Sustainable Swaps: 8 Easy Tips For Reducing Waste
Sustainability – it’s a topic that is demanding our attention more than ever before, with the future of our planet, very much in our hands right now.
As we begin to see some of the devastating effects of our consumerism, consumption and waste impacting our natural environment, and forecasts of what to come looking eerily grim, focusing on sustainable practices to reduce waste, move towards greener living and a collective eco-conscious mindset is becoming a fundamental responsibility for each of us.
In general, sustainability looks to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health, while driving innovation and not compromising our way of life. Often, this can seem daunting – surely the only way to protect our, and our children’s future’s are for large-scale, dramatic change in policy changes and legislation, right? Well yes, but there is also great power to be had in simple, yet effective, swaps in our everyday lives that can have an accumulative effect, rippling through our networks and communities.
Which can push significant habit changes into our practices surrounding waste, usage and of course, our purchase power.
To help you make positive and impactful shifts towards a more sustainable lifestyle, we have collated eight easy tips that will help you move towards reduced waste and a healthier, greener lifestyle!
Read on for Simple sustainable swaps for a more eco-conscious lifestyle.
Invest in a reusable Coffee Cups + Water Bottles
If you haven’t already, invest in a reusable coffee cup – such as these from FrankGreen – and a reusable water bottle. This way you will be reducing the amount of single-use, disposable plastic you engage with. You’ll also benefit your own health by removing the interference from the many endocrine disrupters that exist within plastic products.
Increasingly in urban centres we are seeing water bottle taps and refill points spring up to support the usage of reusable water bottles, and as a bonus, many cafes may offer discounts to customers for using reusable containers to encourage the practice!
2. Swap out common kitchen products
A great way to reduce plastic waste in the kitchen is to purchase some reusable food wrappers, which are often made using beeswax, that can replace traditional plastic wrap (again, an endocrine disrupter) for the safe storage of food.
Another simple swap is to attain some reusable, metal straws – which if you’re a regular smoothie drinker, are a great idea to keep on hand within your bag, so you won’t be caught without next time you’re out and about!
Additionally, look to invest in some glass food storage containers. These are not only a sustainable investment as they are longer lasting than their “tend to warp” plastic counterparts, but they are additionally safer without the risk of being an endocrine disrupter, while still offering effective airtight storage solutions!
3. Prepare for your grocery shops
When grocery shopping, some simple pre-planning can drastically reduce the amount of plastic waste you consume. Firstly, carry a reusable bag for groceries. Secondly, ditch the excess plastic bags in the fresh produce aisle – just ensure you give your goods a thorough wash before use!
Finally, seek out stores that offer options to bulk buy dry produce and household products - such as nuts, seeds, flour, grains, nut butter, dishwashing liquid, soap etc – where possible, to reduce the need for excess packaging and which you can then store in your recently purchased glass containers!
4. Reduce your home energy consumption
Simple, yet sometimes overlooked, hacks around the home are powerful shifts towards a more environmentally friendly and sustainable future. Where possible try to use energy-efficient light bulbs (and switch them off when you aren’t using them!), unplug appliances when they are not in use, use air-conditioning/heating where absolutely necessary and if you are looking to invest in home appliances – look out for energy standards so you can make informed decisions about their efficiency and usage!
Plus when you implement these tips, you’ll likely find a friendlier household bill at the end of the month!
5. Look at your commuter patterns
Carbon emissions are a major contributing factor to the shifts in our eco-system and climate change. Looking at the way you commute daily can be a positive shift towards lowering your carbon footprint. Some questions that you can ask yourself: Do you need to drive every day? Is it possible to take public transport, walk, ride, run or car share? Remember it is the small, accumulative shifts that can add up, so even if it is using public transport just one, then maybe two or three days a week, instead of driving, you can be on the right track!
6. Switching up your sanitary products
On average, women will use 10,000 sanitary products during their lifetime. Unfortunately, most of these products – specifically tampons and sanitary pads – contain plastic and chemical proponents that can not only have detrimental effects to a woman’s body (especially as the vagina is one of the most absorbent contact areas of the female body) but makes them non-biodegradable. Switching to either non-toxic, organic sanitary products, or to a reusable menstrual cup, is an impactful way to not only safeguard your health, but the additionally reduce waste.
Bonus – a menstrual cup is a money-saving tip when considering the regular, ongoing cost of disposable sanitary products that need to be purchased each month!
7. Employ Conscious fashion consumption practices
In the current state of social media and keeping up with “trends”, fast fashion brands are utilising powerful marketing ploys that are persuading consumers to invest in more throwaway items than ever before. Stepping away from this continuous vortex of needing “more” and buying for a season, a current trend, or a one-off event, look to find ways to support more conscious fashion consumption.
That may look like supporting fashion companies that are using innovative, sustainable practices – like utilising deadstock material, such as The Reformation, or developing materials through recycled processes, such as Girlfriend Collective or Stay Wild Swim – and investing in pieces that will last you for many years to come.
Another tactic is to engage with vintage or thrift stores – where you may find quality pieces that have already stood the test of time! That you can recycle and upcycle into your wardrobe. With the rise of rental fashion services, such as All The Dresses or Rentadella, you can also make a greener impact by renting items for special occasions, rather than purchasing an item, to be worn only once and never again!
8. make Long-Term Investments when Purchasing
When making consumer purchases, consider a more minimal approach and look to invest where possible in higher quality that will last you for the long-term. This relates not only to fashion, but broadly across all goods purchased, such as furniture, art, household appliances etc… If you seek out items that truly bring you joy and can imagine wanting to keep for many years to come, you may have less “stuff” but you will be reducing the likelihood of discarding your goods!