plastic we were taking to Woolworths rather than throwing into the garbage collection.

6. More plant-based foods


While I am certainly no vegan or even vegetarian, I am aware of the impact that the meat industry has on the environment, so I have been trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into our cooking routine. In an average week, I will plan to make four different dishes, and I'll make sure that at least one of these is a vegetarian or plant-based meal, and pretty much always have a plant-based breakfast (porridge that is loaded with oats, chia seeds, water, banana, cinnamon, maca, pumpkin seeds, almond butter and a bit of protein powder). I know that this is a very controversial topic, and some people may see this as a pretty poor effort, but I think that every little bit we can do is one step closer to preserving the environment.

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I think it can be so easy to feel overwhelmed and guilty when thinking about the environment. I am far from perfect - I eat meat, I travel pretty regularly, I sometimes buy from fast fashion brands, I occasionally forget to bring my reusable grocery bags to the supermarket. However, the most important thing to remember is that we should be striving to make small changes in our everyday lives, rather than feeling like we have to be 100% perfect, which then leads to giving up completely.

If you're interested in following a few positive and inspiring sustainability accounts, websites or YouTube channels, a few of my favourites include Zanna Van Dijk, Venetia Falconer, Niomi Smart, Alli Cherry and Signe Hansen from Use Less.


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