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Little Things You Can Do To Help The Environment

More and more people are looking at doing their bit to help the environment and live a more sustainable life. No longer is the belief that one person can’t make a difference cutting it and people everywhere are ditching the plastic bags and water bottles, cutting down on meat and sharing lifts.

However, it can be a little daunting to try and make your lifestyle more sustainable… The pressure to do everything all at once can get a bit much and so many of us recoil back into our old, unsustainable habits out a fear that we’re doing ‘eco-friendly’ wrong (Can you tell I’m speaking from experience here…).

Well, I am here to tell you that helping to protect the environment and leading a more sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to mean ditching the car, never going on holiday again and waving goodbye to that Brazillian restaurant down the road. Even the smallest of changes can help, and you might not even notice you’re doing them! Here are some little things you can do to help the environment.

THINK ABOUT YOUR FASHION CHOICES

 I have already written a post about fast fashion and how I think the solution is as much down to internal changes as it is external ones. You can check it out here if you haven’t read it.

While you might not think that your fashion choices have much of an impact on the environment, the truth is that the fast fashion industry is predicted to contribute ¼ of our total impact on climate change by 2050!

Luckily, there are things that you can do that can help protect the environment, while still keeping your wardrobe on point. Recently I have become a huge charity shop fan. I’ll be honest, I used to avoid them like the plague, but once I ditched my entirely unnecessary snobbish ways, I actually found that you can get some really good bits and pieces – not to mention it’s super cheap and helping out a charity! On my last browse, I got myself a cream Zara blazer for £10! Madness I tell you.

I have also started buying second-hand clothes off of friends rather than going out and buying new stuff. I am looking towards setting up a clothes swap group as well, where unwanted clothes can be swapped for someone else’s gear – the perfect, eco-friendly way to keep your wardrobe fresh.

CHARITY SHOPS

IMAGE: The Art of Thrift Shopping in Leeds

SHOP SUSTAINABLY 

Beyond clothes shopping, there are also little ways you can become more sustainable when it comes to food shopping – a lot of which you’re probably doing already, go you!

Most supermarkets in the UK have already encouraged this, but investing in a Bag for Life or reusing old plastic bags is a great (and super easy) way to cut down on your plastic use. The same applies to foods. When you’re strolling through the fruit and veg aisle selecting your Granny Smiths, if the option is there, opt for a paper rather than a plastic bag to wrap your foods up in. 

TRAVEL WISELY 

When it comes to getting around the place just jumping in your car definitely seems like the easiest option… I mean, I can’t drive but if I could I image it would seem like the easiest option.

However, no surprises here, it is not the best for the environment. Instead, why not join the sharing economy and download ride-sharing apps or share a lift into work with your friend. If a few of you are all driving from the same place to the same place, it seems a little daft all taking a car when you could just go together!

crete

If you’re travelling out of the country (lucky you), using sites like Airbnb is also a great way to be a part of the sharing economy and help look after the environment. If you’re a keen bean, you could even opt for a solar-powered apartment that would still come in cheaper than a fancy hotel. This is not something I have yet to try, but I will definitely be looking into it for my next city break.

Travelling sustainably might seem like it is going to require huge changes, but that really isn’t the case. Being just a little more aware when travelling can really help to make your lifestyle more sustainable.

CUT DOWN ON ANIMAL PRODUCTS  

More and more people are adopting an entirely plant-based lifestyle, but if you’re not willing to wave goodbye to your cheese on toast – that’s fine, it’s your prerogative and it doesn’t mean that you can’t still make little changes and do your bit.

Simply cutting down on your meat intake, even if it’s only one day a week, or switching to almond milk rather than cow’s milk, can really help. You might even want to try growing your own vegetables, which can help to reduce your carbon footprint (not to mention it’s loads of fun and really satisfying!).

ALLOTMENT

IMAGE: Country Living – Companion Planting. Getty Images – Ron Evans.

LITTLE LIFE CHANGES

The above are just a few examples of things I have been thinking about or experimenting with recently, but there are loads of other little things you can do to make your lifestyle more sustainable.

As I have said, they don’t have to be massive changes – in fact, you might not even notice you’re doing them. Making your own coffee in a morning, getting a library card rather than buying books (I still haven’t quite come to terms with this one… I love a nice, new book), even just spending more time outside are all little things you can do to help!

Since attempting to make some little life changes in order to lead a more eco-friendly life, I have learnt that a sustainable lifestyle not only benefits the world but has also benefitted my own health and wellbeing. Cutting down on meat and practically ditching dairy has really helped with keeping at a healthy weight, getting outside more has helped me get fitter, and I have found that I have been able to save a lot of money by just having a little more awareness. Give it a go – it’s easier than you think. 

What are your top tips for leading a more sustainable life? Let me know in the comments down below.

