Home LifestyleSustainability 4 Ways to Easily Reduce Your Impact on the Planet

4 Ways to Easily Reduce Your Impact on the Planet

by Courtney
4 Ways to Easily Reduce Your Impact on the Planet

There’s no doubt that 2018 is the year of the conscious consumer. Everywhere you look, there’s a new café eliminating plastic straws, and the major Australian supermarkets have now committed to getting rid of single-use plastic bags. When I order my coffee every morning, I am starting to see more and more reusable cups being used by others. It is truly wonderful and inspiring to see these changes all around me.

That being said, there’s still a long way to go.

If you’ve ever been curious about how you can become a more conscious consumer, then I’ve got you covered. Here are 5 easy ways that YOU can reduce your impact on the planet:

 


 1. EAT LESS ANIMAL PRODUCTS

The first one, to me, is a no-brainer. When it comes to veganism, there are three reasons why people stop consuming animal products – for the animals (duh), for their health, and for the environment. For me, it was a combination of all three reasons that led me to commit to a vegan lifestyle, although to be perfectly honest, the animals led the charge for sure! With further research, I discovered that the planet needed veganism just as much as the animals do…

Here are some very interesting facts about animal agriculture care of Cowspiracy.com:

  • A plant-based diet cuts your carbon footprint in half.
  • Livestock and their by-products contribute more global greenhouse gas emissions than all transport, including road, rail, air & marine, combined. COMBINED!
  • Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution & habitat destruction.
  • 110 animal and insect species are lost EVERY DAY from rainforest destruction. 
  • The meat and dairy industry uses 1/3 of Earth’s fresh water. Considering that humans in general only use 1% of the available fresh water on the planet, that’s a pretty terrifying statistic.
  • The amount of water required to produce just ONE hamburger is equivalent to a human showering non-stop for TWO MONTHS (!!)

Making the switch to plant-based foods instead of animal products is by far the single easiest way to reduce your impact on the planet. Our planet simply CANNOT sustain a future where humans continue to eat the way they do. Eventually in the future, in order for the planet and ourselves to survive, every human being will need to eat a plant-based diet. Why not start now?

Learn more about veganism and a plant-based diet here. I’d also highly recommend watching Cowspiracy (available on Netflix).


 

 
 
 
 
 
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 2. CUT DOWN YOUR PLASTIC WASTE 

Let me start with this – reducing plastic waste is hard. Like, really hard. There’s plastic everywhere, and it can be really hard to avoid. Your toothbrush? Made of plastic. The packaging your fettucine comes in? Plastic. The containers from your last UberEATS order? Definitely plastic.

But, like all things, you’ve just got to do what you can to try and reduce your own impact. Start with the easy stuff, like getting a reusable cup for your morning coffee, and taking your own bags to the supermarket. You can also:

I understand that making ALL the above changes can be tough, which is why I suggest you start small. When you try to make small, gradual changes over time, rather than one big drastic change all at once, you have a much better chance of success.


 

 
 
 
 
 
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3. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

This is another obvious one – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE! This has been drummed into us since the beginning of time, yet there are still so many people who do not bother.

REDUCE

It is not difficult to change your purchasing behaviour to reduce the amount of waste you create. Think about going to the supermarket… yes, they’ve gotten rid of single-use plastic bags at the checkout but there is still an abundance of plastic being used in store in the fruit and veggie aisle, as well as other packaging. 

It will probably be a while before the supermarkets make the changes required to get rid of plastic completely, so in the meantime, we need to step up and show them we don’t want to buy anything that is using an excessive amount of plastic packaging. My blood actually begins to boil when I see someone put one or two apples in a small plastic produce bag. Seriously, people?

Just put the apples in your trolley. Or, if that doesn’t work for you, purchase reusable produce bags and keep them in your car so you never forget to take them. Avoid purchasing items that have layers of plastic and buy them at bulk wholefoods stores, like the Source Bulk Foods, instead.


