Happy New Year friends! I took some time off social media towards the end of last year as I could feel the burnout of 2020 starting to hit me and thought some time offline would be just what the doctor ordered. It’s now 2021 and I’m so excited for hopefully a much lighter and brighter year ahead. I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions, but I will say that trying to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle is definitely something that I plan to work on. Some changes have been simple swaps, others not so much, but it’s all about progress not perfection. Here are five sustainable swaps you can make this year that will have the planet thanking you.
BYO coffee cup
This is my simplest swap of them all and that is to bring your own coffee cup when out and about. There are so many cute sustainable options when it comes to reusable drinkware. I’m obsessed with my stainless steel MontiiCo collection – I’ve got the water bottle, smoothie and coffee cup – as well as the colourful range of glass silicone cups from Luxey Cup. But, the most important thing is to actually remember to bring your cup with you. So here’s my hot tip: wash your cup immediately when you get home and pop it straight back in your car’s cup holder or your bag ready for next time. And while we’re here, be sure to say NO to that plastic straw in your next green juice or cocktail with the girls!
Eat more plants
Whether you’re a vegan or a carnivore, there is no denying that methane gas (from cows) is one of the main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. One of my health-related goals for 2021 is to cut-down my animal protein consumption by adding more plants into my diet. A simple and easy way to start is by implementing Meatless Monday’s and forgoing meat from your meals one day each week. To be honest, I’ve found becoming a flexitarian quite easy, but I know for others it can be a struggle. This is why I think having a great stack of cookbooks or recipes on hand is key to finding vegetarian meal inspo. Remember, preparation prevents poor performance! Two cookbooks that have really helped me to eat more plant-based meals are Jamie Oliver’s Veg and the KYND Summer Cookbook.
My beauty carbon footprint is something I’ve really put under a microscope this year, as I know I can do so much better. Last year, I made the switch to from tampons to a menstrual cup and I honestly feel like a whole new woman. It found it o be such an easy swap and there are so many sustainable menstrual products on the market now, there’s something out there for everyone. Another simple sustainable swap you can make is to opt to use a flannel or muslin cloth to remove your makeup with instead of the 17 cotton rounds you would normally use. We also don’t think about what toxic chemicals our beauty products contain that we so absentmindedly wash down our drains and into our waterways. So, I’m making it a goal of mine to learn how to create my own skincare with essential oils.
It’s time to toss out the cling wrap and level up your food storage game with sustainable solutions like beeswax wraps and your Nanna’s trusty Tupperware. Stackable, resealable, reusable containers, whether they be plastic or glass, are a much more healthy option for your food and the planet. And if you can’t quite ditch the ziplock bags, let’s meet halfway with silicone pouches, which are fantastic for cut-up food and freezing leftovers. I also love to store my dry pantry ingredients like oats, flour and protein powder, in cute labelled glass mason jars. This system is not only more sustainable but makes it easier to see what I have and keeps things fresher for longer, making for less food waste – yay!
Implement a capsule wardrobe
With the fashion industry being one of the most wasteful in the world, a capsule wardrobe may be the way of the future. A term coined by Susie Faux in the 1970s, a capsule wardrobe is the collection of a few essential clothing items, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. I was introduced to this concept by The Anna Edit, who has incredible style and writes some of my favourite capsule wardrobe content. If you’re new to this wardrobe system, let me give you a quick run-down: only wear 30-40 items for three months (each season), don’t go shopping until you plan and shop for next season, and activewear, pyjamas and underwear not included – but you can bend the rules as you wish. The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees is a great source of information to guide you on your capsule wardrobe journey.