Before I get started, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year! I’m struggling with normality and seem to have no idea what day it is, how we suddenly ended up in 2018, what I’m doing tomorrow and seriously questioning why I didn’t ask anybody for a diary or calendar for Christmas! I super glad to see that so many of you are a hell of a lot more together than I am and have already set goals and dreams for the year ahead. The one resolution I’m seeing over and over again and am super happy about is making changes to consumer and lifestyle habits to benefit the planet.
David Attenborough has done a bloody good job of highlighting just how bad the situation is (although there is a lot more to see!) and enabled so many people to start questioning the way they live and what they can do to make a difference. Around February last year I began seriously questioning my own lifestyle and became far more aware of how much destruction we are causing. I made the decision to go Vegan and turn to a plant based diet. I was unbelievably shocked to discover the environmental effects of mass farming and fishing, and also how so much of it appears to be covered up. Of course there are always two sides to a story but I did a lot of reading and watched a lot of documentaries and came to my own conclusions. Unfortunately I jumped in a little too deep and found myself swimming further away from my initial reasoning and further towards becoming a preaching, angry vegan (my own description of myself, not in any way generalising vegans!) This was never my intention as I believe it’s important for others to to make up their own minds for their own reasons, and it’s never pleasant to have someone else’s views forced upon you.
Having been a cheese loving meat eater my entire life I’ve always been unbelieving of vegetarians and vegans and would like to take this opportunity to apologise to any friends I may ever have offended. Having failed at the total vegan lifestyle, I fell hard from the wagon and began eating cheese, chocolate and ice cream again and in the recent months even snuck in the odd mouthful of meat. I never stopped eating animal products because I didn’t like them, I did it to try and save the planet. I’m not naive enough to believe that me making a few changes will turn the world upside down and everything will be hunky dory, but I DO believe that if every single one of us makes a few little changes then big things will start to happen. I don’t buy dairy milk or butter, I only buy eggs from a local man who has a few free range organic chickens in his garden, and if I do buy meat it will be from a local, free range, organic farmer. I’m not saying any of this is right or wrong, but they are the choices I’ve made. I’ve also started to make a few other changes and would like to share them with you all in the hope that you might take on the challenge too……
Buy Organic – I’ve highlighted the importance of organic products before so won’t go too far into it but basically the lack of pesticides is a huge step towards a happier planet. We now get a fruit and veg box every week full of Organic produce, and I try to buy organic food, clothing, cleaning (etc etc etc) products as much as I can (including ALL of the fabrics I use for Lovesay and Mo!).
Eco Friendly Cleaning – We stocked up on Ecover when it was on offer in the supermarket around a year ago. We are still using the same bottles and take them to be refilled in a local shop every month or so. Most refill stations have a number of brands available at various price ranges. Method is also an amazing environmentally friendly cleaning brand and their products smell AMAZING.
Reusable Water Bottle – Around 15 million plastic bottles are used in the UK every day. Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose. You do the Maths. I was introduced to Klean Kanteen by Dan’s sister (she’s a true eco warrior!). They produce stainless steel water bottles, food containers, coffee cups, tumblers and kids water bottles. Stainless steel will last a hell of a lot longer than plastic and is BPA free!!
Reusable Coffee Cup – I’m sure you’ve all seen the news that Pret a Manger is offering 50p off any hot drink when using a reusable coffee cup and many other coffee shops offer similar deals. For example Hobbs House (Nailsworth, Tetbury, Malmesbury, Chipping Sodbury and Bristol) offer 10% off any hot drink when a reusable coffee cup is used. Some disposable coffee cups are compostable, but the majority aren’t. Many of us head to Waitrose for a free tea or coffee and if you do I urge you to invest in a reusable cup (Waitrose own cups cost only £3) as their disposable ones are not compostable or recyclable.
Charity Shops – I know a lot of people already donated unwanted clothing and other goods to charity shops which is great. However it’s more beneficial to the environment to be buying second hand from charity shops rather than investing in high street chains. It’s easy to check out a company’s eco policy online – find out where they source their fabrics and labour, what they do with waste etc before spending your money. You’ll often find that smaller, UK based brands will be far more environmentally friendly plus its great to support local business!!
Buy Loose Produce – Try not to buy fruit, vegetables and grains in plastic packaging. Even when buying loose fruit and veg you definitely don’t need that plastic bag – it’ll most likely end up in the bin once you get home. If you desperately need a bag then try hunting for a mushroom paper bag or take a cotton bag with you – these can be bought online, just search for ‘reusable produce bag’. A lot of whole foods shops will offer the ‘pay buy weight’ option for many grains and pulses. Most provide paper bags but you can also take your own containers.
Terracycle – I only found out about this company a few days ago and am super excited to share it with you. They recycle up to 97% of plastic waste they receive and also upcycle a lot of materials to make new products. As it currently stands plastic bottles can be recycled by your local councils but the lids can’t. And it’s not just lids that Terracycle accept; you can also send them plastic air fresheners and refills, trigger heads (used on a lot of cleaning products) and pumps, flexible wipe packaging (floor wipes, face wipes etc), roll on deodorant containers, baby food packaging AND SO MUCH MORE! I urge you all to take a look on their website, sign up, start collecting waste and send it off. It’s super easy to do – you can print of a FREE postage label and just need to drop your package off at a local UPS drop off point. The best part is that for every item you recycle you’ll be rewarded points which equate to money – 1 point is 1p – that can be donated to a charity of non profit organisation of your choice.
I don’t want to bombard you with too much information and I know that a lot of this is readily valuable for anyone to discover. BUT please please try and make just a few of these changes and we will be well on the way to making a difference. When the results of the Brexit referendum were released a lot of people criticised the older generation for voting for themselves and not considering the future generations that will have to deal with the consequences. This is exactly the same. We need to make changes now otherwise our children and grandchildren will be living on a very different planet.
I’m going to leave this post with a series of super clever photos titled ‘Deal of the Day’ taken by the wonderful Madison O’Connell. I came across these in an online group and thought they were the perfect way of getting the message across. Madison is studying Marine and Natural History Photography at Falmouth – anyone else hugely envious of that degree?! Check out her Instagram (@mediabymads) for more of her work as well as resources on environmental and conservation issues!