One of the powerful actions we can take to minimise our impact on the planet is to simply reduce, or just become more aware of, the amount and type of products we consume, buy, and inevitably throw away.
How to reduce our impact on the environment
Here are a few habits to consider:
- Think about the packaging that the items you regularly buy come in. Is there an option to buy in bulk? Or perhaps you can buy the product in something other than plastic packaging? Can you easily make it yourself? Or can you go without and replace it with a more waste-free option? Just by buying products in something other than plastic can make a huge dent in the amount of waste we create by the end of each week.
- Allocate an hour once a week to baking a batch of healthy muffins or biscuits. This is an easy way to incorporate a waste-free snack into lunchboxes or for quick snacks on-the-go throughout the week, eliminating the need for individually packaged snack foods. You can always make a double or even triple batch, and then freeze the extra for later.
- Pick-up and dispose of any rubbish you see on your street or when you’re taking a stroll down the beach. It takes a village, right? You’d be amazed at how much ends up along our beaches.
- Take a bit of time at the end of each week to meal-plan for the week ahead. This will not only make meal times less stressful but you’ll end up throwing a lot less food out each week. Take a quick stock of your pantry and fridge and work with what you have already.
- Eat less meat. It may not seem like the most relevant tip, but the farming and agriculture industry isn’t what it used to be, and for good reasons. The world population in 1950 was around 2.5 billion people. Back then people supported their local farmers, ate seasonally and used what they had. They kept it simple. They didn’t rely at all on packaged food. Today the world population sits at around 7.4 billion people. There’s no doubt that the farming and waste-management industry will suffer with that type of demand. If you eat meat, incorporating one or two meatless meals into your week will have a huge positive impact (on the environment and your health!). Eating a more plant-based diet encourages the use of more “whole foods” and less packaged products, so less waste!
- Buy or make your own compost bin or worm farm to turn all your food waste into nutrient-rich garden soil. E.g. compost bins can be easily made from wooden pallets, ZingBokashi bins are a tidy and efficient composting option for inside, and here’s a fun project you could make with the kids: http://www.greenideas.co.nz/gardening-and-outdoors/composting/build-a-worm-farm-for-$20
- Take advantage of second-hand shops. Not only can you find cool treasures and save money, you’ll be giving existing items a second life, not to mention avoiding all the packaging that inevitably comes with buying new items. So much clothing sold by standard retailers is made in unfavourable conditions; continuing to buy such items maintains the demand for them.
- Buy handmade, local items. If second-hand shops aren’t your thing, think about supporting local small businesses. felt.co.nz is a fun resource.
- Make your own cleaning and beauty products. With just a handful of ingredients you probably already have at home, you can create natural products that actually work.
- Don’t replace something until it’s broken or worn out (without being so frugal that you become miserable!). Enjoy getting the most out of what you already have.
Even if you change just one habit, becoming more conscious is always a good place to start! Remember, it’s not a competition, but a journey. We all begin somewhere
Love the PFP Team!