Where “eco” stands for both ecological and economical, as the things we’re talking about are good for both the environment and your wallet at the same time.
Living sustainably doesn’t need to be hard, nor expensive. In some cases, it can even be cheaper. But it’s always good. For the planet, for your children, for yourself, for your conscience. It means caring about the future and lives of ours and others.
We’re not offering radical measures here, changing lifestyle or food preferences. The ideas we’re listing are personally tested and easy to implement. Everything you’ll find in the article can be done super easily, without any additional effort. If you’re lazy, like me, that’s the way you can minimize the impact on the planet and handle it to the next generation in a not too bad shape.
Why bother at all?
Huge territories are turning into garbage sites, poisoning the ground and water, there are garbage islands and even continents in our oceans, the biggest of which, The Great Pacific garbage patch, is 3 times bigger than the territory of France. Whales and other (also almost extinct) animals, birds and fish eat plastic and, having full stomachs, die from hunger. People eat fish and consume microplastic with it.
What can I do?
More and more countries and people start sorting garbage and recycling what can be recycled.
Though even in the countries where recycling is well organized, there are a lot of people who don’t care and dump everything in one bin.
From our own experience, sorting doesn’t require much effort, especially when the containers are near your home and you can dispose of the things easily. In Eastern Europe, for example, waste sorting is in its early stages of development. And even there there are people who sort their trash, wash and store it for some time before bringing it to a recycling station/pick up point.
There are people who pick up a zero waste lifestyle which deserves admiration but not everyone is ready for such a commitment. It’s definitely not easy at all, especially in the world run by consumerism. But even if you don’t go zero waste, you can always try for lower waste. Read on for easy lower waste ideas.
Plastic never decomposes – it only breaks down into microplastic and stays with us forever.
Take your own bag and containers for your groceries, buy products in glass or carton, reuse the bags and packaging where you can. Fruit, vegetables, even bread can be carried home in reusable containers.
Change from liquid to solid – liquid needs to be stored in plastic bottles.
Everybody knows about solid soap. But how about solid shampoo, conditioner, soap bars?Imagine how much plastic you can avoid if use these instead of liquid ones in hard plastic bottles. And you know what? They’re even better than their liquid peers you find in supermarkets. They don’t contain cancerogenic elements found in most commercial brands. They also last longer and leave your hair shiny and soft. You can take them easily on a plane.
Consider powder detergent instead of a liquid one.
Even better – soap berries/nuts. They are natural, good for the skin and wash as well as any other detergent. With them you also reduce chemical impact.
Brushes – there are bamboo/ wooden alternatives to the plastic ones.
Clothes contribute a lot to pollution. Almost all modern fabrics have synthetic ingredients, which means that clothes shed microplastic with every wash and don’t decompose for long when disposed.
What can be done? Buy less, buy clothes made of natural fabrics, and only what you really like and what will spark joy when you wear it. You can buy used clothes, and give away/ use in household those you don’t wear anymore.
Say no to disposable tableware:
- Take your own tumbler for a coffe-to-go. Some cafes (like Starbucks) give you a discount for your own cup.
- Use metal/ wooden cutlery, it doesn’t take much space in your bag.
- Use a refillable water bottle instead of buying a new one every time you feel thirsty.
- Say no to straw. If you cannot, take your reusable straw with you.
There are metal, silicone and even glass straws out there.
Made of medical silicone, this wonderful invention is a more hygienic alternative to tampons and pads, it saves not only the Earth but also costs (one cup can be used for 10 years) and is better for your health. Plus, you never run out of supply.
- Take a bike or public transport,
- Buy local produce – at local markets (like Botemarkt or Grotemarkt in Haarlem) or even at a nearby farm and mill.
Smokers, please, do cigarette butts into bins. They make a big portion of toxic waste which pollutes the Earth and water.
Where to buy necessities with lowest imprint?
Search for a zero waste shop near you (like Oodles and Pinches in the Netherlands).
Buy local to reduce emissions during transporting (think of local food markets).
If not you, then who? Start the change, be the change and the rest will follow. Or not, but at least a tiny bit of this world will be better. Because of you. If we don’t act, now, our children will be living and swimming in waste, eating and drinking products filled with plastic.
Do you have anything to ask or add? You are welcome to comment under this post.