 

 
 
 
 
 
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 REUSE

If I find myself in a situation where I need to buy a bottle of water, I can assure you that if I am buying something made of plastic, it will not be used just once. I have two large plastic drink bottles in my house, and I have had them for longer than is probably healthy, but I refuse to throw them out yet because I want to make sure I get good mileage out of them!

There are plenty of ways you can reuse items that would ordinarily be considered waste. For example, I LOVE candles. When I was a kid, I had a bedroom floor covered in wax from always having so many candles lit at once all the time. These days, when I finish a candle, I always scrape out the leftover wax from the bottom of the jar and leave out on the back table for the succulent fairy*.

When I come back the next day, the jar is miraculously filled with soil and a new succulent – it’s like magic! It’s so much better than buying a new jar or container for my succulents and increasing my waste output to the world.

*The succulent fairy is named Karen and is also Scott’s mum.


 

 
 
 
 
 
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RECYCLE

Ahh, recycling. Such a great concept, yet such a difficult one to manage. You see, recycling isn’t as simple as putting cardboard, glass or plastic in the yellow bin.

Did you know that you can’t put an empty wine bottle in the yellow bin with a lid still on it? Or that pizza boxes need to be completely removed of leftover food before it can go in? Although, let’s be honest, who leaves any pizza behind?

Different plastics are processed differently, so if you leave a lid on a bottle which is a different plastic, it can disrupt the recycling process. If you’re sitting there going, “WHAT? Why don’t I know this?” then you’d have the same reaction as me! It is all a learning curve, but the more you know, the easier it gets. Learn more about different ways to recycle here.

Also, even if the world was perfect in their recycling habits, there is still another issue – buying products made from recycled materials. Yes, it is all well and good that we recycle, but if we don’t support the industry further by purchasing items made from recycled materials, then it really is all for nothing.

Just because something has been made from recycled materials doesn’t mean it is lesser quality than a product that wasn’t.

Some of my favourite brands that use recycled and sustainable materials when making their products:

  • Pela Case – These guys make 100% compostable phone cases. The company also donates a percentage of each sale to different environmental initiatives around the world – how good is that?
  • Adidas x Parley – Each shoe made by this collaboration was created by using around 11 plastic bottles that were intercepted before ending up in our oceans. Apparently, Adidas has a goal to phase recycled plastics into all of their shoes by 2020!
  • Tigerlily Swimwear – This fashion giant has a stunning collection of swimwear made from 100% regenerated materials. The best part? You wouldn’t even know it!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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4. GIVE BACK TO OTHERS

Have you ever seen a council pick up on your street? Piles and piles of perfectly good junk just headed for the tip? Most of the time, people who throw out their junk for council pick up are just too lazy to donate the items to a second-hand store or op shop. Yes, sometimes people throw out stuff that is definitely unable to be used again but the majority of what I see in my local area is perfectly good items going to waste.

So, next time you’re moving to a new house or need to declutter, have a real think about what you can do with the stuff you no longer want. It really isn’t that difficult to load up your car and take your unwanted furniture, clothes, crockery, and general knick-knacks to a second-hand store or op shop! Remember – one man’s junk is another man’s treasure!


 

 
 
 
 
 
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There you have it – 4 ways to easily reduce your impact on the planet. Can you think of any other ways? Tell me in the comments!

2 comments

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2 comments

The Evolista July 4, 2019 - 11:48 am

This is a great article! I try to be mindful of some of the things your mentioned here but my biggest takeaway is to try harder and do more. Thanks for all the ideas.

Best,
Jenifer

Reply
Courtney July 4, 2019 - 12:25 pm

Hi Jenifer, thank you so much for reading! I’m so glad that is your takeaway, but please also remember that everyone is limited by their own individual circumstances and you can only do as much as you can! So don’t worry about what you aren’t doing or if you aren’t doing enough, but focus on what you ARE doing and celebrate the little wins 🙂 Have a lovely day!

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