Welcome to 2020!
Last year was a biggy for me personally - I trained, qualified and certified as a coach; supported my first clients through powerful levelling up and transformations; got nominated for an award and donated a kidney for my husband (more on that another time!).
However, I think it was the small but consistent changes I made that had an equal impact both on my own life and that of the fragile planet we live on. Here are my suggestions for how you can bring more sustainability to your own life and help make a difference too - it all adds up.
1. Swapped cling film for wax wraps. Cling film is a type of plastic that can't be recycled and is full of chemicals (BPAs) that can transfer to our food, especially when heated in a microwave. Last year, I got some Beeswax Wraps to use as an alternative and found they have worked really well. There are lots of different ones available now in different sizes and lots of pretty patterns. Better than cling film all round.
2. Bringing my own shopping bag everywhere. Mine is a small foldaway one that fits in may bag and has easily saved me from using 100+ plastic bags last year, if not more. I feel that for a while, the 5p charge for a bag in a shop was a deterrent but now people seem accustomed to it and expect it so making sure I have my own bag on me makes sure I don't give in and get one. Its a small change but easy to do and if everyone did it, the difference would add up
3. smol washing and dishwasher tablets. We started with the detergent and then also tried the dishwasher tablets too. Both are as effective as the brands we were using before but come with the added benefit of using less plastic; cruelty free; being much cheaper; are delivered to our door as and when we need them and they also use more natural ingredients and less harsh chemicals. I have sensitive skin and the Non Bio ones have not caused me any issues - and they smell incredible!
4. Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper. Along with the smol tablets, this has been a change that has been for the better in many ways. The toilet paper options (including a bamboo fibre one) from WGAC are all environmentally friendly, free from chemical dyes and scents and the company also use a portion of their profits to support community projects so there are great ethics at play too. So far, we have had one box delivered to our door and have been... well delighted with the experience! Each one is wrapped in paper so there is no plastic involved and they look pretty too.
5. Milk and More. There is something very nostalgic and delightful about waking up to glass milk bottles on the doorstep three times a week. Milk and More (as their name suggests) do other products too including bread, eggs, orange juice and cake! You can also get household goods; and lots of vegan milk options too - all delivered to your door. It is a little pricier that buying milk from the supermarket, but the convenience of having it delivered along with there being zero plastic is totally worth it.
6. Litter Picking Walks. I love where I live in both the local area and the planet as a whole. Seeing the amount of rubbish we produce and then how much of it makes its way into out waterways and then on to the ocean is heartbreaking. But we can all do something about it - like the plastic free swaps mentioned above - but there is also a hands on, direct way to get involved as well. I registered with my local council as a litter picking volunteer; pledged to look after a specific area around where I live and they in return sent me a litter picking kit. It's also another win/win as you get to exercise in the fresh air; make a positive impact on the environment and feel good about making a difference too. Why not find out if your local council offers a similar volunteer scheme or see if you can get a litter picker from your local hardware store to get you started?
7. Shop small, shop local, shop sustainable. I have had an Amazon account since the 1990's and a Prime subscription since they started - but I'm cancelling it when it's due for renewal at the end of this month. I also intentionally avoided the big on line retailers for Christmas shopping and instead sought out small independent businesses that made beautiful products with passion and love. Yes, it takes more planning and more time but it was so worth it. Knowing I was buying not just quality items but also supporting someone's much loved business gave me the warm fuzzies beyond what Prime same day delivery could ever achieve.
As consumers, we have the power to make a difference both in how we shop and where we shop. It can get overwhelming when you see the impact our collective choices are having on the planet, and it may seem like you couldn't possibly make a difference. However, once you start making conscious, intentional swaps with even just one thing in your life, you will start to see the difference it can make for you and all of us. The swaps and decisions I made last year were all simple and on a "see how it goes" basis, but all of them have stuck and I know I'm making a difference.
Imagine if we all did that...?