11 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Immediately Become More “Green”

Posted on 02 May 2016

I would have never thought the most devastating thing to happen to me today would involve a green bag.

But this unassuming carrier was the catalyst for a near epic breakdown.

Since I started this eco fashion brand, the impact I have on the environment has suddenly jumped to the top of my conscious, promptly replacing Game of Thrones plot lines, Niece’s birth dates and where I put my keys (but let’s be honest, that one is always a bottom dweller). I’ve become hyper aware of the devastating impact that we have on the environment as consumers. And now that I am a producer of clothing as well, despite my best efforts to produce a sustainable product, I know I am contributing even more to the ever growing pile of “things” we humans consume and produce.

So I know I have to start changing my behaviour to help offset this impact.

And the green bags were supposed to be my first step. Then today happened and I forgot the friggin bags! As I trudged along with my flimsy plastic bag bulging with shopping (“yes”, I told the friendly attendant “they WILL all fit in one bag!”), cursing my forgetful brain, I realised that it’s OK to fail sometimes (I am human after all, phew, quite a relief to know I am not a mummy robot sent back in time to make sandwiches!).

So I picked myself up, along with my son after a long day at Daycare, and wrote my wishlist of the habits I was going to do my best to break.

Here is my list of 11 small behaviour tweaks I’m endeavouring to do this year to help minimise my impact on the environment:

Reducing Plastic:

1. Bring a keep cup or re-usable mug to the coffee shop. Ask for your coffee without a lid. Did you know that coffee cups account for 60,000 kilograms of plastic waste per year!

2. Take your bags to the supermarket. Keep some bags in your car boot for next time you’re at the shops to avoid using plastic bags (must remember this one!)

3. Purchase less packaged foods. This is a tough one, I know, especially for busy people. The good news is Coles and Woolworths Supermarkets now accept plastic food packaging as well as plastic bags for recycling. The Greater Good Project did a great piece on how much plastic we really throw out each week. Another idea is to shop at bulk buying outlets like scoop and wholefoods where you can purchase all of your dry ingredients plastic free!

3. Leave an empty water bottle in the car so that if you get thirsty you can stop and fill it up – a lot of parks now have water refilling stations. If you’re worried about that article you read that claimed drinking water from bottles left in hot cars cause cancer, that’s a myth according to the Cancer Council of Australia.

4. Support businesses that care – there are lots of businesses that have wood or plastic take away containers.

5. Recycle as much as you can. Don’t just chuck the jar of peanut butter because it’s too hard to rinse out. And always check for the recycle sign on the bottom - there are lots of items you may not know you can recycle: Here’s a great read from SBS Australia: 7 things you should be putting in recycling.

Reducing Chemicals:

6. Use soap nuts and other eco detergents

7. Make your own cleaning products (scrubs, toothpaste etc) to reduce waste. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post from me on this one.

Reducing Wasted Clothing:

(Now, I’m not suggesting you start embracing a naturist lifestyle and do away with clothing altogether, but being more mindful of where your clothes come from and their true lifecycle can make a big difference. Remember that clothing is not a perishable item, it does not just go off so there’s lots of ways to make the most of its life span.)

8. Purchase second hand clothing and toys where possible. Op shops and Facebook buy/swap/sell groups are a great place to start.

9. Try to fix or alter garments before disposing of them. Or if you’re like me and more likely to sew your fingers together than fix a button, take it to a low-cost dress maker.

10. Make less purchases, but make them quality items. Vote with your $ for the brands you support and those who are trying to make a change.

11. Why not reuse a garment for something else like a rag, a cover for something in the garage, or for kids’ craft.

For me, obviously those green bags are the top of my list! Since my meltdown, I’ve hidden green bags all around the house, front door, in every nook of the car to make sure I won’t forget again. Hopefully this is one small step to checking off every item in my environmental to do list.

I really encourage you to try some of the things above. Behaviour change is hard, but remember that something is better than nothing. Feel good about all the little changes you’re making and don’t get too caught up about forgetting your green bags every now and then.

Here are my top reasons I remind myself to do these things every day:

  1. Try to preserve this amazing planet and the people in it
  2. Be a part of something bigger
  3. Save money
  4. Be an example to others to make changes
  5. Because it feels good!

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