Jamie x 

For more advice and tips, here are some websites and blogs I found really useful: 

50+ Simple Tips To Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

http://www.lovegeorgeandhaze.co.uk/

https://ecowarriorprincess.net/2015/10/101-tips-help-you-live-more-sustainable-life/

https://www.wwf.org.uk/what-we-do/area-of-work/promoting-sustainable-living

 

Is Your Vagina Vegan?

Vegan. Once a word most people knew very little about, now fast on the rise, it seems that *everybody* is going vegan. Since trying my best to follow a plant based lifestyle, I can say with confidence that this is only going to continue to grow, which has great implications for the animals, the environment and for our health. You might be vegan, your wellness #inspo might be vegan, you may have even convinced your Mum to try whipping up a vegan take on her classics but… Is your vagina vegan?

tampons

Time to abandon the always?

There are plenty of vegan sanitary products on the market right now. Towels, tampons. Menstrual cups and reusable pads. The truth is, I haven’t actually tried any of the products. This blog post comes from a curiosity more than anything and I wanted to share what I have found with you guys. Since doing this research I have decided that I will be giving some of these products a go so stay tuned as there will be a review coming up over the next few months.

My interest came when I came across TOTM on Instagram, a company making 100% organic, vegan sanitary products. I was intrigued. I have never really thought about what went into making my sanitary towels or my tampons, I just used them. Turns out I was not alone. In a survey done by TOTM, 9 out of 10 women did not no what tampons are made of. I am sure, like me, many of these women chose their sanitary products based upon names they know and trust. When you’re spending a week out of every month bleeding you want to be confident that you are not going to be having any accidents. It seems, however, that a large majority these brands do not provide a full list of ingredients. Surely they would have to? Nope. Sanitary products are regulated and approved a medical devices under the FDA, which means companies are under no obligation to share what goes into them. I had never thought about this before, but all of a sudden I felt very protective over my vagina. I decided this needed a bit more digging. I wanted to know about cotton.

Turns out cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop on the planet when it comes to pesticides and insecticides and a 2015 an independent study by the University of La Plata found 85% of tampons tested contained Glyphosate. What is that I hear you ask? Well, Glyphosate is the active ingredient within weed killers and according to WHO is classified as ‘probably carcinogenic’. Probably carcinogenic? I am going to need a little bit more information before I go putting a possible carcinogen up the most sensitive and absorbent part of my body thank you very much.  And then there’s rayon, a man-made material that’s been used since the 1930’s. If that wasn’t enough to make your legs clench, rayon is a material that has been used since the 1930’s and is produced from cellulose. This is a compound extracted from wood pulp and what happens during the extraction process? Well, it creates hydrocarbon dioxin as a by-product. These dioxins can be pretty harmful, not the mention the potentially harmful chemical additives and finishing agents.

But Jamie, people have used these things for years. Surely they can’t be that bad. Well, in terms of health, it probably isn’t as the amount of ‘bad stuff’ is pretty negligible. As Dr. Nita Landry said, there is no data proving that organic tampons are any safer than regular tampons and the FDA do check them for consumer safety so it might not be a shady as we first thought. However, it is not just our health that should be considered. For most people who go vegan, the decision is based upon a variety of different reasons including animal cruelty and the environment. The company, GladRags, known for their reusable pads have a lot to say on the environmental impact of disposable sanitary products. The average person who menstruates will use between 12,000 and 16,000 pads in their life time, which produces a lot of waste and has a huge environmental footprint. When not disposed of properly, sanitary towels contribute to the main source of UK coastal clutter, Sewage Related Debris.

 

A huge bonus with vegan sanitary products, for me, is the fact that animals are not harmed in the process of making them. These products do not test on animals or have any animal products in them, which is a huge selling point! Mooncup, for example, are approved by the vegan society and were the winners of the 2007 Best Buy Award for Ethical Consumers.  After having a browse, it is safe to say that these products are not cheap. However, many of these companies sell themselves on the fact they are an investment that will save people money in the long run. You only need one Mooncup and apparently that will pay for itself after 6-8 months, after that you’re then saving money. No need to go splashing the cash on always, instead you could throw it into a piggy bank and save up for something nice… like vegan chocolate to get your through the agony that is a period. Similarly, apparently these GladRags can last up to 20 years!

Where do I sign up? It is safe to say that I am sold and will definitely but giving some of these a try. I have yet to decide which of the products I think would be best for me but the sites have little quizzes and loads of information so you ca see which sanitary product will fit in best with your lifestyle. If you are interested in more vegan sanitary companies, I would recommend checking out CrueltyFreeKitty.com as this site has a fantastic comprehensive guide and loads of posts on different cruelty free products. As always, my sources are down below.

Jamie x

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Sources:

https://gladrags.com/

The Ultimate Guide To Having A Cruelty-Free Period

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/a13144732/best-organic-tampons/

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Mooncup Menstrual Cup

http://www.thisisinsider.com/are-organic-tampons-safer-better-2017-9