Everyone has pet peeves, but one of mine is when people don’t recycle. I’ve been flatting for 5 years now, and everyone has their own habits. However, in one of my experiences the household would put all their empty wine, beer, shampoo, conditioner, soap bottles, paper, cardboard, fruit tins as well as milk and juice cartons straight into the rubbish bin. Growing up, both my parents recycled and still do, and it’s something I’ve always done. I find it’s a good habit, and it’s one of those things that really tick me if people don’t care about recycling, because we all contribute to the environment.
No one is perfect, but I really do think there are some simple tips that we can live by, in order to be a bit more eco-friendly. In the past, I worked at an organic beauty and skincare company, and I’m currently working for another organic company now. What I love about the company is that they aim to have products that use minimal packaging. It’s great to support brands that strive for a better world, are natural and ethical. I think it’s also good to make a decision to eat less meat. We live in a consumer society where we are constantly told to buy, but the best value is to buy things that are good quality and will last a long time.
1) Drink from your own reusable water bottle. Buying bottled water can really add up, and we are very blessed to walk a few steps to have water come straight out of the tap. If you have a flask for warm and hot beverages, as well as a drink bottle for cool water, you’ll never go back. They are very convenient and are easy to fill up and carry around.
2) Eat less meat and more vegetables. Eating less meat and consuming less dairy also means that you save money. It’s okay to have it from time to time, but meat is not the best for the environment. Meat production results in a significant amount of carbon emissions. It’s easy to replace dairy milk with soy, almond or coconut milk.
3) Recycle and carry your own canvas bag. I tend to bring a backpack and canvas bag, but I’m so guilty with plastic bags, because there are times I end up taking plastic bags to take home to line my rubbish bins. However, I hope someday New Zealand will ban them. Recycling is a habit that you won’t even have to think about it after you just do it.
4) Go second-hand shopping and support ethical brands. Make sure to watch out for green washing, which are brands that are disguised as ethical, but really aren’t. I like to use ecostore for my laundry because they don’t have that strong and unnatural deodorant smell. If you have sensitive skin, organic products tend to be more gentle on the skin.
5) Invest in good quality items that will last a long time. Treasure the things you have. Use your technology until they’re no longer usable. Buy things that are good quality and will last, because then you practice minimising consumption. If you need to throw things away regularly, then this only encourages the amount of rubbish we create in the world.
Photography by Katerina Plotnikova
If you have heard of the environmental impact of plastic bags, then you know how much harm they can cause. In the late 1970’s, according to bagmonster.com, the “Paper or Plastic” wars began. The plastic bag was introduced to the supermarket industry, and were beginning to overtake the paper bags. Did you know that the World Economic Forum says oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050? If you recently saw the images of sea turtles that have died from ocean pollution, it’s heartbreaking. Every year, more than 100,00 marine mammals die every year after ingesting or becoming entangled in ocean pollution, ingestion or entanglement in waste.
Sea turtles and other marine creatures mistake plastics for food (such as jellyfish) and ingest it. This mistake causes blockages within their digestive system and eventual death. In Huffington Post, it states Some 240,000 plastic bags are used globally every 10 seconds, according to the Sierra Club, and fewer than 5 percent are recycled…the average American now uses 300 to 700 plastic bags per year.There are small ways in which we can use less plastic over time. It could be buying products that aren’t over packaged with plastic. Raising awareness of the affects of plastic on the environment, or bringing your own reusable bags when purchasing from stores.
Bring your own reusable bags to the supermarket. Most supermarkets sell their own reusable bags, or you can bring your own. I like to bring a school bag, a side bag and a large handbag to fit most of my groceries without needing to use a plastic bag. This means that instead of using up to 6 plastic bags to put all my groceries in, I can limit it to 1-2 plastic bag for my bin liner.
Buy less items with over-packaging. Whenever possible, look for produce and other items that aren’t over-packaged. There are many products and companies that have good ethics, but make sure they are not simply green washing. Using less plastic over time, also allows companies to realise that many consumers are not willing to support over packaging and use of plastic.
Reuse and recycle plastic bags. There will still be weeks where I will have a plastic bag to carry, and store it in the cupboard. A great way to use the spare plastic bags is to reuse or recycle them.You can use them as rubbish bag liners, donate them or use them as storage.
Don’t buy bottled water and carry a reusable drink bottle. Try drinking water from home, boiling it or keeping it cool in the fridge. Plastic bottles are one of the top five most common types of litter found on beaches. You’ll save money, as bottled water can be expensive and really add up over time.
Create awareness of the importance of recycling. It’s good to educate and raise awareness to others why recycling is important. It’s easy for many people to forget, and simply toss all the rubbish into one bag. If we encourage everyone to recycle, we become more conscious of the difference we can make through small actions.