We are currently consuming natural resources 1.7 times faster than the planet can regenerate them. The message is clear: something has to change. But while most people are in favour of greener policies - from charging for plastic bags to banning microbeads in cosmetics - many of us don't know where to start making changes. With that in mind, here we've put together some simple alternatives you can easily do to reduce your environmental footprint.
Swap packaged fruit and vegetables for bulk produce
A simple way to reduce plastic use is to buy bulk products, such as fruit and vegetables, instead of packaged ones. Remember the next time you go to the farmer's market, your local grocery store or the supermarket to take cotton or even recycled bags with you.
Swap the plastic bag for a reusable shopping bag
A plastic bag takes about 500 years to break down and as it does, it releases plastic particles that contaminate soil and waterways and enter the food web. So they end up on our plates! What's more, they cost us money now! Trade it in for a sturdy multi-purpose bag.
Replace the plastic film with reusable wipes
Disposable plastic wrap is a handy kitchen tool but unfortunately it is very harmful to the environment as it is not recyclable. Fortunately, there is now a green alternative for wrapping food - waxed wipes. Made from organic cotton, beeswax and jojoba or hemp oil, this wrap will last up to a year and once its life is over? Throw it in the compost bin!
Replace disposable coffee cups with a reusable coffee cup
We love coffee! Let's enjoy our coffee without harming the environment. Even paper coffee cups have been treated with plastic lining so that they are not recycled and end up in the trash. Say no to the disposable plastic cup and get a reusable coffee cup. Some coffee shops will even offer you a discount for using your own cup. A double win!
Replace your capsule coffee maker with one without!
It's so hard to recycle capsules even if they're aluminum (which most are plastic) that it's better to get a capsule-less coffee maker. The options are endless, the benefit all the greater!
Use tea strainers or infusers instead of tea bags
We like tea too! The vast majority of consumers use tea bags which are not recycled because they too have been treated with plastic to make them durable enough. Try organic tea bags without plastic or brew your tea with a strainer or infuser. Perfect solution for the environment, tea with better taste (according to experts).
Replace plastic storage containers with glass containers
While plastic containers are reusable, they will eventually need to be replaced. Instead of storing even more plastic, consider investing in some glass storage containers. A set of quality glass storage containers could last forever with proper care.
Use environmentally friendly cleaners
Research has shown that regular exposure to harsh cleaning products increases the chances of allergic reactions. You could make your own cleaning products (but make sure they're safe) or for an easier alternative, simply buy eco-friendly cleaners. More and more companies are realising consumer interest in this direction and so are designing and producing products that are both effective and safe for the environment and animals.
Replace liquid soap with a soap bar
Why buy your soap in plastic packaging when you don't need it? Soap bars are now widely available. Cleanliness with a zero environmental footprint!
And for the end we left a favorite change:
Swap cut flowers for real plants
A bouquet is indeed a nice romantic gesture but it takes so much energy to produce, transport in plastic packaging and keep in the fridge until it reaches us that it's better to take a whole plant and grow it. Not only do we help the planet but we also improve the atmosphere of our home as houseplants remove air pollutants.