Steps Towards Sustainability – 8 Tips On How To Go Greener

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have seen various articles over the past months, or even years, about how we’re slowly ruining our planet, be it due to eating meat, air travel or otherwise. Alongside this, there always seem to be a drastic lifestyle change / call to action to go alongside it and for the average person, it can be pretty damn hard to simply turn your life around overnight; not to mention expensive. Due to this, I thought I’d share some of the small changes I’ve gradually started to incorporate into my daily routine in the hope that you might be able to find a few helpful and consider picking up yourself.

1. Re-usable Coffee Cups

Like a true Brit, I do enjoy a good cup of tea (or coffee when appropriate) and as I’m sure you know it’s an opinion shared by many, meaning that I can be caught unaware and offered one when I’m out and about. Having a coffee cup on me means that I can happily take it out my bag and use it instead of its plastic alternative and can enjoy a coffee guilt free.

My re-usable cup of choice is a Keep Cup and was given to me as a present by my relatives. I love it and it does exactly what I need it to – hold my tea/coffee when I’m out and about, however if you’re looking for one that you can then put in your bag or for it to keep hot for longer then I’d recommend you to go for another brand. Treat it just as you would a standard single-use coffee cup.

2. Plastic Tupperware

Alongside re-usable coffee cups I often find it helpful to have plastic tupperware on me. It’s not an immediate thought, I must say, but I do find it better to put my lunch in tupperware and save a plastic bag and in addition, it nicely prevents my sandwich from getting squished, which I’m never going to be against.

3. Water Bottles

I always, and I mean always, have a water bottle on me (unless it’s one of the rare circumstances in which I forget, but we’ll ignore those). For one, I’m one who likes to keep hydrated throughout the day, as no one likes those pesky headaches, and it means that when I’m out for the whole day I don’t have to buy a drink when I’m out, especially as summer is fast approaching and the days are steadily becoming warmer.

4. Eating Greener

Now, this is one of the points which I’m currently more aspiring towards, than actually achieving, but it’s definitely one of the most important ones. I’m sure you’ve heard of all the damage that eating meat is doing to the environment and, if you’re anything like me, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place regarding the whole situation – the rock being your environmental conscience, the hard place, the taste of meat and dairy. As someone who’s half Chinese, food plays into culture quite a lot and whilst most dishes aren’t particularly meat heavy, there is a tendency for it feature in the majority, even if it’s just to add flavour or it’s one of the many ingredients in a dumpling and for me, if I cut out meat, it’d mean be cutting out a lot of the food I love.

So, instead of completely removing meat out of my diet, I’m trying to cut down my intake as doing a little bit will always be better than doing nothing at all.

5. Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives

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Similar to meat, milk doesn’t have the best effect on the environment to say the least so an easy and rather nice way to combat this is to use milk alternatives. My personal favourite is oat milk as I think it has a more creamy texture and overall nice flavour, however there’s also almond, coconut, soy and various others. My go-to brand, if you need a recommendation, is Oatly and whilst I’ve only tried the original, I’ve been informed by a friend that their chocolate milk is particularly good if that’s more your drift. A lot of these milk alternatives come in “barista editions” which allows for frothing and steaming of the milk if you like to make your coffee using a machine at home, so it doesn’t reduce your enjoyment of the drink.

6. Public Transport

For someone living in London, there’s not many excuses to not take public transport as it’s pretty much on everyone’s doorstep, from the iconic red London buses to the tube (and the tram system which I’ve never seen in my life). Public transport allows you to reduce your CO2 emission and often can be cheaper than driving / taking a taxi and is especially useful for when you’re travelling alone. Of course, this is highly dependent on where you live, as I know that other cities and areas have even more expensive or ineffective systems or not at all, but then again, it’s about doing what you can.

7. Thrifting Clothes

Thrifting is great for multiple reasons:

  1. it allows you to get stylish new additions for your wardrobe
  2. often these are clothes that your friends won’t have so your don’t need to worry about copying someone’s closet
  3. they’re often cheaper than your average store and you can snag high quality (expesive) brands
  4. you get to do all of this without endorsing fast fashion

Along these lines is also buying into sustainable brands or your local independent stores, buying pieces that may be slightly more expensive but will last a lot longer. Whilst I must admit I tend to shop in your typical high street stores with the occasional thrift, I do my best to not engage in fads or trends and instead buy clothes that I know (or at least hope) I’ll still be into and wearing several years down the line. Of course, the obvious best course of action is not buy new clothes at all, however I’m sure we all find that to be slightly unrealistic so instead, let’s minimise that to as guilt-free as possible.

8. Biodegradable Glitter

Festival season is coming up, much to my excitement and an integral part of festival-wear is glitter (although I’m not sure it counts as ‘wear’). I discovered biodegradable glitter last year when I went to an academic festival and there was a stall doing face glitter utilising it to fit in with the festival’s sustainability theme. What’s great is that it’s not much more expensive than the usual face glitter and does that exact same thing but in an eco-friendly fashion. For those in the UK, the one I used and can personally vouch for is linked here, however I do know that it’s offered by other companies so you should be able to find an alternative in your country.

 

There concludes my tips for trying to incorporate more green habits into your lifestyle. Let me know if there’s any that you already follow or want to start in the comments , I’d love to hear from you!

Cover Photo by Alec Krivec on Unsplash

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I applaud you for this post!! I believe that if everyone does their part and would simply cut back on just one thing, it would make a huge difference. A big thing I have gotten into recently is taking my own reusable vegetable bags to the shops instead of buying countless of fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic. The food industry has such a problem when it comes to plastic and I am glad that more and more are starting to pay attention to it.