Climate change has been talked about a lot in recent years, and only in the last few months we’ve seen the UK declare a climate change emergency in answer to protests and pressure from environmental groups. While it’s clear that the vast majority of change needs to come from government legislation and from the large corporations having the biggest impact on our environment, as consumers, we can still be doing our part day-to-day to become more responsible for the waste we produce.
Making these changes isn’t about having plastic phobia and throwing away all your Tupperware boxes and bottles, it’s about looking for ways to reuse things in the best way possible, and limit your waste where you can. Here are a few suggestions of ways you can do this in your daily life.
Cut down on your online shopping
You would be hard pushed these days to find anyone who has never ordered something online. With the introduction of Amazon Prime, we can get almost anything we want delivered to our door within just a few hours, and with businesses offering everything from subscription toiletries to weekly fresh veg deliveries, you literally don’t have to leave your house if you don’t want to.
While it’s great that we have so many options, many of us would rather choose to order with one click and have our items show up at our door wrapped in layers of packaging, than to take our reusable bags to the shop and purchase without the excess cardboard and plastic.
Cut down on your online shopping and opt to buy from your community instead. This will not only help small businesses in your local area and save you money on postage, but it can also help reduce the amount of packaging waste you have to throw away.
Create your own zero waste kit
I’m using the term ‘zero waste’ loosely here, as it has become a buzz phrase that doesn’t always mean what we want it to. That said, the rise of people taking their own items out and about with them to avoid unnecessary waste is definitely a positive move for the environment. For example, instead of accepting a take-away cup from your local coffee shop, imagine if you had your own reusable one ready to hand over from your bag. Instead of buying a 10p plastic bag every time you shop, be prepared with a tote bag inside your usual handbag at all times. Instead of asking the bartender for a straw, whip out your reusable bamboo one.
There are lots of ‘zero waste kits’ on the market that are already made up for you, but I always think it’s more fun to find the products you like best and make your own. I like the bamboo range from WakeCup, who offer a bunch of portable products to help you cut down on your waste. You can also now buy items like plastic-free toothbrushes and paper cotton buds, and the options are expanding every day.
Start an eco-brick collection
For many of us, recycling is a given. But unfortunately there are just too many things that come in plastic packaging with the ‘not yet recyclable’ logo on it, which makes me sad to see. This soft plastic (such as the plastic wrap that your vegetables come in, quite unnecessarily I might add) is often thrown into the normal rubbish bin, but if you hate discarding it in this way, you may want to start eco-bricking.
Eco-bricking is simply pushing any leftover soft plastic packaging you have inside of a plastic bottle, which can then be saved up, and sent to or dropped off at an eco-brick centre near you. In the UK there aren’t many around yet, but hopefully there will be more popping up soon. This is a great way to condense your unrecyclable plastic waste, and eco-bricks go on to help build sustainable structures for homes and gardens. You can find out more about eco-bricks here.What other changes have you made recently to be more eco-friendly? Share your ideas with me over on Instagram at @ohanacbd.