If you ever wondered how to be more eco friendly don’t worry ! You’re definitely not alone 🌿
My ethical awareness started with watching youtube videos about thrifting, sewing projects, diy ideas… there’s a lot of inspo online ! But even if you want to change things it’s hard to decide what to adjust first, so I’ll tell you how I started and maybe that’ll inspire you 😊
GENERATE LESS WASTE
Let’s start with the obvious ones, first : recycling. You know that it’s good to recycle and that there are different bins for different things, but you might overestimate how good you actually are at it (I know I did). It turns out that there were some things that I didn’t know could be recycled like metal cans. Look online for the recycling directions in your city to check if you’re doing the right thing !
And the second thing to do to generate less waste : swapping single use items for reusable ones. If it’s something that you’ll have to change at some point like a toothbrush, swap the plastic for eco friendly materials. This is one of the basics of sustainability, the less you throw away the better.
BUY IN BULK
More and more stores have a bulk section, where you can buy dry food products with no wrapping. You come with your own bags or containers and fill them up directly. You can find a large range of dry products there such as beans, rice, pasta, lentils, dry fruits, nuts, cookies, cereal,… and even household goods sometimes, the choice is huge !
Less wrapping means less energy used to recycle it, and less waste if it can’t be recycled. Look if you have this option where you live, you could be surprised to find a place you didn’t even know was there.
BUY MORE LOCAL
I started to watch where my food and general purchases came from, from best to worst : products from my city, products from my area, products from my country, products from my continent, and I try to stop there whenever I can. The best is to buy from local farmers or artisans, since they need the support to face the big brands.
You also have to check the origin of certain types of food, such as soy; personally I consume tofu, soy milk… and since the huge majority of soy comes from Asia, you have to look for where the brand provides itself. For example I know that the french brand SOY grows their own soy in France, so I’ll only buy soy products from them. Obviously it all depends on where you live, If you’re in Asia there’s clearly no harm in consuming your local soy 💁🏼♀️
To succeed at being more eco friendly you have to start asking yourself the right questions : where does my food grow ? Where were my clothes sewn ? Where is my furniture made ?
REDUCE YOUR MEAT CONSUMPTION
This might not be common knowledge for everyone, but the industry of meat is actually bad for the environment. Here’s a link from wikipedia that explains this way better than I ever would, but basically the amount of resources and the methods used to produce meat are a major driver of climate change.
I know it’s hard to just cut off meat from your diet when it’s such a big part of your culinary culture, I do still eat some myself. But even a small step is a step forward, start with simply reducing your consumption. If you eat meat everyday, have a no meat day once a week ! If you already eat less meat, try to make vegetarian swaps more often ! You can even become a flexitarian. When starting to be more eco friendly, It’s easier to go forward if you go at your own pace.
SAY NO TO FAST FASHION
In all honesty, I was apprehensive about this idea. I blog about fashion, I love trends and the creativity that comes with putting an outfit together. I like vintage but I don’t necessarily have a vintage style, so I was reluctant to do only thrifting or second hand, and the slow fashion brands are often expensive. But I realized that you could find tons of different styles of secondhand clothes, and now It’s been a year and a half since I bought anything from fast fashion !
Why is fast fashion bad ? They almost always produce their clothes in countries very far away such as China, India… where the fabrication process is highly pollutant for the locals. They transport the clothes by plane, so their carbon footprint is high, and they produce MASSIVE amounts of clothes that they end up either throwing away or literally burning (looking at you H&M 👀) even though they’re new. And as if that wasn’t enough, their workers are exploited, underpaid, and maybe even underage.
The brands that I’m talking about are not some shady unknown hidden sellers, they’re H&M, Zara, Mango, Uniqlo… brands that everyone buys from. A great way to start reducing your fast fashion purchases, is to look for the same or a very similar piece in thrift stores or secondhand online shops !
When buying new, I prioritize slow fashion or ethical brands. Buying new things per se isn’t “bad”, but the thing is that, first : it’s mostly expensive as I said before, and second : there are so many things that have already been made, why not use those already existing items ?
In fashion this is particularly true, secondhand apps such as Vinted or Depop are FULL of inexpensive clothes and accessories, and thrift stores are an amazing and very cheap option too. The outfit above for example is 100% thrifted. Here’s my own Vinted account for those who might be interested 😌
MAKE MORE THINGS YOURSELF
Making things yourself is awesome because you know what’s in it, you know where the components came from, there’s no useless additional wrapping, and you know who made it ! Making things yourself gives you more control over some aspects, that you don’t have when buying from brands.
For example I like sewing so I make pouches, bulk bags, reusable kitchen towels, and even some clothes if I can. I also started making my own cosmetics and cleaning products, like soap and dish washer tablets.
Making things yourself also turns out to be so much cheaper and fun than buying things, it’s a win-win situation ! Check out the DIY category if you’re looking for ideas ✨
And that’s everything that I challenged myself to do when I started to be more eco friendly !
But of course I’m not perfect, I still have a smartphone, I use a computer, I travel by plane (when there isn’t a pandemic), sometimes I order a Coke Zero, or buy over wrapped industrial cookies. In the end it’s not about performance, it’s about changing small things little by little and going forward from there. So don’t try to do everything at once, just pick one thing first and when you’re comfortable and used to it, pick another one !
I’ll conclude with this quote that I really like by Jana Stanfield :
“I cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good that I can do” 🌍