For the past year or so, I have been trying to go ‘green’ and it has been a journey of ups and downs. The world of zero-waste and environmentally friendly things can be really intimidating, especially at the start.
I have been trying a bunch of different ‘green’ solutions, with varying degrees of success. I hope that my trial and error helps you on your green journey!
Obviously, any change that helps you create a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle is great, this is just what has worked for me.
1) Bamboo toothbrushes– This was meant to be a green alternative to the conventional plastic toothbrush, which will usually end up in a landfill. I was really excited about this product, and I don’t know if I got a faulty product or something, but this sucked. The bristles fall out in your mouth and you end up spitting out bristles every time you use it. I think with some more product development this will be an amazing alternative.
2) Swapping out pods for normal coffee when making coffee at home– First off, coffee is expensive, and coffee machines are expensive, and I am in a privileged position to have the choice of one. We used to have a coffee pod machine, with individual servings of coffee in the little plastic pods, and it was okay, but it was a lot of unnecessary plastic waste (I know they are recyclable). We recently recycled the old pod machine and bought a machine that just used coffee, not the pods (the old school ones where you tamp it) and it’s so much better! Not only does the coffee taste much better, but when the coffee grounds are mixed with coconut oil and sugar, makes a really good body scrub! (its cheap as well)
3) Make my own green cleaning products– Conventional cleaning products can be harmful to the planet so I wanted to try other alternatives. This one has been hit and miss, sometimes it has worked, and sometimes it hasn’t, and I don’t know if it’s the recipes I used, or how I made them. There are plenty of recipes to try, and I would recommend having a go!
4) Buying from bulk stores with your own containers– Supermarkets often package everything in plastic to adhere to packaging/use by date laws. If you have the time to prepare and travel, I definitely recommend this one! It ends up being cheaper, its a lot of fun to pick your own produce and get the exact right amount, and its an overall better and more mindful experience than just grabbing what you need from the supermarket on the way home from work. But it’s not as convenient as the supermarket, and you have to plan for it I would definitely recommend this one!
5) Plant your own herb garden – This is one of the easiest and prettiest tips I have on this list, herbs are pretty cheap to buy and they grow fast and without much help, and its fun to just grab what you need from your own garden. The only thing is you need the space to actually grow the herbs (it’s not a lot of space, but it’s still a consideration) and the initial purchase of all the things you need, but in the long run, it is cheaper than buying individual helpings of what you need.
6) Stopped using disposable bags– This one is actually pretty easy, where I live in Australia, they are phasing out plastic bags anyway, so it’s easy to just keep a little reusable bag in my handbag so I don’t really have to worry about it.
7) Having re-usable coffee cups/water bottles– This is another really easy one, it means you can always see what coffee is yours, and you always have water, the only downside is that if you don’t clean out keep cups regularly they get super gross. But a mix of baking soda and really hot water gets the smell and the stains out of keep cups.
8) Make your own products where you can– This one is pretty broad, and it can either be really fun or an absolute disaster. My boyfriend and I started making our own candles to try and save some money/resources (because paying $60 for a candle is a garbage move) and that’s gone really well. Other things we have tried to make, have not gone so well. This one is a great way to experiment and be creative.
9) Get all your bills emailed to you instead of paper– This is an obvious one because it means there is less paper, and its easier to pay online anyway.
10) Using a diva cup instead of pads and stuff– This is a gross one, I’m so sorry, but this one didn’t work for me at all. This one, despite being the most environmentally sound option, I have friends who love this one, so it is definitely up to personal preference!
11) Drastically cut down on fast fashion– If you’re like me, and you love clothes and fashion, this can be a tough transition. But fast fashion is really bad for the environment and human rights. I tried to go cold turkey, and not buy any clothes for three months, which forced me to drastically cut down my clothes consumption and now much time I spent in shops, so when I wanted to look at clothes, I would force myself to do something else. But it can be a tough idea to deprogram because consumerism is everywhere, so I found it tough to learn, but in the long run, it is rewarding.
12) Repurpose stuff –This is a really great way to be creative with the crap in your house, and I am still learning to do all of this stuff, but it has been a great experience so far!
13) Try not to use the air con too much – Good for wallet, bad for emotions.
14) Using beeswax paper instead of glad wrap – Honestly, beeswax wrap is initially more expensive than glad wrap (or plastic wrap), but its totally worth it! It keeps your food nice, is pretty and can be reused. So its great, if you want to spend your hard, earned money on beeswax wrap.
15) Carrying bamboo utensils instead of using disposable cutlery – This is great! It comes in a little bag and it’s really easy to clean and does not take up much space at all! It’s pretty cheap and helps you to cut down on the amount of useless plastic in your day to day life.
16) Vote Green – Using a reusable water bottle is a great start, but by voting (or running!) for candidates who support environmental protection policies, you’re putting your personal values into political action!
17) Walk where you can – I don’t know about you, but I would rather walk 10km than catch a bus, so walking has been great for me. I have gotten to see a lot more of the city I live in, fit in exercise and feel more comfortable where I live.
What are other ways you have tried to go green?
Let me know!