I’m going all out and asking the big question today. Am I sustainable enough? With everything that’s going on in the world it seems like there is an overwhelming pressure to do more to be green, but is it ever enough?
The issue seems to be that there are too many issues to tackle at once. If i’m not worrying about plastic pollution, i’m worrying about fast fashion, if it’s not that, it’s food waste etc. etc. It goes on and on, and the more your eyes are opened to these issues the more overwhelming it becomes. So for my own piece of mind, and maybe to inspire some of you I’m going to jot down some things I try to do to be sustainable.
The Plastic Problem
This sustainability issue is definitely the most talked about in the news at the moment. To combat the rising tide of plastic which is choking our oceans I am trying my best to cut back where I can. The aim is to reduce single use plastic, items which are “throw away” but never really go away. So I’ve been doing the following:
- Carrying a reusable water bottle like my Zanna X Chilly’s one to reduce buying plastic ones.
- Bringing a flask for my tea to prevent needing a takeaway cup.
- Packing sandwiches in reusable Tupperware instead of sandwich bags.
- Carrying a reusable tote bag for shopping.
- Buying loose fruit and veg to reduce plastic wrap.
- Refusing straws and using my own metal one instead when buying drinks.
- Avoiding single use cutlery where possible by carrying my own reusable set.
- Using Naked Shampoo bars/ shower gels/ body scrubs and deodorants.
- Drinking loose leaf tea- teabags contain plastic!
Okay so that’s plastic, I’m constantly doing my best to reduce my usage but it’s food packaging that’s the real culprit. Unless you only eat homegrown veg there is very little chance of you being able to go completely plastic-free but every little helps and all that. I find markets the best place to get the most packaging-free food.
This is the most recent issue that I have become aware of. Palm Oil is responsible for huge areas of deforestation, which can be devastating to wildlife such as Orangutans. Vast areas of burning forests lead to many Orangutan orphans, who require the care of sanctuaries in the place of their Mother. I must admit this is an issue I want to educate myself on more in 2019. I will be starting to take note of which products contain palm oil that I currently use, and perhaps I can stop using them to help protect our wildlife.
The recent Iceland advert which got banned has done wonders for raising awareness of this issue. Palm oil is included in beauty products, shampoo, chocolate, ice cream, detergent and many other household items. Check the label of things in your house and you may well be surprised.
This is another one I have gone on about before, just recently I was asking ‘Can a Haul be Sustainable?‘ This is a whole different can of worms to the plastic issue. Firstly there is the environmental damage the fashion industry causes. The fashion industry is poisoning rivers, which for many people in developing countries is the only source of water, with harmful chemicals and dyes. A high proportion of people living in these areas develop painful skin conditions and even cancer.
There’s also the amount of water it uses to produce clothes. Whole inland seas have been drained to water the mass amount of cotton needed to make our clothes. However alongside the damage to the planet, there’s also the people involved in the fashion industry who are underpaid and forced to work in dreadful conditions. The fashion industry exploits workers who will provide labour for minimal cost. Hence why clothes can be produced on mass and for a low price- the workers don’t get paid fairly.
I’m not saying you can’t ever shop again but I would urge you to try and buy from ethical brands rather than fast fashion chains who use sweat shops and pollute our planet. I have written some posts in the past about some sustainable brands which would be better to buy from than the high street.
Veggie, Vegan, Flexitarian?
Meat consumption is also a huge problem when looking at sustainability. It takes so much land to rear livestock which can often eat into the natural habitats of other animals. Livestock are also responsible for up to 18% of greenhouse emissions contributing to climate change.
Then there is also the issue of cruelty. I have eaten meat my whole life but in recent months I have really cut back. I often choose a vegetarian option when eating out and some of my favourite meals to cook for myself are actually vegan just by coincidence.
I can’t outright say I am fully vegetarian because that would be a lie, there are occasions- especially when eating at other peoples houses where I eat meat. However my aim for 2019 is to be totally veggie. That’s not to say you have to do the same but adopting a more flexitarian diet will have a huge impact for the planet. Even having one extra plant based meal a week will make a huge difference.
So these are just a few of the issues which have come to my attention in recent months and the things I’m trying to do to reduce my impact on the environment.
What environmental or ethical issues are you trying to tackle this year? Let me know in the comments below.