I’m willing to bet my life I’m not the only one of us who watched that episode of Blue Planet and suddenly became very very very embarrassingly aware how much unnecessary waste I produce. And I’ll be honest, until said episode of Blue Planet, waste and the environment wasn’t something I ever gave much mental space to or, as awful as it is to admit, really cared about.
I mean ‘care’ in the sense that I was indifferent, not in the actively-trying-to-fuck-up-the-planet-because-I’m-a-terrible-person sense. Give me some credit.
But in watching how we as a species are singlehandedly destroying the planet we inhabit, it dawned on me just how much of a role my indifference plays. Every single bottle of water I buy when out and about, every plastic bag of onions at the supermarket affects things. Every straw, every coffee cup, every micro bead.
And no, I’m not going to transform my household into one that produces zero waste and only shops at charity shops, but I wanted to do something, even just a tiny little bit, because if we all make even a few changes that’s got to be enormous as a collective, right?
Here are the ways in which I’m trying to reduce my consumption…
I bought a reusable water bottle
I’m not one for buying bottled water on the daily, it’s free from the tap after all, but I will admit I’d become quite partial to picking up a 750ml evian if ever I was out and about for the day. I didn’t want to pay 20 odd quid for a branded bottle if I didn’t like it, so picked up this amazon version for £8 and it’s fab! It keeps my water freezing cold, I’m keeping on top of my water intake, I always have a drink to hand on the train/in the car/around the office, and it stops me spending money/wasting plastic with bottled water.
I’ve stopped buying books
This is actually one I did a while back, after I realised my reading lamp was disturbing Danny’s sleep so I downloaded the kindle app. It’s not the best way to read I’ll admit, there really is nothing quite like physically turning over the last page of a book, but it’s a method I can get on board with. I don’t have books cluttering up my house anymore, feeling too guilty on the money spent on them to throw them away. I’m contributing to less wasted paper (because not once in my life have I ever recycled a book, even though I could technically), and the books are generally a bit cheaper in the first place too. Now to save up for a proper kindle, my ipad battery isn’t cut out for the book life.
I’ve stopped buying takeaway coffee
This might have more to do with the nespresso machine at work (we recycle all our pods properly) than a sudden aversion to a morning caffeine hit, and also has a lot to do with trying to be a bit more “mindful” and in the moment. I’ve stopped grabbing coffees to carry while dodging other commuters on the walk to the office, and started making a point of sitting down and enjoying the coffee as I scan my to-do list and create a plan of attack. I’ve started taking the time to sit in the coffee shop and watch the world go by as I sip my drink. And for those truly desperate ‘I need coffee NOW’ 8am moments, I’ve started taking my reusable ceramic coffee cup in with me, now I’ve got over the awkwardness of it blatantly saying Starbucks on it when I’m visiting a Nero or Costa. Some chains even give you money off the drink, although tbh I try never to pay too much attention to the price as it makes me want to weep a little considering I usually spill it anyway.
Buying loose fruits/veggies
Where possible, I’m making an effort to buy loose fruits and veg. The pre-bagged ones can be seemingly cheaper, but I often found the food inside was smaller than the loose version, meaning my recipes usually weren’t oniony/peppery/garlicky enough and I often wasted food because I didn’t get through the whole bag before they started to go off. It’s not something that can be done for everything in the supermarket (buying more locally is something I’m trying to work on!) but even just a few swaps will make a difference to the amount of plastic being consumed – which should in turn mean supermarkets listen and eventually everything that can be loose, will be.
Those are a few small changes I’ve been making that really don’t affect my lifestyle, they’re super simple and easy, and no, they probably won’t change the world but they’re sure as hell a good place to start!