It is a common misconception that living sustainably is expensive and requires major lifestyle modifications. The truth is that it is not difficult or expensive to be eco-friendly, it just takes a little thought.
There are many easy and affordable everyday swaps which will make a difference to your overall environmental impact which I have listed below.
Sustainable toiletry swaps
Single use deodorant
Sustainable and refillable deodorant
A zero-waste deodorant simply doesn’t exist, but you can buy deodorants which are encased in refillable packaging and contain only natural ingredients. I recently switched to Wild deodorant which allows customers to choose a reusable stylish case and compostable refill scent.
Disposable sanitary products
Menstrual cups & reusable sanitary products
The average woman uses 240 tampons in a year, and about 16800 tampons in her lifetime. That is a lot of unnecessary waste! With a simple switch to a menstrual cup or period pants, you can not only cut back on your environmental impact but save money too.
Cotton pads and face wipes
Washable face pads
Reusable face pads are an eco-friendly and cost-saving alternative to disposable cotton pads and face wipes which contribute to a huge volume of wasted produced by the beauty industry. Most reusable pads can be thrown in the washing machine in between uses and will last you up to 1,000 washes.
Liquid soap pumps
Naked bar soaps
The problem with liquid soaps is the amount of plastic that they are packaged in. Go bare and find a bar soap that is free from packaging and packed full of natural ingredients. Buying package free also allows you to test the scent of the soap before you buy.
Sustainable swaps for your home
Cling-film and aluminium foil
Reusable food wraps
Reusable food wraps are 100% cotton coated in plant-based wax, tree resin and jojoba oil. You can use these to cover pre-prepared food in the same way that you would use cling-film and aluminium foil. The warmth from your hands is enough soften the wraps so that they stick in place and they are easily cleaned with a dishcloth and soapy water.
Paper tea bags are full of toxins, pesticides and dioxins which isn’t great for your immune system, not to mention they are bleached with chlorine and made of non-biodegradable materials. Invest in a stainless-steel tea ball or strainer and make the switch to loose tea.
Kitchen roll is a so-called kitchen staple; it’s undeniably very useful but also very wasteful. Go kitchen roll-less with a set of tea towels which can be easily tossed in the washing machine once used.
Silicone baking matts
Waxed greaseproof paper consists of paraffin and is derived from petroleum, which isn’t great for the digestive system. Silicone baking matts are a very safe solution because the composition of silicone remains contained when it is heated and cooled. They are inherently non-stick and can be reused thousands of times.
Bottled cleaning products
Refillable cleaning products
There are many companies which now offer customers the opportunity to purchase a refillable cleaning spray bottle or detergent container and subsequently order a recyclable pouch of cleaning product when they run out. This new way of buying home cleaning essentials means that plastic waste is a thing of the past.
So many recyclables will end up in landfill because of how they are mindlessly thrown away. Educate yourself on what can be recycled in your area along with the best practices for recycling.
Sustainable swaps for your wardrobe
New fast fashion
I am a massive advocate for second-hand clothing and actively promote thrifting across my social media platforms. The fast fashion industry is corrupt. FACT. Which is why it is so important to move away from the Highstreet and start visiting your local charity shops and vintage boutiques. I will warn you though, thrifting does become addictive.
Mindless shopping can lead to overspending on unsustainable fast-fashion items that are likely to sit at the back of your wardrobe with the tags still intact for multiple years. A great way to save the planet and some money is to be intentional with your purchases and be happier with less.
Shopping for a special occasion
Renting for a special occasion
Instead of purchasing an overly expensive outfit for a special occasion that you are likely to only wear once, it has become increasingly more popular to rent an ensemble.
Sustainable swaps for when you are on the go
Single use coffee cups
Reusable coffee cups
Single use coffee cups are not recyclable because of their wax coating and almost all of them are incinerated, exported, or sent to landfill. Bring your own cup when visiting your favourite café and help cut down on this needless waste. Some coffee shops also offer their customers a small discount for bringing their own cup. I personally would not be without my KeepCup.
Replace the plastic straw with a reusable stainless steel or bamboo one which you can discretely keep in your bag. If you are worried about washing them; never fear! They often come with a cleaning brush to help keep your straws squeaky clean.
Plastic shopping bag
Reusable shopping bag
Plastic bags are made using oil, which is already such a limited resource, and for something that is used for 20minutes on average, it takes hundreds of years to decompose. I never leave the house without one of my hessian shopping bags, just in case I make a spontaneous purchase. If you do forget your reusable shopping bag, be sure to insist on a paper bag or cardboard box that can be properly recycled.
Tap water in a reusable bottle
Plastic water bottles make up a significant portion of our domestic waste and so stainless steel or glass water bottles are a must have for everyone’s university backpack. STOP BUYING BOTTLED WATER!