Around 12 months ago, I started to become more aware of how eco-unfriendly our lifestyle was. Late to the party I know, but with the help of a couple of friends who were firmly on the band wagon, as well as a spiralling rabbit hole of research I was able to start making some changes in first, my day to day life, and then in Mitch’s and our general lifestyle.
If you’re not entirely across why we need to start looking for more zero waste alternatives, here are some great articles that give a great overview for you…
Plastic Pollution & Climate Change
Climate Change & the Plastics Industry
Why Quitting Plastic will Help Stop Climate Change
This post is all about the first 3 things I implemented to start turning things around. The 3 quickest and simplest things you can take on board to start eliminating the amount of single use and non-recyclable plastic in your life. No one is perfect at these changes 100% of the time, but as Anne Marie Bonneau said; ‘The world doesn’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, it needs millions of people doing it imperfectly.’
How do I take my coffee? Seriously, very seriously… and in a reusable cup. I found this a real lifestyle change to get used to, and in the interest of being totally honest, I still only manage it 80% of the time. The convenience of grabbing a coffee on my way home from somewhere or whilst already out at the shops made the change a hard one for me. But a few weeks of retraining my brain and I now almost have it down pat. There are some great eco cups and thermos cups on the market, and I’ve tried a few over the past year or so! Here are my top tips for making the switch:
- Invest in a good quality reusable cup. There are some pretty naff ones out there – don’t do it. You’ll struggle to fall in love with using it and will end up collecting dust in your car. Get one that hold the right amount of coffee for you, keeps it toasty warm, and let’s be honest, you want one that looks a bit cute too… My current pick are these insulated tumblers from Ever Eco. Mine is a 592ml one, but for all you mega caffeine die-hards they even come in 887ml… I mean, that’s almost a litre of coffee and I wouldn’t be mad about it.
- Second guess yourself. If you’re out and about without your eco cup, ask yourself if that nagging coffee craving can wait until you get home. Trust me, you’ll only allow yourself to miss out on that large cappuccino with an extra shot a handful of times before reminding yourself to throw that reusable cup in your car or handbag every morning.
- Know how much your cup holds. This makes it easier to order your coffee from your fave café. Lots of the thermal eco cups look much bigger than they really are, and some cafes will automatically charge you for a large coffee. However I’ve had a cup in the past that despite being tall only held 330ml. Knowing how much your cup holds means you can just let the barista know and ask which of their sizes you should order.
- I decided to make my life easier (because my brain is an actual sieve), and buy a second reusable cup. So now I have one that lives at work which gets used every day and stays there, and one for home and in the car.
This has got to be the easiest change to make. Reusable straws come in a few different materials; stainless steel, bamboo and glass. I’ll come right out and say I’m not a fan of the glass… I’ve shattered one in a drink before by stirring with a tad too much gusto, so as you can imagine I’m now scarred for life. The bamboo straws are great for if you find the stainless steel ones a little heavy, they are lighter to carry around with you. My Mother in law prefers the bamboo ones after knocking her teeth one too many times on the metal ones (they do take some getting used to). I’m a stainless steel girl – they last longer and are made thinner than the bamboo ones so feel much like a normal straw instead of sucking your Aperol through a downpipe. Mine are also from Ever Eco and come in a few different finishes. Here are a couple of tips for making the plastic free switch:
- Throw one in your handbag, one in your car, keep one in your desk at work and a couple at home. Once you have them all placed it becomes super easy to remember to use them.
- Take note of whether a venue is plastic straw free or not. If not, make sure to order your drink ‘without a straw please’. This is less crazy than it sounds… so many bars and restaurants have already made the change to paper straws or no straws at all, and for those that haven’t, your order might just be the kick up the arse they need to take steps towards environmentally friendly alternatives.
THE FOOD CONTAINERS
Right, I’ll hold my hands up and confess that I used to be shocking with the disposable plastic containers that went through our house. I did, and still do, cook the majority of our weekly food all at once on a Monday during a big food prep cook up. I’d buy the 20 pack of flimsy plastic takeaway containers from the supermarket and split all our meals out. I cringe thinking about it now, because hardly any of those containers ever made it home for reuse, and those that did only survived another week before splitting and getting thrown out. So the day I decided to knock all that on the head, I went out and bought a range of glass containers. My favourites are from Ikea and are linked here. So now, while I still cook up for the week, I don’t split everything up per meal. Instead I keep everything in bigger glass containers in the fridge and dish up each on-the-go meal into my super bloody cute lunch pail from Green Essentials. It splits 3 ways so I can keep dressings separate from salads, dry separate from wet, and even split all my food by meal if I’m out all day.
So here are my tips for going more sustainable with your food containers:
- Invest in some great oven proof, microwave proof glass containers. They’ll last forever and you can pop your food straight in the oven to heat up! You’ll also remember to bring them home from work and reuse because they cost you more than the nasty disposable plastic ones.
- Treat yourself to a stainless steel pail… I find the stacked one from Green Essentials so handy as I can fit both my lunch and my snacks into it instead of having 3 containers rammed into my handbag.
Thanks so much for reading my loves and I hope this inspires you to make a couple of simple changes in your lifestyle. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming blog posts with more tips on making eco friendly lifestyle choices.
What are some of the ways you’re working towards producing less plastic waste? I’d love to hear about it and hear your tips and tricks!
Thank you as always to the lovely Claire Bailey for capturing these shots! @ceebeeisme