Updated 8th Feb 2019.
Are you struggling with making sustainable lifestyle choices? Are you frustrated with the inefficient systems around you?
Well, I have been very frustrated. And let me begin by saying that my lifestyle choices are not the most eco and sustainable, yet. Nonetheless, I do believe that the little I do does make a small difference. I also believe that you should believe too!
From a young age, I practised and understood the concepts of waste separation and recycling at home. I was brought up with a deep sense of care and love for the natural environment. An environmental-warrior and teacher, Ms Maggie Borg, especially instilled this in me.
Well, our impact on our Earth is more than complicated than recycling! By implementing simple conscious lifestyle practices we can minimise the negative impact. My aim is to live as part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Can you see yourself as part of the bigger picture?
That one straw in your drink contributes to 25m tonnes of plastic waste in Europe alone. Across the world, plastics make up 85% of beach litter according to a recent article published by the Guardian.
And what about that leftover food you’re throwing out? This is gold for your garden!
Now, do you see the bigger picture you are part of?
How can I make an eco-difference?
Living in a city that, generally speaking, has little environment conscious has been very tough for me. This frustration has driven me to take small proactive measures that can be adopted wherever you live.
1. Invest in reusable shopping bags.
I have a collection of reusable shopping bags that my husband and I take with us to buy our groceries. We avoid buying vegetables and fruit from the main supermarkets as these are always packed in plastic. Luckily, a number of small vegetable markets are present close by to our home; however, vendors continually try to pack our vegetables in plastic bags. Every time this involves a conversation about why they shouldn’t pack in plastic and should encourage their regular shoppers to bring their own bags. Baby steps…
2. Source organic toiletries and sustainable packaging.
Last month, I sent for recycling 5 pieces of plastic toiletries and detergent bottles, which were accumulated over a couple of months. Nowadays amazing organic brands are becoming more widely available that are producing organic shampoo bars, conditioner bars, as well as soap bars and other toiletry items. I admit when travelling these are not ideal and I’m still to find an effective eco-friendly soapbox! Yet just this action alone is eliminating a lot of those unwanted shampoo and shower gel bottles that quickly accumulate.
Find organic solutions with bio-degradable packaging that you can also add to compost waste. I became more aware of this impact when I was living in a rural village in Nepal; you can visibly see all your waste product going into the crops. Similarly, this is very real for me when taking a shower on the boat, or camping in a camping site without facilities.
3. OR Make Your Own
Making your own soaps and detergents has become so easy and there is so much accessible information and DIY recipes. If you’re anything like me, my first reaction would be, “no way, no time for this!” Well, I said that, and I was wrong. I was challenged to make my own soaps and scrubs, and I love them! I then began to make my own home natural cleaning detergents and I have not looked back.
4. Use a water bottle
Refill your water bottle from home and keep this with you throughout the day. Having a water bottle with you also reminds you to drink more often keeping you hydrated during the day! Avoid buying plastic bottles of water and if you really have to then be mindful where you dispose of them. If you have a recycling collection system in your city take the bottle back home, re-use it for a while and discard of it properly.
5. Transform your organic waste
Where is your organic waste going? This is gold for the soil! Our family keep a few chickens in our home, therefore a lot of our vegetable scraps and grains are fed to them. Further, we keep a small container next to our regular bin and sink to dispose of organic waste. When it’s full we transfer this waste to our compost bin. The compost bin should be sealed and have a little opening at the bottom. Mix it up with garden waste like dried leaves and you’ll soon be producing your own healthy organic compost for your plants! We add a little of the chicken poop too and share this with our neighbours who grow their own vegetables.
6. Seek recyclers in your town
Luckily in the last year, ‘Doko Recyclers’ emerged in Kathmandu. They collect all recyclable waste including paper, plastic, glass, metals and e-waste. They sort and send to recycling plants accordingly. This has made our life so much easier; nonetheless, the objective is to reduce the waste, to begin with, and work towards a zero-waste household.
Do you think zero waste is possible? Well, it is possible if you are determined and much easier to implement when you’re in control; living with others takes time, patience, and lots of reminders. So do not give up! Whilst there are many other simple things you can do like ditch join the #banplasticstraws movement, or turn off the water heater when you don’t need it… these 5 tips are relatively simple yet very impactful.
I’m writing this blog post to motivate others and remind you that your contribution need not seem impossible. Your small daily actions count.
My intention is not to shame, but to motivate; nobody is perfect and we are all at different lifestyle stages. I’m learning so much from ‘sustainable friends and gurus’ at the moment. It’s their constant reminders that have pushed me to write this post. Too many times I hear “what difference can I make?” What’s this one straw going to do?”
Wherever you are in your sustainable journey, consistent efforts in NOT contributing to the grave situation are the best thing you can do.
Be part of the solution, not the problem.
What are you struggling with on the sustainability and eco-living front? I’d love to share and learn from the community on this topic. Get in touch or comment below.
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