My first eco-friendly swaps
So you want to save the planet! I mean you are ready. You see it in the news, in your social media feeds, you may even have a few friends who talk about it none stop. All of this has made you ready to take the first step and do your share.
But where to start?
The reality is that you can start wherever you want. Any change is a step in the right direction. However, the same feed that gave you great posts for awareness, also showed you how they can put a year's worth of waste in a tiny mason jar.
Ok, maybe not a whole year, but you know what I mean. It can be overwhelming. It seems like such a big task that we sometimes give up even before we start. It makes us feel that if we are not doing it perfectly, we may as well not do it.
Another issue you may encounter is your living arrangements. Some changes will impact a whole household and if you live with family or flatmates you may not be able to control all aspects and that mason jar of waste becomes a giant garbage bag.
Well, I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be overwhelming. I started with small swaps that I could control and I then added small things one at a time. You too can try these swaps, incorporate them into your lifestyle and start to make a difference.
Here are some of the changes I did initially that set me on the path to living an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Use a reusable water bottle
Say you want to stay hydrated and are buying a bottle of water a day. Just you in a year will use 365 bottles. And if you follow the guidelines of how much water to drink in a day you might be doubling or tripling that number. The solution is a reusable water bottle, that you can carry to work, to school or wherever your day takes you.
Carry your coffee cup
The second most important beverage of the day after water is? You guessed it coffee or for some of you tea. But these hot beverage cups have the same impact as the water bottle. If I am honest, I probably used more disposable coffee cups in my life than water bottles. I would get a coffee when driving, walking, riding the train, waiting on something or someone and so on. By switching to a reusable coffee cup you can still enjoy your coffee without adding to the problem. I currently have a reusable cup at the office and one at home for the days that I am out and about but away from work.
Another one of my earlier swaps was my cellphone case. I now see a few different options around but a few years ago when I found a biodegradable cellphone case I was excited. I ordered it online and was not sure what to expect. However, it is one of my favourite cell phone cases ever. I have since switched cellphones but I still use a case from the same company.
Use reusable straws
Switching your plastic straws to a reusable straw is another easy swap you can do. I switched to stainless steel a couple of years back. Nowadays you can find different options such as glass, silicone or stainless steel. These will last you a long time and can be washed and reused multiple times.
Use your lunch box
You go to work or school every day and you need to eat. If you don't want to spend a small fortune eating out you probably pack some sort of lunch. Well, instead of carrying a brown paper bag or using plastic sandwich bags invest in a container for your lunch. It can be a fancy bento box or a simple glass container but these options reduce your lunchtime waste.
Bring your shopping bag
Whether you have a tote bag or a reusable shopping bag, carrying them with you will not only be a step towards being eco-friendly but will save you money. Get yourself a bag that is small enough to carry in your backpack or handbag and whenever you pop into the shops you will have a bag for your purchases. It will also save you money as you will not be paying for a bag at the shops.
In the end, these swaps go with the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle way of life. Most of these swaps will help you reduce your waste because you are reusing everyday items. And if you can't reduce and reuse, check if the item can be recycled. The key is to avoid single use items. So go ahead and give these a try if you aren't doing them already and you will be on the path to making a change.