It feels like more than ever now we need to start thinking and taking responsibility for our actions; from better recycling habits, to checking our spending habits against company values and practises.
Maybe it’s our generation and social media finally getting a leg up over the wall to demand change that has pushed the conversation forward more, or maybe it’s just that time in life where you’re more conscious and aware of what is going on around you, but I for one have been come hyper-aware to what I’m contributing to across the various sectors of our planet, and trying to live more sustainably where I can.
I know living sustainably can be a big thing to implement overnight, it’s a big lifestyle change for some that might not be possible now or ever due to living situations, but it’s something we need to think about more to make sustainable living easier and more accessible to all, and also helping care and protect our planet for the future.
This year I’m trying to better myself and improve my actions where I can, so here’s a list breaking down how I plan to live more sustainably in 2018 (and beyond!)
- Conscious spending
A lot of things on this list originate from changing spending habits, because it’s so easy to buy avocados wrapped in plastic or get your shopping delivered in carrier bags or to buy some one-time holiday clothes, and not be aware how our spending habits contribute to the larger problem. So far I’ve switched to buying sustainable/eco/fairtrade fashion which has cut down my spending by A LOT, and I no longer scour pages of ASOS or the like on a daily basis looking for something to fill a gap, I make conscious decisions and have a whole process before clicking checkout: 1) is the brand/item eco-friendly or sustainable? 2) are the materials a good quality and sourced ethically? 3) does it go with what I already have in my wardrobe and is it a piece that I’ll wear a lot? Once I’ve ticked off all those, I’m good to go – my favourite finds so far are People Tree, Thought Clothing, and Matt & Nat.
- Limit plastic
This is a huge one, because we are so used to everything being in plastic and all nicely packaged, but we also know it’s doing harmful damage to the planet. Blue Planet really woke up a larger part of the world by showcasing the effects of plastic being dumped in the oceans and urging us to live more sustainably, and seeing videos of our unperishable rubbish being shipped to other countries…it’s just wrong and we need to do more to reverse the problem we’ve been ignoring for decades. I’m trying to get my family to buy more ‘naked’ veg and reuse bags, and whilst it might seem like an inconvenience to keep wrapping up veg and have it maybe roll around the trolley, washing your veg and reusing bags is a small price to spare an unliveable future.
- Jewellery with a purpose
It’s cool that the thing that got me back into wearing jewellery was brands that gave back to communities and promoted fair materials and trade – my monstera leaf earrings from Maravilo promote emerging designers and all their products are ethically produced, and these silver circle earrings* are a new fave I got recently from Smoke and Ash via Wearth, produced in South East England with recycled silver. I love how both are delicate pieces but really bold designs, they perfectly finish off an outfit and give back to an ethical cause, which makes me feel like I’m doing more with my purchase.
- Thoughtful beauty
Obviously I’m a big lover of all things cruelty-free and vegan beauty, so it’s been an easier transition over – I try to buy when there are promotions such as £1 donated to charity and such as again the money goes further, but also aim to use brands that are inclusive and going further than simply being cruelty-free. For example, I got sent this lovely Soap Co. Lotion which is made by visually impaired, disabled, or otherwise disadvantaged workers. The products also have braille packaging which is a fantastic idea, and of course all the materials are sourced in the UK and impact the environment as little as possible – should also mention, it smells great too! A bit more money, but it goes a lot further to help promote better causes.
- Conserve water
I always remember a comment by an old Geography teacher of mine about leaving the tap running whilst you wash your face and brush your teeth, and it’s always stuck with me (even when I catch myself doing it now). I’ve started filling the sink with a bit of water and washed with the amount I have, and it’s enough, you only need a small amount to wash your pits in the morning or cleanse your skin at night, yet we don’t turn taps off for whatever silly reason we have (mine have been ‘what if the hot water stops running and I have to wait again?’ and ‘oh well it’s just easier) NO. Use the amount you really need sustainably to wash, and be mindful through the day.
- Limit food waste
This and plastic are the big areas needing improvement in my life – I hate food waste, but I also hate how picky I am with food and how much bigger my eyes are over my belly. I’m trying now to plan meals better, buy organic and fairtrade where I can, and portion meals better so I can freeze leftovers or have batches to last in the fridge. So many times I’ve bought something and it’s never opened or only a few pieces are used before throwing away; it’s wasteful, and I could be doing so much better. This section should also include donating to food banks, as so many are under-funded and supplied and it is important to help out as much and as often as we can.
Have you thought about living sustainably this year? How are you planning to make changes and where? Let me know in the comments below! x