Small Ways to Make Big Changes to the Climate Crisis
Climate change is currently an unavoidable fact of life; as global temperatures climb, extreme weather conditions increase worldwide, and sea levels continue to rise. We all care about the planet, but in the wake of these vast effects, adopting a sustainable lifestyle can often seem overwhelming and perhaps even a little futile. But it doesn’t have to be. There are many steps we can all take in our everyday lives to help make a difference – from the smallest of changes in what you buy, to a little extra planning when it comes to cooking dinner. Here are some easy, but potentially planet-saving changes you can make:
HEALTH AND BEAUTY
Brushing your teeth
Swap to a bamboo toothbrush to minimise plastic waste. These toothbrushes are not only made of bamboo, they also come free from any wasteful plastic packaging. You can now find them in almost all major supermarkets and chemists. There are also bamboo electric toothbrushes available too.
You can also substitute your tubes of toothpaste for completely plastic-free toothpaste tablets. Simply chew, brush and rinse.
Say goodbye to crappy disposable razors, and hello to safety razors. Made from various metals and alloys, these are sleek, fully recyclable and completely plastic-free. Billions of plastic razors end up in landfill sites every year1, so not only will this switch look more stylish, you’ll be well on your way to a plastic-free bathroom routine.
These multipurpose items are one of the most problematic litter items found on beaches across the world2. Try compostable bamboo buds, or reusable silicone buds.
Still a somewhat taboo subject, yet an incredible opportunity to make a difference to your waste. Over the course of a lifetime, a single menstruator will use somewhere between 5 and 15 thousand pads and tampons – which nearly all ends up in landfill3. There are a few alternatives out there so have a look around and see what might be right for you.
Sustainable pads are made out of plant fibres or organic cotton, with zero plastic waste. Reusable cloth pads and period pants are also all the rage. So many brands are now rolling these out that it’s not hard to find comfy, sexy and absorbent options. Then there’s the menstrual cup, also known as mooncups or organicups. These are the ultimate way of reducing our period waste, as one cup can last you up to 10 years! They’re a healthy, comfy, money and planet-saving winner!
Look for eco-friendly recycled toilet paper. There are plenty on the market, just check the label next time you are in the supermarket.
It takes makeup wipes years to break down in landfill4, so try one of the many, eco-friendly alternatives: reusable makeup remover pads, washable wipes, or microfiber cloths.
Stop buying planet-polluting cling film, and invest in beeswax wraps. Buy your wraps with a beeswax stick so you can replenish and they’ll last even longer.
Cut down food waste by planning your meals throughout the week. There are now several great apps that can help you not only plan your weekly meals, but give you great ideas for what to do with your leftovers. Good for the bank account as well as the planet.
Unfortunately meat production really is one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas emission. Reduce your meat intake where you can, perhaps limit yourself to once or twice a week, or special occasions. Buy local if you have the option to do so, to reduce transportation fumes, and mass plastic packaging.
Fruit and veg
Another opportunity to buy local produce when you can. Or even better, start growing your own!
There are several alternatives now available to replace liquid and powder detergents. Neither of these are particularly good for the environment (although plastic bottles of detergent are slightly better as long as the bottles are recyclable). Why not try soap nuts or eco strips as a more sustainable option?
Try to say ‘no’ to fast fashion, it’s an enormously wasteful industry. Try buying second-hand, patch old clothes or buy high-quality garments that will last longer. Be discerning with where you shop, and check to see if they pay their workers well, have local supply chains and use sustainably sourced materials.
Many supermarkets and organic shops now have refill stations, where you can replenish anything from shampoo to dog treats, soap to peanuts. Simply take your existing glass or (recyclable) plastic bottle or container to your local refill station, and dispense the amount you want.
Well that’s it! Lots of food for thought here I hope. And I’m sure there are many, many more eco-friendly methods and substitutes out there. Think of the difference you could make by switching out any one of these items or habits, by making just a simple change to your routine or weekly shop. And once you’ve tried some of these solutions and realised how great they are (I hope), spread the word! Tell your housemate, tell your sister, tell your grandma. Encourage them to make the changes you’ve made. And together we can all make a difference.