I cannot tell you how happy I am to be launching this new series. I have wanted to bring sustainability topics onto my blog in a more formal manner, for a while. I was so pleased when I received a 100%, resounding YES when I posed the question on Instagram to see if you would be interested. This is a series with no judgement, no finger pointing and no preaching. It is simply to share information on conscious living. Yes, of course I want every single person to understand that Mother Nature is on her knees. She is begging us to stop the abuse of our beautiful home. But, I also know low impact living can be pretty overwhelming to know where to start! I get it.
So, this first post is just dipping our toes. A little ease in to the subject. Let me ask, does the term “sustainable living” mystify you a little? In truth, it doesn’t really matter what label you put on it. Eco friendly, sustainable living, zero waste living, low impact life. They all mean that people are wanting to do more, and make changes, which is great. Gradually, and thankfully, people are becoming more keen to make eco friendly decisions. We are all (I hope and pray), looking at ways to reduce our own affect that we have on the planet. This is where I hope, this new series of posts comes in a useful. Little bite sized chunks of information each month.
Let’s get real for a moment. Living plastic free and zero waste is not an overnight thing (for pointers, I love this simple book on plastic free living). Sustainability is also a complicated, multi layered issue. For example, is it living more sustainably to drive 20 miles to your nearest zero waste shop for two items? Maybe not! I am also realistic in that I know totally zero waste may not even be possible. Rushing into your kitchen to throw away all of your plastic pots and storage items is not the way. They end up in landfill. That adds to the problem! Small, everyday changes WILL make a difference though. As the famous saying states,
“what difference will me not using a plastic straw make…..says 7 million people”
My own journey into sustainable living has been a gradual but long one. It actually started in my teens with dying/customising clothes to breath new life into them. Also swapping clothes with friends when we got fed up with our wardrobes and trawling charity shops for books and jewellery. We were already making sustainable choices, but didn’t know it! I become even more set on living as low impact life as I can, when I realised that my love of travel can leave quite a large carbon footprint.
The Eco Edit, Conscious Living
This series is not me claiming to be an expert. Not in any way. Nor will I ever claim to be perfect. I am just trying to do better. It is not me telling you what you should and should not be doing. It is just going to be a post per month, with information that I hope will add to what you already know. Simple as that! I am hoping that you too will share your own hints and tips in the comments. I want this to be a real “community” series. We can all learn from each other. Share what we already know. After all, we are all in this together because planet Earth is home to all of us! I hope you find it useful.
Simple changes you can start now
Just a few things that require little effort;
Remind yourself to try to always consider the three R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle). It will not lead you to far wrong. Reduce is one of the big ones for me. We, in the privileged parts of the world we occupy, all buy waaaaaay to much stuff! Try to have the conscious thought of “do I need it” whenever you make a purchase. It is a great start point and makes you buy more consciously and mindfully.
Eat less meat. Maybe even do Meat Free Monday or similar. With so much meat free choice in restaurants nowadays, it has never been easier. I am vegan, but my family are not. They have two/three meat free days per week. I will not ever try to convert them to veganism, (that’s not my way) but I love that they have made these changes. (If you want any meal ideas or cook book suggestions, please feel free to ask) x
Have a shower instead of a bath. It is no secret I LOVE my bath. It is the way I relax. I know it uses much more water though, so I do try to have more showers now.
If you can walk instead of drive – do so! Better for the planet, better for you!
I am never going to not travel. I will do my best to make it as low impact as I can. However, I am being honest with you, I will always have a desire to see the world. I wrote a post with some ideas earlier this year, Acknowledging the Impact Travel Has, so that may hold a few tips on trying to lower our impact. Nik and I have also found a renewed love for exploring the UK. Honestly, do not under estimate the adventure in a staycation. Exploring your own back yard is a great way to travel more sustainably.
. Eco tourism is in part, simply making better choices to lessen your negative impact on a destination. Some great ways to be more sustainable in travel;
- use the small, independently owned shops and restaurants.
- Buy from the local businesses.
- Look at the sustainability efforts of the accommodation you choose
- Look at alternatives to flying if its at all possible (if not travelling alone)
- Never do anything “touristy” with animals (dolphin swims, elephant rides etc)
- Try to avoid huge tourist hot spots
- Use busses and walking if possible in the destination
- Request that your hotel does not change your towels every day
In the Home
This time of year, we are all ready to button down the hatches a little. We welcome cosy nights in, candles casting a cosy glow, mugs of hot drinks on repeat. But not all candles are created equally when it comes to our enviroment. What they are made of can have detrimental affects on the planet, but on our health too! Sadly, many of the well know candle brands are made of paraffin, which is a by product of the petroleum industry. The wick of your candle is also not an innocent bystander. They are often metal wrapped in cotton, paper etc, and as the metal burns, toxic soot is released. Then you have the added complication of most candles being scented with synthetic fragrance oil. Again, not the best choice for the environment.
