It’s easy to feel defeated with all this news about climate change and the state of our planet, but sitting around in despair isn’t helpful to anyone.
Instead, putting these sustainable living tips into action will have you feeling better about life. You never know, they might just encourage some gentle and polite conversation with your less environmentally friendly friends.
Reduce Your Meat And Dairy Consumption
The EAT-Lancet Commission (a completely independent group made up of the world’s leading scientists) recently released a report which uncovered some pretty eye-opening facts.
North Americas (and Australians aren’t far off) are currently eating 638% of the recommended red meat intake, 268% of the recommended intake of eggs, 234% for chicken and 145% of dairy foods. Meanwhile, they’re not even close to consuming the recommended about of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
You don’t need to go vegan overnight (unless you want to), just try some of these changes.
- If you eat meat every single day, start with Meat-Free Mondays. If you’re already vegetarian, cut dairy a couple of days a week – the point is to just eat less animal products and more plants, no matter where you’re at right now.
- If you can’t give up meat, at least find out where yours is coming from and buy from a local farmer using sustainable practices.
- Add a side of mushrooms or avo instead of bacon next time you’re out for breakfast.
- Swap out your dairy milk – oat and soy are best, but even almond milk has a lower impact than dairy. If you hate the taste of non-dairy milk, you probably just haven’t found the right brand.
Stop Buying These Groceries
Convenience is key when it comes to eating and we’re all busy, but these simple swaps are so easy and if you keep your pantry well stocked, they’ll take less time than a trip to the supermarket.
- Say goodbye to those plastic tubs by making your own hummus, it takes 6 ingredients and 5 minutes.
- If you’re addicted to sparkling water, invest in a Soda Stream.
- Love kombucha? Make your own – you’ll cut down on bottles, save a ridiculous amount of money and will avoid all the sugar they add to commercial versions.
- Spending a small fortune buying nut milk? Go and buy some cheesecloth and make it at home.
- Going through more saurkraut than you can keep up with? Soak some cabbage in salty water and Bob’s your uncle.
Make Over Your Kitchen
Some of these are simple and some of them require a bit of work (ahem, composting) so start small and work your way up.
- First up, say goodbye to cling wrap – this stuff is just completely unnecessary if you have a good selection of food storage containers. Store leftovers and open foods in containers and invest in a couple of beeswax wraps for transporting food.
- Next, tackle your bins. If you have the space (and inclination) for a full-size composter or worm farm that’s great. If not, there are organic waste collection services, like Kooda, that will collect your scraps and compost for you as well as small composting systems like the Bokashi, so there’s no excuse to be sending it to landfill.
- Now that you don’t have any messy organic scraps going in the bin, you can also get rid of your plastic bin liners – double whammy.
- Next time one of your kitchen utensils breaks or you need something new, opt for bamboo or metal.
- When it comes to the sink, ditch your sponges and replace them with a cleaning brush or machine washable cloth, and while you’re at it, replace your cleaning products and detergent with environmentally friendly products.
Give Up Fast Fashion
Fashion is a dirty industry, in fact, it’s second only to big oil in CO2 emissions, so it’s time to stop contributing.
- Start by doing a serious stocktake of your wardrobe and getting creative with what you already have.
- If you’ve got a special event and you really have nothing to wear, search for dress rentals in your area or jump on Facebook Marketplace to find something pre-loved, chances are it’s only been worn once.
- Avoid the shops and curate (read: cull) your Instagram feed to remove the temptation altogether. It’s amazing how seeing something on a model will have you convinced that you can’t possibly go on living without it.
- Learn how to repair your clothes, or at least pay someone else to do it.
- When you really do need new clothes, find sustainable brands who are making clothes without contributing to our environmental problems. (link to fashion article when live)
Clean Up Your Bathroom
The bathroom is one of the easiest places to clean up your act, you won’t even notice these little changes.
- Use up everything in your bathroom – you’ll be surprised how long all those half empty moisturiser bottles last you – and don’t buy anything else until you’re completely out.
- Next time your body wash, shampoo and conditioner runs out, replace them with bars (these ones from Lush *actually* work).
- Replace plastic toothbrushes with bamboo toothbrushes, disposable razors with safety razors and single use cotton pads with bamboo wash cloths. Biome stocks it all if you need a one stop shop.
- Get crafty and try your hand at making your own toothpaste and deodorant, it’s easier than it sounds and your local Source Bulk Foods will stock all the ingredients if you don’t already have them at home.
- Ladies, break up with tampons in favour of a menstrual cup.
Rethink Your Transport
Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to get rid of your car. Just use it less.
- Aim to walk or bike anywhere within 3km of your house, you’ll get fit and save the planet at the same time.
- For anything further than 3km, aim to catch public transport and use your free time to read a book, catch up on the news, message friends or just stare into space. The world is your oyster.
- Heading out of town with friends for the weekend? Get the roadtrip playlist sorted and carpool, you won’t need six cars when you arrive at your destination.
- When you’re travelling short distances, think about driving or catching the train instead of flying. If you have to fly (we do live in Australia after all), offset your emissions.
- While it’s not in everyone’s budget, if you do find yourself in the market for a new car, at least consider an electric one.
One single person might not be able to make a difference, but 25 million Australians just might, so what are you waiting for?
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