I mentioned in my end of 2020 post that I have some goals around changes I’d like to make for 2021 in order to start reducing my waste and living more sustainably. Being totally honest, I am still very much learning about this and its something I became more conscious of over the last year. I’d like to consider the impact I have and to start making some basic changes to reduce this. I know that it will only have a small impact but any improvement is an improvement, that’s something that I have learnt. Over the last year, I already started to try and make changes so some of these have been done for a while. I started writing this post at the start of January but hadn’t got round to finishing it off and posting it, so in that time I have been able to add even more things that I’ve done! So, into the changes!
- Reducing food waste by doing things such as planning better to reduce my food waste. I’m still not great at this, but I’m trying to improve. Since being on Slimming World I was very much in the process of meal planning, but despite this, I still ended up with some wastage because I forgot about things. This is good for both sustainability but also for the budget! So I am now more conscious about planning around what I have in and what needs using up. To reduce food waste when shopping, I also try to shop for reduced veg that is at the end of its shelf-life to stop this from going to waste (again, it also helps the budget!)
- I’ve increased the amount I recycle, but I am also trying to reduce packaging too. One of the changes that I am making that will take some time is to reduce my single-use plastic by reducing and stopping my consumption of Pepsi Max (or the cheap supermarket equivalent I tend to drink). I used to go through a 2 litre bottle over the course of 1-2 days, and it would be pretty much the only thing I would drink, apart from some occasional water or green tea. In the past, I stopped drinking Pepsi Max cold-turkey and it was horrendous. I went through days of having headaches, being irritable and being unable to concentrate, so I decided to do it gradually this time. I started by cutting down to half a litre per day (usually a cup every morning). After I had used up the bottles I had in, I changed to drinking cans (1 can per day). Not only was this a slight reduction in quantity I was drinking, but it also meant changing to a more-recycled material as the container. I’m aware that the plastic wrap on the cans isn’t great either, but this was a start, and now the Aldi own brand version package in cardboard! My next stage of reduction was to try and only drink a can on alternating days and then gradually increase the days in between cans. To help with this, I also drink green tea (as this has caffeine) on days when I don’t drink Pepsi. I also increase the amount of water I have in the day to keep myself hydrated. I drink tap water, so that also means no single-use plastic.
- Reducing other plastics by using eco friendly laundry solutions. I switched to Smol laundry capsules. These are mail-order laundry capsules that come in a cardboard package. They are pretty reasonably priced and are delivered as part of your normal post, so using shipping routes already in existence. They work just as well as branded laundry capsules and are packaged in a way that takes up less space in the cupboard, bonus! I use Ecover fabric softener at the moment but I’m still early-days with looking in to this side of things. Ecover is really cheap, works just as well as any other fabric softener and smells great.
- Reusables! Now that I have used up pretty much all of the single-use food bags we had in, instead of buying more of these, I have invested in re-usable food bags. I have also invested in re-usable food covers and re-usable wax wrap. These can be used repeatedly so reduces the amount of single-use plastic I would be using. One of the main things to do when swapping to more sustainable methods (I have been told), is to use up what you already have first, and where possible, re-use things, so I ensured that when I finished with the items we had, I replaced them with reusables. There are loads of different brands that offer them and although you can’t always find them in supermarkets, you can buy them online or in places like Lakeland.
- Cosmetics in bar form. I’m currently using up the remains of my shampoo and conditioners (is it just me or does anyone else end up with little bits of left over shampoos and conditioners in bottles?!). I have so much more than I realised! Once I’ve finished with the current bits and pieces, I will swap to solid shampoo and conditioner bars. They come in cardboard packaging, which reduced the use of single-use plastic packaging. As they are smaller and easier to transport that also reduces the environmental impact of transport. I’ve already changed to a solid bar for my face wash. I’m trying out “Eco Warrior” and may do a review of it after I’ve used it for a while so that I can see if I get along with it. Some supermarkets now sell these in their cosmetic section, so they’re pretty accessible. I also have a couple of other bars to use (a shaving gel replacement and a body scrub) once I have used up the products I have (as they were on sale, so my thrifty self jumped on that one!)
- Reducing meat intake. To be honest, this is a very new one and a step I wasn’t sure I’d ever make if I’m being totally honest. Although I understand that it sounds very minor as a step, I am now only eating meat at tea time (or dinner time if that’s what you call your evening meal). In the past, I would always eat meat at lunchtime and it would be rare to not do this, so by not having this is actually a step in the direction of reduction and each small step is something, right? There is an environmental cost of raising livestock for food, which is something I am conscious of, and if I can reduce it a bit then that’s something. I’m not sure what direction this will take for the future, if it will reduce further etc., but its a start!
- Buying second hand as much as possible. This is something I have spoken about before, but where possible I buy clothes second hand either online or on charity shops. There’s a few reasons for this. One of the main ones was to make replacing my wardrobe cheaper through my weight loss journey, as I have to do this regularly while my body shape is changing and my clothes become too big. Another is that you are helping to raise money for some very worthwhile causes and of course, sustainability! By buying second hand you’re reducing clothes going to landfill and also reducing the amount of brand new clothes needing to be made (particularly with fast fashion brands). This doesn’t just have to stop at clothes, other things can also be bought second hand such as books, household items etc. which again, means less new items need to be made.
So those are the main changes I am making/have made to try to improve my sustainability. There are likely to be more over the course of the year and I will post some updates if there are any other big or interesting changes. I hope that’s given some ideas to others if they were looking for inspiration for their own goals for simple sustainability swaps/changes. Until next time, stay wonderful 😉