Top Tips for Being More Sustainable in 2021
How is it nearly February already? 2020 felt like a year and half but also felt like 3 months at the same time. I remember going into lockdown in March and stupidly thinking it would all be over by July. I remember the days working from home in the sunshine and those lovely long queues into the supermarket. I cannot remember the last time I sat in a pub or hugged a friend! As we say goodbye to 2020 and start a new year, thinking about what I would like to achieve this year is always on my mind. Last year I had a few goals but if I'm honest I have forgotten what they were. I did launch The Plastic Free Life though so I have a lot of things to be thankful for. My goal this year is simply, to be more sustainable.
So how can you be more sustainable? I like to think I live a sustainable lifestyle but there is always room for improvements. I like to believe that we can all make small changes to the way we live or how we think in order to be more sustainable. We will be the first generation to see the effects of global warming and the last generation who can do something about it. These scary facts really help put into focus that even just making a few changes and being imperfectly sustainable will still make a huge difference. If you are looking to make a few eco-friendly swaps or are an eco warrior who is looking for a few more tips then you have come to the right place.
I do not do living sustainably, perfectly, I still create waste and have found this even more so during lockdown. (anyone else feel the same?) but I have grown over the last couple of years and by talking to such an amazing community of people on social media I have found some great tips to being a bit more sustainable.
1. Get in the habit of taking a reusable water bottle everywhere you go.
I love my Neon Kactus water bottle and I think it has really helped me increase my water intake. It wasn't easy at first, I used to always forget to take it out with me and would have to buy a bottle of water but practice makes perfect and now I always remember to take that and my coffee cup every time I leave the house.
Composting is a great sustainable way to reduce waste going to landfill whilst also giving your garden added nutrients. check out our blog post what to compost here. I have a tiny front garden but I have found my compost bin to come in handy for my grass clippings, cardboard waste and another food waste.
3. Repair over throwing away
I remember having a conversation with my nan about how life used to be years ago when they were younger. If ever anything broke, whether it was clothing or a TV, it was always repaired, never thrown away. In the age of convenience buying and over consumption it can sometimes be easier and cheaper to buy new rather than try and repair but wherever you can, always try and repair. There are so many places that can repair tech or clothing if you can't do it yourself. If you cant get it fixed, opt for a safe and sustainable way to recycle it.
4. Bulk buy where possible to save money, carbon footprint and packaging
5. Meal plan to reduce food waste
This little trick has come in so handy for me to reduce my food waste. Setting yourself a meal plan means you only buy the food you need for that week. As I live on my own I have to be really careful with what food I buy as if I buy too much it could go off and end up in landfill.
6. Reuse, reuse, reuse
Being more sustainable isn't just about making swaps and buying new eco-friendly, plastic free products. its also about getting the most out of what you already have and finding other uses from some products. I have learn't so many good eco hacks around reusing products which I never knew about before I started my instagram page. I love this about the instagram community, as it is so helpful when trying to be more sustainable. As well as investing in reusable products once you have used up any old disposables, try some of these great eco tips by reusing:
- Reuse Banana skins for plant food by popping them in water for a week
- Reuse used tea bags by mixing the tea leaves with water to create plant food as plants loves tannin which is found in tea.
- Reuse old jars like the Georganics toothpaste jars for herbs & spices
- Reuse old worn towels for cleaning and dust rags
- Reuse the skins on lemon to remove tea stains from mugs
- Reuse wrapping paper or gift bags to reduce waste
- Reuse pasta water for watering the plants as they like starch
7. Always have a reusable bag in your handbag or your car.
This is another one which can sometimes need a few attempts to get into a regular habit. I have found that keeping a reusable bag in my car boot always helps me when I'm out and about. I usually carry a backpack with me anyway which always comes in handy if I end up in the supermarket. A small cotton tote bag is also great for keeping in your bag too.
8. Know what to Recycle
Recycling is a great way to reduce waste to landfill, however it can be confusing on what we can actually recycle and what can be recycled through your council. It is important to know that there are guidelines on the condition of how some items need to be in order to be recycled. For example cardboard should not have any plastic tape and be clean and not greasy (this means most pizza boxes wont be recycled and will end up contaminating the rest of the recycling) here are a few of my tips for recycling:
- Keep foil and scrunch together in one big ball so it's easier to recycle, also ensure this is clean.
- Recycle razor blades by popping in a aluminium tin
- For greasy cardboard, cut out the clean parts to be recycled and put the greasy cardboard in a compost bin or in the normal bin.
- Check your local council website to see what will be accepted and also what other local recycling facilities are available near you.
9. Look at what food you can easily buy packaging free and plan recipes around these.
Being completely plastic free when it comes to food can be tricky, packaging free food can be more expensive and I have found this to be the case with rice and pasta. I love to go to my local refill shop to get as much plastic free food as I can. I have found a number of products that are as cheap as buying them in plastic packaging such as herbs & spices, Nuts and Oats. I also find fruit and vegetables to be easily available with no packaging so I try to buy as much as this as i can in my weekly shop. I started to base my meals around the foods I could get available loose and this has really helped me reduce my food waste and my plastic waste. I always share my low waste dishes on my blog so check them out.
10. Switch to reusable products to save waste and money
Since I started making switches to more sustainable products, finding products that were reusable were high up on my list. Reusable products are amazing because they reduce your waste to landfill and they save you money. My favourite reusable products have to be my menstrual cup, my safety razor and my makeup wipes. I have saved so much money by investing in these and diverted a lot of waste going to landfill.
Being more sustainable can be difficult at times and it is definitely a slow process. It can be hard to not feel guilty when you create waste but I always think that any small changes are still changes and they can still make a difference. I would love to hear about any of your sustainable goals for this year in the comments below.
All the best