In trying to lead a less wasteful life, I’ve begun to assess my day to day routine, to see if there are areas in which I can improve in terms of how much waste I produce. Changing certain habits can be difficult, and a lot of the time I feel like the zero waste ideal is almost unattainable for me. It’s hard to imagine myself living a life where, for example, I don’t buy any packaged food, or can fit my rubbish from the month (or year, even!) into a mason jar. For now, I’m looking at tweaks to my routine that I can make with relative ease, and I thought I’d share those ideas with you today.
I like to have coffee pretty soon after waking up, and the long commute into work seems like the perfect time to do that. But, instead of purchasing my morning fuel in a disposable cup which is difficult to recycle, I hand my KeepCup over to the barista. Investing in a reusable coffee cup has been the best change I’ve made on my eco-friendly journey, and the response to it has been really encouraging. Just the other day, I received my coffee for free in Pret (this is a lovely little initiative they run), with the barista commenting that it was the least they could do to thank me for caring about the environment. I’d love to see reusable cups become totally mainstream, with big companies offering discounts and incentives to customers.
If you’re looking to save money, bringing your own lunch into work is a great option. I don’t do this nearly as often as I should, mainly because my freezer isn’t big enough for me to do meal prep, and I end up with unexpected evening plans and too little time left to cook. On the days where I’m buying my lunch, I’ve been trying to be increasingly mindful of the packaging that the food I purchase comes in. Part of this has been to eat in wherever possible, as this saves on environmentally-unfriendly take away packaging, which is usually made of plastic or styrofoam. Sitting in at my favourite Vietnamese place, for a delicious vegan meal and some alone time with my Kindle, has become one of the highlights of my working week.
The cosmetics industry sure can encourage a lot of waste; in this case, I’m thinking specifically about makeup removal products like face wipes and disposable cotton pads. Until very recently, I’d go through one face wipe a day and at least 2 cotton pads, which go straight into landfill. I’m feeling a lot better about my makeup removal routine now that I’ve switched completely to reusable cloths and pads; not only are they less wasteful, they’re also kinder to my skin. My face cloths are from Liz Earle and The Body Shop, and my makeup pads are from Honour Your Flow. Both can be thrown into your weekly wash or hand washed.
The zero waste movement may feel idealistic at times, but there are things you can do on a more manageable scale to make a daily difference. These 3 simple switches have minimal impact on your lifestyle or budget, and are a great way to lessen your impact on the planet.
How are you lessening your environmental impact?