So, what can us candle lovers do? Buying candles made from sustainable soy/vegetable wax, and scented with essential oils is a great start. Please note that I use the word sustainable. At first glance soy wax is the clear answer. But, not all soy wax is a better alternative, and there is huge debate on the way in which the crops for soy or other vegetable waxes are grown. Chemicals used on crops, land clearing to grow crops, all can point towards soy not as great an alternative as you think. It is just being aware, and trying to make the right decision. For example, next time you buy candles, check with the company that they use sustainable soy wax, they know where their supply is from and that the wicks they use are paper or pure cotton. Part of conscious living is knowing the backstory to what you buy and use.
The Melt Pool – beautiful, aromatherapy candles to enhance your mood,
We are all well aware that our single use plastic use has to stop. We know we have to recycle more in our homes. But, are you aware that the stuff that you put in your recycling bin, does not always get recycled? I know, shocker right? Recycling is not a lovely free service that our local authorities pay for. Recycling is a huge business, and like all businesses, it has to make a profit. If you are putting stuff in your recycle bin, that will cost more to treat than what the company will get back on it, off to landfill it goes! Along with our good intentions!
Give your local authority a call, or check their website. You should be able to get a full list of what can go in your recycle bins. A few examples of what surprisingly cant; Greetings cards and wrapping paper with glitter – pretty, but cant be recycled. Greasy takeaway cardboard boxes – nope, cant be recycled. Used tea bags – unless they are eco-friendly teabags, they cannot go in your compost/food waste. (loose tea in a teapot tastes better anyway…) Jars with food residue on. Plastic bottle caps. Paper napkins. The list goes on…..
It is quite eye opening isn’t it? But, it does also help show the things that we shouldn’t be buying, or should be trying to cut down on. Understanding the symbols on things will also help you understand what can/can’t be recycled. This site here is useful and explains well.
The best way to be sustainable with the clothes you wear, is to not buy any! There have been studies to show that the average person wears only around 30% of what is in their stash. How mad is that! About 2 years ago I had a huge clear out of my wardrobe. I liked the idea of creating a capsule wardrobe, as well as seeing exactly what I had lurking in my cupboards. I now have a strict one in one out policy. I only buy something if I’m replacing something. I will admit that I sometimes do have a minor panic when I am going out somewhere. Let’s be honest here, it is ingrained in us that we have to have a new outfit. It is a mindset that I have had to change.
Fast fashion are clothes that are cheaply made, intended for short term use. We should all be avoiding this if we can. Sustainable fashion is the opposite. It even looks into the entire process of making the item. It’s looking at everyone and everything being affected by the process. Things like the chemicals used in the process are looked into. Yes these chemicals used to make that top might not affect us that are wearing it, but they do affect the workers and the environment of where they are made. Its a real rabbit hole you fall into when you start looking into the problems with fast fashion! The issue is vast, and one of the biggest contributors to the environmental crisis. Stop. Buying. Fast. Fashion. (ok, that is a bit finger waggy)…
A few ideas on how you can be more eco friendly in your fashion choices are;
- Only buy what you need.
- Do the “30 wears test” Before you part with your cash for an item, ask yourself if you will definitely wear it a minimum of 30 times.
- Buy secondhand. The most sustainable fashion choice
- Buy better quality items if your budget allows. They will last longer
- Look towards sustainable clothing brands. Lots of the high street shops are also introducing more sustainable lines.
- Learn to repair clothes rather than replace
- Buy local. Online shopping massively increases the carbon footprint of an item with packaging, transportation etc
I hope you have found this post useful. My plan going forward with these posts is to niche each one down a bit. So for example, I will do a post on things in the home you can replace with eco friendly alternatives. I will introduce you to some amazing brands I have found during my own journey. Maybe do a room by room tour of my home and where I have made improvements. A slow and easy sharing of information.
I would love you to share any tips that you already do. Also, if there are specific areas that you would like me to cover in this series, let me know. It will be a series that will no doubt take a little time to find its way. It is a huge subject. Conscious living is not an overnight, one blog post kinda gig! I do not want to overwhelm. I want to encourage and motivate you to changes. We are all in this together!