6 THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEY
Deciding to live a more sustainable life is great, but staring at the journey ahead of you can be quite daunting – this doesn’t mean it has to be though! Making a switch and making just small changes, can have a BIG impact.
So here are a few things to remember about your journey, to help you along the way.
1. It Doesn’t Have to be ‘Instagram Worthy’
I will admit, I love the idea of having matching Kilner jars, net shopping bags and buying all of my food as sustainably as possible and being zero-waste. But in reality, this isn’t practical and cost effective at the start of your sustainability journey. It can be cheaper and easier to use what you have at home in your cupboards already! Glass food jars have become my best friend throughout my journey; they are perfect! Not only are they made to store food, but they can stack, come in various sizes and are essentially free! They may not all match and could take a few months to accumulate enough for leftovers, but they are the perfect zero-waste choice to begin your journey. We all reuse our shopping bags as well right? They may look horrible after a while but if they still work, why spend money on something else when it’s not needed yet? I had to keep reminding myself that it’s not a competition and I won’t get extra points for having the ‘Instagram Worthy’ shopping bags. Once I realised that, it seemed a lot more ‘doable’.
2. Cheaper is Often Better
Often, in my experience, it can be cheaper to buy fruit and veg plastic-free and by weight (I am fortunate that I have a local market style fruit and veg store near me, but I have also found that it can be cheaper in supermarkets). If you are fortunate to have a zero-waste shop near you and, they are getting more popular so more are popping up, it can be cheaper to buy these foods in bulk. Actually, even if the products are in plastic, buying bulk uses less packaging and can work out cheaper in some cases.
3. Local Shops and Markets are the Places to Look For
Independent grocery shops and retailers can be a great place to shop sustainably. Smaller companies or just independent shops, tend to sell within a smaller niche than a supermarket, as expected. This can be a hidden gem for those looking to shop sustainably; there may be shops dedicated to being plastic free, zero-waste, vegan, palm oil free, all natural, second-hand or recyclable – the list goes on. These shops are becoming more common and, due to the increase in the number of households looking to live sustainably, are only going to increase more! So next time you’re thinking of any products you need to purchase or groceries you need, see what independent shops are around you, there may be one you’re after.
4. Things Can Have More Than One Use
If you have the time, doing some research on natural products and what products other people have switched out, can be really useful. When we are sold a product, it’s sold with one particulate use. But who’s to say that we have to use it for that use? Or if we can use it for more than that use? A lot of products can be used for more than what they are sold for and that it great! After finding out makeup wipes are mainly plastic, I decided that they were a no from then on, but I needed something else. Then I came across some really soft cloths for babies, which I could use as a face cloth, especially as it was soft to use around my eyes – not to mention the one off payment which would save me money in the long run! There are lots that we can use when they are no longer needed for their initial use. This is extreme, but my mum made fruit and veg bags out of the netting of her wedding dress! They didn’t cost anything and gave a new life to her dress, instead of it staying in storage – extreme, but perfect! Another is what we can use to clean; vinegar, lemon and baking soda can all be used to clean surfaces effectively. What’s better, is that they are natural, cheaper and you don’t need as much (just a spray bottle!).
5. You’ll Probably get Frustrated
This isn’t the most positive of things to remember, but it is honest. There are so many things about sustainability that need to change and need to change quickly; you and I know this, it’s why we’ve made the decision to make more sustainable choices. The problem is, it isn’t the ‘norm’. There will be times that may make you question what you’re doing, like when buying four tins of beans separately at a higher cost than four in plastic wrap (but seriously, WHY is this a thing?), but it does get better. Once you pass the initial stage of wondering why anything and everything seems to be in plastic, it’s easier to make more sustainable changes; almost like you’ve moved past the frustration and now just really want to make a change.
6. Small Change = Big Impact
This is such a common phrase, but small changes really do make big impacts, especially if more people are doing it! If you switch from shampoo bottles to shampoo bars, on average you would be saving 8 plastic bottles from being produced every year and after 10 years, that makes 80. This is a small and really easy switch which anyone can do. Imagine if half of the world’s population did this? That’s 300 billion plastic bottles. Yes half of the population may seem unlikely, but that just shows that making even the smallest of changes, really CAN make a BIG difference!