When it comes to leading a more environmentally friendly life, it's easy to get overwhelmed at the thought of undergoing a complete lifestyle revamp. However, sometimes just making small, everyday changes in your routine or simple switches in your daily habits add up to ultimately reduce your carbon footprint and leave the earth a little better off.
This blog post will discuss 10 simple switches that require very little time, effort or money but accumulate to make a BIG difference in the long run.
It's all about baby steps, so feel free to pick and choose which switches work best for you and your household. And lastly, try not to put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect! It's not about being the best, it's just about striving to be that little bit better.
Good luck! <3
1. Go Easy On Plastic
Ditching plastic is like breaking an addiction. The stuff is everywhere, and although we know it's bad, we seem to not be able to give it up so easily. If plastic is unavoidable at this stage in our lives, could we approach the issue with an open mindset, thinking: “what plastic items could I easily swap for something more environmentally friendly”.
A fun and helpful practice to start ditching unnecessary plastic is a household audit (kid-friendly too!). Basically meaning having a look at what you’re chucking away and asking yourself the following questions:
You should find that much of the plastic items your household uses could either be replaced with a more sustainable option, recycled or removed from your life altogether!
Examples of simple plastic switches could be swapping your plastic zip locks for a reusable and compostable bag, such as compostic. Or, even bring a reusable tote or string bags to the supermarket for your loose fruit and veg, rather than using the so-called recyclable bags provided there.
2. Swap Chewing Gum For Mints
Surprisingly, chewing gum is 25-30% plastic! The ingredient listed as ‘gum-base’, which gives the gum its chewiness, is a mix of plastic and various chemicals such as polyethene which is the plastic found in plastic bags and bottles.
Meaning that chewing gum takes around 5-1000 years to decompose - YIKES. Switching to mints is the easiest way to give the planet a little love.
3. Make Your Own Cleaning Spray
This switch sounds SO much more difficult than it is! If you aren't aware already, you will be shocked at how easy it is to make your own reusable kitchen or window sprays.
Why are store-bought sprays an issue you may ask? Well, aside from many households buying cleaning products and then chucking the plastic bottles in the trash after, the harmful chemicals used in these products can have serious effects on the environment. Thousands of these chemicals from cleaning products run from our homes, into streams and rivers and ultimately contribute to water pollution.
So why not make our own? Especially when the steps are this simple:
DIY Kitchen Spray
Step 1) Grab an empty spray bottle (you could either buy a glass spray bottle or even just use one from a past cleaning product).
Step 2) Add one cup of distilled white vinegar
Step 3) Add one cup of water
Step 4) Add 3 drops of tea tree oil
Step 5) Add 3 drops of essential oil of your choosing (this is just for a nice aroma)
AND THAT’S LITERALLY IT.
Does that work? YES! it works perfectly, just as well as any kitchen spray you would purchase at the supermarket - you have to trust us on this one!
If you're not blown away yet, wait until you see how easy it is to make window cleaner…
DIY Window Cleaner
Step 1) Grab an empty spray bottle (again, you could either buy a glass spray bottle or even just use one from a past cleaning product).
Step 2) Add ¼ cup of distilled white vinegar
Step 3) Add ½ a teaspoon of liquid dish soap
Step 4) Dilute the solution with two cups of water
Step 5) Shake it (like a polaroid picture) to combine the ingredients.
Come on, give it a go! And since none of the ingredients are toxic, you can even make it a kid-friendly activity… and turn chores into a fun game for them too!
4. Reduce Your Use Of Bug Sprays & Repellants
Much like cleaning sprays, bug sprays and repellents are packed with harmful chemicals. Alongside this, although bugs can be a massive drag to have in the house, they’re actually super important for the ecosystem. Whether they are pollinating or mixing nutrients in the soil, it’s pretty vital for us to keep them around!
The best way to prevent pests in your household is to keep your kitchen crumb-free and seal any holes in the walls or cracks in the foundation in the first place. And if you still do require pest control, opt for greener methods or home remedies first (essential oils and lemon do wonders!)
5. Grow Your Own Herbs
Herbs often come in packaging that cannot be reused or recycled, so why create extra waste - especially when growing herbs couldn't be easier and often even taste more flavourful!
And, growing your own herb garden will save pennies in the long run, as you won't have to add them to your shopping list! Even if you don't have room for a garden, herbs such as mint, dill, coriander, thyme, rosemary, chives and sage can all be grown in pots on the windowsill.
And if you are using a Bokashi or interior compost, use the juice your organic waste creates to strengthen them.. And just watch them go wild!
Lunch salad pimped in a second!
6. Invest In A Compost Bin
At Compostic, we wholeheartedly believe composting is the future of waste management.
Think about all the organic waste that goes into your rubbish bin, from coffee grounds to food scraps, hair & fur to cardboard and leaves. When organic waste sits in bags in the landfill, it breaks down anaerobically, meaning without access to oxygen. This isn't good as this process produces greenhouse gases (mainly methane), which contribute to global warming.
Composting, however, is simply the BEST way to make the most out of your organic waste. Not only does it reduce our reliance on landfills, but you can also use it liberally throughout your garden to enrich your soil and help your plants grow!
If this all sounds like something that you would be interested in, but you are wondering where to start - we have you covered! Below are our top tips for starting your own compost!
And don’t forget composting is not only for the lucky garden owners! Investigate Bokashi options or check out these geniuses at @getlomi to make the most of your scraps, straight in your kitchen!
7. Meal Plan To Reduce Waste
Rather than pulling up to the supermarket and picking up whatever tickles your fancy right then and there, try to plan your meals beforehand.
This avoids any rotten veg at the back of the fridge or ordering takeout in plastic containers halfway through the week when you run out of food - or imagination!
It doesn’t need to be a detailed fancy meal plan, just a basic understanding of what you realistically need and will eat is likely to help you avoid extra waste.
8. Reduce Your Pet's Carbon Footprint
If you’re shopping for pet food, the first thing you can do is do your bit by researching companies that prioritise sustainability.
Also, looking into companies like @washbar.nz for eco alternatives to dog wash is another way to reduce waste - and better for your pup too!
Lastly, when it comes to poop, using compostable collection bags avoids plastic manufacturing in the first place, even if it ends up in landfill… for now!
9. Donate, Dont Toss
Donating clothing reduces waste and prevents greenhouse gas emissions from clothing that would alternatively sit in a landfill.
Why not give your goods a second life with someone who will appreciate them? When doing a closet clean-out, take your pre-loved goodies down to your local thrift store or donation drop site. Even doing clothes swaps or borrowing with friends and family are great ways to ensure that your clothing gets the best use possible!
10. Try Eating Plant-Based
We hear you, it’s not about turning vegan!
Even switching a couple of meat focus meals with veg each week has a MASSIVE positive effect on the planet.
I’m sure you have heard that meat, red meat in particular, accounts for 60% of all greenhouse gas emissions from food production. This is due to both the methane that cows produce and the destruction of forests as they are converted to cattle grazing land. Switching to even just a couple of plant-based meals a week will help significantly reduce your household’s carbon emissions.
Yummy recipes that the whole fam will love, this way! => https://www.delish.com/cooking/g1486/healthy-vegetarian-dinner-recipes/
We hope you have found these tips helpful and that this blog inspired you to think more critically about ways you can make your household that little bit greener!
If you have any further tips, feel free to come on down to our Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/compostic.co/) and share them with us! We love hearing from our community and learning new simple switches that we can implement into our homes, to give some loving back to mother earth!