While we’re all out there setting our New Year’s resolutions to be better, fitter, newly rebirthed creatures with flawless skin and bubble butts, it’s only fair we set one of our intentions for the new year to live a more earth-conscious life.
This doesn’t mean you have to be a #VeganYogiGuru for 2019. These 7 tips and tricks for being a more eco-friendly human (with flawless skin and a bubble butt, of course) are so easy to do, even I live by them!
1- Keep (your) Cups
This is a habit that I have really only gotten into over the past couple of months, but truly see myself carrying on until my last breath. Ladies and gents, I present to you: the travel cup. Yes, I know, they’ve been around since sliced bread, BUT hear me out!
If you’re a massive fan of having coffee on the go, then you really need to invest in one that you keep with you At All Times. Here’s why:
A single-use to go cup from your favourite coffee shop is made out of both plastic and cardboard. Odds are, you happily glide the cardboard sleeve onto it too, because who wants a flat-white-scalded hand? Once your drink touches the inside of that cup, it becomes a whole lot harder to recycle- that is, if you do end up throwing it in a recycling bin. Do you see where I’m going with this?
You don’t even need to go out of your way to get a fancy Keep Cup; your regular old office mug will work just as well. While, yes, I do still get a few side-eyes for handing the barista my “Have a Nice Day!” Mug, it’s all worth it for mama Earth (until you spill the coffee down your white top, but that’s a whole other story.)
2- Get on the Metal Straw Train (Or the No Straw Train, We’re All Adults Here)
While places like California have officially banned the use of plastic straws (Go on, Cali!), the rest of the world is still slowly catching on. I have noticed that a lot of places have started serving cardboard straws, or even plastic-like straws that are actually made out of plant leaves (if you put the straw in hot water, you can drink it as a tea!), some huge chains like Mcdonald’s and Starbucks are still stuck in their old ways.
While you can’t force them to invest a little more money into sustainability, you can simply say no to the straw. Or if you really, really can’t be bothered to pick up your cup and bring it allll the way up to your lips, you can get your very own metal straw collection for less that $10 online!
3- BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)
I have literally reached the point where I’d rather carry 4 cartons of milk, a kilo of oranges, 3 packs of rice cakes and a to-go oatmeal pack in my arms than let the cashier bag my purchases. While inhabitants of more progressive countries like Germany and the UK get asked whether or not they’d like their items bagged (and get charged for the bags too), Dubai has sadly yet to catch on.
Cashiers are more than happy to double bag everything from a packet of gum to your tampons. While I get the privacy aspect of it, odds are, you are probably only walking about 10 steps in public before you get to your car/apartment.
If you don’t want to be like me, aka hoping the arm workout you did 2 weeks ago has made your biceps strong enough to carry your week’s shopping bagless, try to remember to take your reusable bag with you. You can get one at pretty much every supermarket that sells its own branded one, or find a cute one on Amazon if you’re feeling extra treat-yo-self-ish.
4- Say No to Single-Use
Single-use plastic is the terminal illness of this planet. On the one hand, it’s durable, very, very widely accessible, and you don’t have to stand at the sink to wash it after using it. Sounds like a dream, right? Except for the fact that, on the other hand, it takes over 400 years for it to even start decomposing. That means the plastic bottle you just threw away in the bin will literally still be lying in a landfill somewhere by the time your great great great great great granddaughter is going off to some Ivy League on Mars with her alien besties.
If that thought horrifies you- or at least intrigues you- I highly recommend watching BBC Blue Planet II, A Plastic Ocean, and Drowning in Plastic.
Reusable bottles like the very Instagrammable S’Well bottle, or literally any other bottle that is not made out of single-use plastic, bamboo cutlery, and the aforementioned metal straws are extremely handy in reducing your single-use plastic waste!
5- Dine in more
Not only does this option help reduce the amount of single-use plastic cutlery you consume, it also massively helps reduce your food waste volumes. While food takes a lot less time to decompose in landfills (around a month) it uses up a lot of resources to get from production line to your plate.
Cooking at home or meal prepping can help you save up money, eat healthier, and- bonus point- save the planet!
I’ll be honest with you, I definitely can do a lot better on this front. I usually set my intention to pack my lunch for work but 5/6 times I forget to and just end up getting a falafel and halloumi wrap from Costa.
6- Practice Mindful Online Consumption
It’s SO easy, almost too easy, to consume in this day and age. You can literally buy all of Fenty’s foundation line (PS: there’s a LOT of it), a hot dog suit for your dog, and entire garden furniture set while sitting on the toilet. My online shopping craze got so bad that, in the two minutes it took me to walk from my car to the office on a regular boring Wednesday, I bought two new t-shirts and a skirt. While sustainable fashion is a whole other topic worthy of its own article, the carbon footprint of your mindless online shopping is one we need to discuss right now.
Depending on where you live, some online shops may be continents away from you. I was on ASOS 24/7 until I decided to track my Christmas presents haul and realised that every single item I buy has to travel from Manchester all the way to Dubai. All for a lame “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” Christmas card with Dwayne Johnson on the front (it did get the laughs intended to be fair- but STILL!).
Next time you feel the online shopping itch, make sure you are getting something that’s worth the miles traveled.
Do you have any eco-friendly tips that you live by? If so, share them with me in the comments!