While most of us in the millennial generation have likely been somewhat aware since childhood about the fact that our rubbish ends up in a landfill somewhere, it feels like the topic of sustainability has only really been brought to centre stage over the last few months. I’ve And I have to admit, until recently, I didn’t think much about it beyond the basics of just doing a bit of recycling here and there. Single use plastic and the cotton industry weren’t really concerns I’d ever heard much about until 2018 dawned. And it’s about time, too – we’ve been learning about recycling since primary school, but it feels like taking smalls steps to sustain our environment is only just becoming a mainstream, widely talked about and normalised thing to do.
And while some Judgey Judy’s might stand back and say that everyone and their gran is just bundling on the bandwagon of saving the planet now because it’s “cool”, it’s definitely not the worst bandwagon you could be on by any means. Taking even the smallest steps add up if everyone takes them together.
It’s a bit of a personal goal for me this year to try and implement more small steps in my daily life to live more sustainably, and to share anything I learn. I sort of intend for these ‘small ways to sustainability’ posts to be a series – so keep an eye out for future posts if you’re interested in this topic! These are just a few of the teeny, tiny things I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to move towards each day.
1. A more sustainable makeup removal routine
It only really occurred to me earlier last year just how many little cotton rounds I dump each night smearing off my makeup with God forsaken micellar water. I also didn’t previously understand how unethical cotton farming for these products is. All in the name of little face pads that fill up my bin bags! So for Christmas, I bought some reusable cotton rounds from LeaveNoTrace on Etsy for myself, and gifted some to my mummy and sister, and so far I’m absolutely adoring them. They came in a cute little washbag and are so super soft on your face! I’ve also decided to ditch the plastic micellar water bottle that gets used up and tossed out every 5 minutes it feels like, and instead I’m now using actual cleansers with a mix of the reusable cotton rounds and just a normal face cloth, to wash my face on the daily. And your pile of makeup smeared cotton can go in the washing machine after instead of the bin!
2. Buy sustainable products
During a recent pop-in to Paperchase, their new eco friendly range caught my eye. They’ve used recycled coffee cups and sugar cane to make notebooks and pens, and I picked up the cutest little colourful jotter and gel pen pack (which write like an absolute dream!) and there’s not even a price hike for their effort – they were in much the same price range as usual. It’s my new motto to try and support brands where I see them attempting to be more sustainable. If they see sales, they’ll see that creating sustainable products is worth investing in and hopefully continue.
3. Get excited about recycling
If you’re adulting like me, you’ll probably know the feeling of dread when you’ve finally got yourself comfy and settled on the sofa in your PJs before it dawns on you that your recycling boxes need to be left out. At least I hope you know that feeling, because recycling is super important. For a flat of two people, we compile a considerably large amount of recycling in a week – I’d say it probably at least equals or sometimes outweighs the general rubbish we bin. But despite that, we’re the only flat in our building that actually seem to make active use of the recycling boxes – which is a bit disappointing, tbh. Admittedly, I’m a bit weird in that I get weirdly excited by sorting out my recycling, but it’s essential, purely because like I said, the amount that could be going dumped in a landfill rather than be somewhat salvaged is insane, even just for two fairly small people. Get your recycling hats on, everybody, please!
4. shop single use plastic free
Ah, the single use plastic challenge in Tesco, my favourite game. I’ve taken to actively avoiding anything that’s needlessly packaged, if I can, purely to protest against Tescos. I’m sure they’ve noticed. Not. But, like I said, small differences matter and hopefully by pestering the big men at the top enough, we can get to a place where things aren’t randomly wrapped in plastic for no apparent reason. Bananas in plastic bags are my biggest pet peeve, and even if all those available loose are a deep shade of green, I’ll now pick them up anyway out of pure stubbornness. Hopefully soon, all their fruit and veg will come loose – and I’ll finally be able to shop for a single person!
5. Be carrier bag conscious
This one is so small and silly that I almost feel stupid including it, but it’s one of the ones we might take for granted most. Since the plastic bag charge was enforced here, it’s become a little bit of a nuisance to have to tack on 5p to every purchase you make. But I sometimes happily do so, just out of convenience and laziness, tbh. Until the mountain of Tesco bags for life in my sitting room threatened to drown me. I’ve recently been making a real conscious effort to make a habit out of bringing a bag with me. Sure, I feel a little bit like a middle aged bag lady when I’m pulling out my crinkled up Tesco tote at the till, but it saves a little bit of spare cash and also saves the planet. Imagine all the spare bags you have floating around your house, floating around a landfill site a hundred years from now. Not so convenient then, right?
If you’ve any top tips on how to increase my sustainability, please do let me know in the comments, and keep an eye out for some future posts on this that I have in the pipeline!
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Thanks for reading!