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Easy ways to be eco-friendly

Megan Wilkins

Contributor

Anyone wanting to change their life for the better, while helping to protect the planet for future generations, should be looking into how they can be more eco-friendly. Many people shudder at the thought of having to change their lifestyle, but the fact is that we all need to do our part to help save the beautiful planet that we call home. Thankfully, there are new and exciting ways to incorporate more eco-conscious habits and behaviours into your everyday life and travels, without compromising on luxury or comfort.

Reduce the use of single-use plastics

For anyone wanting to decrease their consumption rate, the first and easiest place to start is to reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use in your daily life. We are all familiar by now with the ‘ban the straw’ movement. However, saying no to straws is only the beginning. Plastics that come from water bottles, plastic kitchen wrap, and takeaway coffee cups are just as bad, and in some cases, even worse. There are, thankfully, easy ways to ditch these offenders for more sustainable alternatives. 

In the case of water bottles and coffee cups, there are a whole host of chic, reusable options available out there. Often, your favourite coffee shop will have their own branded reusable cups for sale, making it easier than ever to find the perfect one. For the days where you just don’t feel like washing your reusable cup, consider purchasing compostable cups, which can be added to your compost when you’re finished, or thrown into the recycling without the worry that they will sit in a landfill for generations. In terms of plastic kitchen wrap, some very clever people have developed reusable alternatives that work like an absolute dream, and add some much-needed glamour to your leftovers. Known as cloth, bee, or wax wraps, these eco-friendly food sealers are made from pieces of fun-coloured cloth that are dipped in either vegan wax or beeswax, which are both antibacterial and antimicrobial - keeping your food fresh and looking fabulous.  

Shop locally sourced, wherever possible

Another easy way to reduce your carbon footprint is to source and shop locally when and where you can. Food that is grown by local farmers does not need to travel as far, which results in much less fuel used to get your goodies to your kitchen. A bonus to supporting local farmers is the fact that your food is fresh and always in season. Local farmers are always happy to give the best recipes for preparing their delicious produce. When dining out, rather go with restaurants that also source locally, as the chefs will have a deeper connection with where their food is coming from, making sure that you have the best possible meal every time. Skincare, homeware, and fashion can all be sourced locally too, which helps to grow the small businesses that need it the most. Supporting local does more than decrease your carbon footprint. It also keeps the wealth within the local economy. It provides business owners with an income, helping to support their families and their communities. Buying local helps to send young kids to ballet lessons, or raises money for single parents. Small changes can have momentous results. 

Shop vintage and repurpose or up-cycle pre-loved items

No matter your fashion preferences, vintage items are an absolute must in any wardrobe. There is something supremely elegant about the way garments were made in the past, and now, owning them can mean that you are doing your part to save the planet. Vintage furniture is making a comeback, and being ahead of the trend is the best way to ensure that you find the best pieces before they are gone. Spend your weekends scouring antique shops and village markets and you will be amazed by the hidden gems you stumble upon. Sometimes, when you find a gorgeous piece that you simply can’t live without, you’ll need to give it a little love before it finds a place in your home. Or, if you already have a long-time favourite that is a little worse for wear, you may need to put in a little extra effort to make it shine again. Up-cycling old furniture and clothing is easy to do and often sees the most incredible results. It gives you a truly unique item that can’t be purchased anywhere else, ensuring that your taste and style will be the talk of the town. 

Keep your meat to veg ratio 70/30 or go 100% vegan

Speaking honestly, the best way to reduce your impact on the planet is to go vegan. A plant-based diet has been shown to radically reduce individual carbon use, and increase sustainability. If you are vegan or want to switch to a plant-based diet, you should be looking at eating locally grown foods and using plant-based milk that do not require too much water to make, such as oat milk. For those who will simply miss eating meat far too much, or who cannot be vegan for health reasons, you should consider changing your diet to 70/30. This means that you will eat vegan or vegetarian for 70% of your week, allowing you to eat meat and animal products for 30% of your week. This small change has a great impact on your carbon footprint but still allows you a little leeway. If you are eating meat, you should consider changing to locally sourced, or better yet, game meat. 

Forego fast-fashion for sustainable luxury brands

Fast-fashion is one of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gasses. The rate at which mainstream clothing is made is unsustainable, and the working conditions of the people who make these items are simply inhumane. If you care at all about changing the world, you should be removing fast-fashion brands from your go-to shopping list. But don’t despair, more and more luxury fashion houses are coming on board with the idea that recycled fabrics and local production are better and more sustainable. Fashion brands like Stella McCartney, Ninety Percent, and von Holzhausen are leading the way forward and it’s only a matter of time before others follow.

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