Sustainability, maybe not the most sexy of topics, but so important nonetheless. In a nutshell, sustainable living is trying to use the planet’s natural resources as little as possible, and to replace whatever is used the best you can. There are so many little things one can do to live (somewhat) sustainably, so I thought I’d share what I’m already doing and what I plan on doing. We all get to choose what we support with our money, so let’s spend it well, shall we?
less plastic / packaging
There’s nothing that grinds my gears more than individually packaged produce. Who needs a single packaged eggplant? Or a peeled banana in a plastic dish, again wrapped in plastic? And even when you do buy produce that’s not wrapped in plastic, you still need to put it in those awfull thin plastic baggies. Urgh. Whatever happened to those brown paper bags? Sometimes shopping for food get me real down because I’m surrounded by so many needless packaging, and it’s all for our convenience and hygiëne. This year I really want to explore a zero waste lifestyle, but I still need to do more research and explore what local shops I can go to (that won’t break my food shopping budget). So far I’ve found Prana Bio Bulk, a health food store selling grains, nuts, etc. You can bring your own containers and just buy in bulk. I’ll deffo make a post about it when I start exploring zero waste.
Turn off that tap, darnit. Brushing your teeth? Turn off the water when you’re not using it. Install a water saving showerhead – and take shorter showers or turn the water off when you’re getting yer butt soaped up. Use the eco programme on your dishwasher or washing machine. I really try and do all of the above – but I also love to take a bath from time to time. It’s all about balance, right?
less food waste
Yup, I’m guilty. We tend to throw away fruits and veggies we didn’t get to eat in time. Or something ends up in the back of our cupboard and we completely forget that we still had it. I really need to make more of an effort to make meal plans for the week and just buying what we need, instead of just grabbing anything we like while shopping. In all fairness, I don’t throw away food that’s gone over date, I always check if it smells or tastes funny and then decide whether to chuck it, or eat it. So far so good *knocks on wood.
more plant based food
Ok ok, hear me out first before you just scroll right past this point. I can already hear you go ‘found the vegan‘ (you didn’t) – but hear me out. While there are many benefits from following a plant based diet, but I’m only going to briefly talk about the sustainable part.
Generally speaking it takes far less water, soil, and time for fruits and veggies to grow. Growing produce also produces less greenhouse gass emissions than farming animals for consumption. This directly impacts climate change.
For example, it takes a lot more land, water and energy to grow cattle. It also takes land, water and energy to grow crops to feed the cattle. Inefficiënt, right? Here’s an interesting article (with a little video, to make it easy) about the beans for beef study. These are things most people already know, and have been proven many times over by scientific studies. Now a lot of the time, these studies are ‘debunked’ by biased ‘scientific’ proof, usually funded by the meat and/or dairy industry. But pro plantbased studies can be biased too. All I’m saying is, be careful where you get your information from.
I haven’t eaten any meat or fish for years now, and I’ve witnessed an huge shift in the selection of substitutes available in today’s supermarket. It’s so easy to sub your favorite meat by a veggie or vegan product these days, or to simply veganize your favorite meal. I’m not telling you to go vegan, you’re a big boy/girl and you can decide that for yourself. But even if it’s just one meat-free day a week, every little effort counts.
more fair fashion
This is something I picked up on only recently. Since my no-buy experience, I’ve been really drawn to fair – or concious – fashion. Brands that produce sustainably, ethical, and even vegan clothing are more common (and affordable!) than I originally thought. In all honesty, these are brands you’re not going to find on your typical big brands shopping street, but maybe some smaller independent stores in the side streets may stock them – so you’ll be supporting your local shops too. I already made quite the wishlist featuring some of my favorite basic finds from all different kinds of brands.
While on the subject of spending your hard earned moneydollars, how about buying something second hand or vintage? It’s about the most sustainable way of shopping these days, as you’re literaly giving previously loved items and clothing a second time around. When you’re buying second hand clothing, you can buy from vintage resellers who already washed and prepped the clothing for you (and pay a little more), or just head to your local thrift shop to see what’s available. If you’re buying clothing from these shops, make sure to wash the clothes (sometimes even twice) before wearing it yourself, because they just put the clothing on the racks in the condition they were donated. Thrifting is also a great way to find one of a kind items to decorate your house with. Like our local shop states: originality doesn’t have to be expensive.
Hey, if you’re heading to your local thrift or charity shop, is there anything just laying around in your house that you can bring to donate? Perhaps that blouse with the tag still on that you swear you were going to wear one day, but is still hanging in your closet? If not, maybe donating money to charities is an option. Look for some charities you feel involved with and research what they would be spending your money on. It doesn’t have to be much, or even on a monthly base – every donation helps.
I realize doing all of the above in one go can be a bit much. Just try to take it step by step (~day by day~ ok sorry) and explore what feels right to you. Try and make a sustainable choice at least once a day. Choose a vegan or vegetarian meal for dinner, donate the stuff you don’t wear anymore to charity, bring your own tote bag out shopping to avoid those flimsy plastic bags, etc. There’s so many little things you can do – but go easy on yourself and start with something small and work your way up to where you feel comfortable. Living sustainably is caring for the planet, but making concious decisions can also make you feel like a better person.
And remember, it’s not about doing everything perfect,
it’s about making an effort.