For years now we’ve been telling each other we need to save our planet, but what changes have we made to our everyday lives that actually make a difference. As the years go on and the need to save the planet before the point of no return becomes more urgent I’ve been looking at my own lifestyle and the things I could change to help make my life more “Eco-Friendly” besides the obvious act of recycling.
It has been proven over the last couple of decades that the rate that we as a species eat meat and the effect the meat industry has on the planet and our bodies is a pretty worrying one. From the greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation to make more accessible land for livestock, excess water usage and pollution and that’s before you take into consideration the often poor living conditions the animals themselves face.
As the years go on vegetarian and veganism have become more mainstream with many opting for a meat free or animal product free diet to help tackle our species excessive consumption of livestock products. Plant based milks are regularly advertised on the telly along with meatless products by Quorn and Linda McCartney just to name a few. Menu’s in restaurants have become more inclusive with many experimenting with their alternative diet options and although I have not adjusted to any of these dietary choices strictly, I have increased the amount of meat free meals I consume. I find myself regularly opting for meat free mince for my Bolognese or Lasagne and having Quorn sausages with my fry up on the weekend (I don’t like bacon so don’t have that anyway). I even made a mushroom, spinach and stilton wellington as a vegetarian roast for mine and Ben’s families back at the beginning of the year.
Although there is still a stigma towards those who have fully given up the meat industry, I feel there is still a great lesson to be shared when it comes to having a fully varied diet, without feeling the need to label yourself as a “Flexitarian”, which is a rant in itself for another day. If we all do our bit in reducing the amount of livestock products we consume it will decrease the supply to demand thus helping to better balance our planet.
2. Buying Second Hand
Did you know that the fashion industry is the third largest polluter in the world? From the ridiculous amount of water it uses to the dyes and other chemicals that are used on fabrics that get dumped back into local rivers. The over picking of cotton along with just the sheer waste of fast fashion with many wearing an item for a single day before dumping it at charity shops or even landfill. I was completely ignorant to all of this until last year when I watched a BBC documentary in which the wonderful Stacey Dooley went around the world investigating and highlighting the issues that the industry had on the planet. I quickly became ashamed of my own shopping habits and vowed to do better.
From vintage and charity shops to online apps and websites such as Depop, Shpock and of course Ebay, its easier than ever to shop for second hand clothes. I already relish having a completely unique wardrobe and shopping second hand only adds to my one of a kind unique collection and don’t even get me started on the cost effectiveness of it all. I’ve been able to find items I lusted over a few years back for less than half the price of the original product and have even found designer items for a fraction of their high end price. By buying second hand I am helping to lower the rate of discarded items and if more people did this it would help reduce the amount that companies supply in the first place. If you have a bad shopping habit I strongly urge you to watch some documentaries and attempt to shop second hand more instead of brand new. If we all made each other aware and did our bit we could make a huge difference.
3. Alternative Period Products
Periods. They are unavoidable, I’m sure if the option was out there to give them up completely many would. I cant even begin to imagine how many sanitary products get made everyday let alone used and then discarded. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people complaining about the taxes on these products too or watched adverts on TV talking about period poverty. If only there was an alternative solution that was better for your body, your bank account and the planet… oh wait there is.
Although the menstrual cup has been around since the 1920s I only heard about it for the first time 3 years ago. A small silicone cup, that will last you up to 10 years, only costing you an average of £20 and that you can leave in without any worries about toxic shock or needing to change it every few hours because you only really need to empty every 12. It was a dream come true. Yes it can be slightly gross to change it but once you get over it, it can be oddly exciting and satisfying, like squeezing out a black head. I bought mine three years ago and I can’t even begin to fathom how much money it has saved me or how many tampons I would have used otherwise, not to mention I never have to worry about not having enough. Once you’re period is over all you have to do is sterilise it in boiling water then pop it back into its little baggy and its good to go in a few weeks time when the mean reds resurface their ugly head again.
The one time cost also helps when it comes to period poverty. There’s no need to worry about having enough money to pay for products every time your period comes around. With the cheapest cup on the market being a mere £12 and the more expensive at about £25 there is no more need for there to be period poverty. I can’t wait for the day I get to buy my future children theirs and I encourage my friends to get one whenever the conversation arises. So if you menstruate I urge you to get one and try it out and if you’re too scared about popping a little cup up there or it doesn’t work out for you I still encourage you to look into other reusable period products such as reusable underwear and leggings and so much more. Your bank account and planet will thank you.
4. Less packaging.
Lastly I want to talk about plastic. Uhhhg its the bane of our existence. Until more recently you couldn’t buy anything without it coming in the horrible non biodegradable material. Thankfully due to the 5p plastic bag charge that came into effect almost a whole 5 years ago now, the amount of single use plastic out there is dropping. You can even get “Naked” bath products easily.
Lush have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to natural cosmetics but what would be the point in their products if their packaging didn’t reflect that too. Although their pots have always been recycled plastic and I love the fact you can get free items for returning those pots to be used again, over the last few years they’ve been able to reduce their packaging even more by creating products like shower, shampoo and conditioner bars that don’t use any plastic packaging at all! Although Lush items may be expensive I’d rather spend my money on their products and reduce the amount of plastic I’m accumulating and the amount of artificial compounds that go into other companies products. As well as their lack of packaging they are continuously creating new biodegradable packaging. I was stunned and surprised when my online order arrived and I found out the packing peanuts in the box can be disintegrated in water. Also they don’t test on animals which is a win win in my book.
So there are just a few of the changes I have made in my life so far to help save the planet. There are some many other things I can do to help and I hope over the next few years I can incorporate them into my lifestyle too. Like with anything, if we continue to educate ourselves and others and all do our bit we can help change the world.
Let me know what changes you have made to help the planet in the comments or any other planet saving suggestions.