Whether it’s from Brexit, Boris Johnson, or more importantly, global warming, the UK is stuck in a whirlwind of terrible news. We’re bombarded daily by a lot of negative information that can be difficult to digest, especially when there are a lot of conflicting opinions. Despite having a strong interest in the matter, I’m currently taking a step back from getting angry at the disaster that has become UK politics, and I’m instead focusing my energy into changes I can make to help reduce my Carbon Footprint and waste.
Something that has become very real for me recently is the constant pressure of consumerism, there’s always something new or better that we should be buying, most of the time when what we already have is perfectly fine.
One of the worst contenders for this is fashion, so trying to reduce what I buy is something I try to exercise a lot. Being able to make simple repairs is a great way to cut down the need to buy clothes. There will always be times when you can’t avoid buying something, but what we do with our old clothes afterwards also impacts the environment. At one point, among everything else I owned, I had around 40 dresses in my wardrobe. Some I hadn’t worn for years but couldn’t bring myself to get rid of, others I wore day to day, and the rest were purely for evening wear and didn’t get that much use. After sorting through everything I had (a lot still had tags!), I’d made a huge pile of clothes to be sold, another to go to charity, and one that I planned on recycling with the H&M scheme.
What happens after you sell your clothes on is out of your control, but somebody else buying second hand is a small step in the right direction for our society becoming more eco-friendly. A way that you can be sure on the fate of your clothes however, is up-cycling. I just recently made a cotton tote bag from an old T-Shirt, it was quick, easy, and didn’t require a sewing machine.
I’ve also invested in a couple of products from Lush. All of the products come boxed in recyclable materials, either placed in the cardboard on their own or wrapped in a very thin piece of paper. The padding inside is also recyclable, rather than being Styrofoam – I kept this for packing for our move.
I ordered a Wiccy Magic Muscles bar to help sooth my aching muscles after the gym. I don’t really have a product that this is substituting, but if you use something like baby oil or massage oils, you would have very little waste from this product. I also bought a conditioning shampoo bar called Godiva, it’s a lovely yellow bar that contains cocoa butter, cupuaçu butter, shea butter, camellia oil, organic macadamia nut oil and extra virgin coconut oil. It comes unwrapped, but Lush sell their own little tins that you can pop your products in. Last but not least, I ordered a soap called Honey I Washed The Kids. I couldn’t find a tub large enough on sale at Lush, so I’ve popped it in a small Tupperware tub.
I think that people can be put off by the prices at Lush, though after doing a little bit of research and comparing my findings against the prices of one bar to how many bottles of shampoo and conditioner I buy, it seems like this is going to be much better value for money. I’ve been told that one shampoo bar can last over a month, whereas one bottle of my shampoo lasts a few days at most when it is being shared between two people. Again, the soap bar is forecast to last a lot longer than one bottle of my body wash, which leads me to hope my day-to-day waste can be cut down drastically.
For a long time I have flicked between being vegetarian. At the beginning of this year I fell terribly sick after switching completely veggie, mainly due to my intolerance to most meat alternatives. Since then, meat has been reintroduced to my diet, but in much smaller portions. I try to eat a lot of vegetables that I can buy loose from the shop by my house, usually this will be things like courgettes, aubergines, onions, peppers, and just recently, mushrooms. I go through mushrooms by the bucket load and a lot of the time eat them with a mixture of veggies instead of having something like chips when I’m cooking in the week.
We are all aware by now that cutting down our meat and fish consumption is crucial to maintaining the environment, though another thing that is in the firing line right now is the packaging that our food comes in. Many things come in plastic tubs with film lids, most of which aren’t recyclable. I’ve been trying to tackle this is by buying all of my fruit and vege loose, and taking advantage of stores that will sell you meat and fish in tubs you’ve bought from home.
Over the past few weeks I have been exploring bulk buying products like pasta, rice, herbs and spices, though I haven’t quite found the best way to approach this yet. I feel that with only 3 weeks left to move, a sudden bulk buy might be alarming once I come to pack up the kitchen, though it definitely seems to be a way to reduce lots of bits of plastic.
Consistency is key when it comes to reducing your waste – making sure that the changes you make can be implemented every day. Whether it’s from the points I’ve made above, or doing things like taking shorter showers and remembering to turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth, a more conscious approach to living is a step in the right direction.
Let me know in the comments any tips on living more consciously!