Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

This post contains some gifted items and some affiliate links.

Back in July, I posted the below photo and caption over on my Instagram. Now whilst we still have a long way to go, since then we have made some big changes in the way we live in order to be more sustainable – in an attempt to do better for our planet. If you’re reading this post then it’s probably because you want to do more too and whilst I hope this helps you on your way, the last thing I want to do is come across as preaching – I personally don’t respond well to pressure from other people or being told what to do, especially if it’s a big change – so consider this post a letter to myself, to do better. And if you decide to make some changes after reading this, then it’s a win win!

This will be a post that I continue to add to over time as I learn more, we still have a long way to go!

 

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Actual footage of me on my commute home from work today 👉🏻 Not really, but it is at hot today in the UK (38.1C) as it was when we were in the Maldives 🤯 Earlier today @metoffice tweeted “!Breaking news! We have broken our maximum July temperature record. We may still break the all-time UK record of 38.5 °C” like it’s some bloody achievement. NEWS FLASH, THIS IS A CLIMATE CRISIS! ⚠️ We all love a bit of sunshine so it’s easy to ignore it but The Climate Emergency Fund said something that really stuck with me… “Stop thinking of this as the hottest summer of the last 125 years and start thinking of it as the coolest summer of the next 125.” That may not be in our lifetime, but it’s in our children’s and certainly our grandchildren’s. We need to do more, and we absolutely are becoming more and more aware each day which is certainly a positive step in the right direction. For many, myself included, how to be more sustainable in our everyday lives can be completely overwhelming, but as Anna @zerowastechef said: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” Every little helps, and EVERY person helps, but the time is now 🌎 I want to do more and I want to learn more, so please if you have any, tag your favourite sustainable accounts, environmental charities, volunteer groups and so on below👇🏻Let’s learn together and let’s help do do our bit for our planet together 🖤 #luxsouthariatoll #filmm

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There’s a huge amount of changes I can make in order to lead a more sustainable lifestyle all round, but like many of you, you probably feel a bit overwhelmed about where to start? So I started with achievable changes; changes that I knew I could manage and then build on that. Small changes are better than no changes – don’t forget that!

 

Basically, this:

 

My aim:

To seriously cut down (if not completely which is quite the challenge with the amount of plastic supermarkets in particular use) on any single-use plastic

Stop using any items that I use once and then throw away e.g. cotton pads

Be more mindful about products (and the packaging of those products) I’m using on a daily basis

Cut down on meat and dairy.

RECYCLE RESPONSIBLY

This may sound stupidly obvious but I definitely wasn’t recycling responsibly before I started paying attention properly. Once you start reading recycling labels on packets properly it becomes painfully apparent how few items are actually recyclable. Especially from your weekly supermarket shop – for example, the other day we had a packet of prawns. The film was ‘Not Yet Recycled’ (sick of reading that at this point), the tray was Widely Recycled’, and the label was also ‘Not Yet Recycled’ – but guess where the label was, stuck firmly on the recyclable tray. Face palm. Once you start becoming conscious of how little is actually recyclable and how much you are spending on helping to landfill, you start shopping a little differently – you start picking things up and looking at the recycle instructions before putting them in your basket. It definitely helps you shop more responsibly. Earlier this year I watched ‘Drowning in Plastic‘, a BBC documentary and that really kickstarted things for me – it’s a real wake up call. I still have a huge list of other documentaries I want to get through to expand my knowledge but I would really recommend watching Drowning in Plastic.

BUYING INTO RETAIL

This is such a difficult one, especially in my industry of work. But as a general rule, I really do try now to buy only things that will have a long life in my home or even my wardrobe. I try to buy less into trends that will bore me in a few months time and more into classic neutrals that I will never tire of. The same applies to clothes shopping if I stick to buying black, white, greys, creams etc rather than wild colours and prints that just aren’t me, I will wear them for years and years to come – and they go with a lot more in my wardrobe so it makes much more sense. I also try to spend up a little bit with items I wear a lot – take knitwear for example, I invest more in slightly more expensive pieces such as cashmere which will last much longer without bobbling up but mentally knowing I’ve spent more on that piece of knitwear discourages me from buying multiple cheap pieces of knitwear from elsewhere that I don’t need (I’m just buying because they’re such a bargain) and which won’t last half as long as well made pieces. Also on the subject of retail – if you are getting rid of anything, please take everything possible to charity shops, don’t just fill your bin.

MEAT

If the world reduced meat consumption by 15% (by doing Meatless Monday), it would have the same impact on greenhouse gas emissions as taking 240 million cars off the road each year.

We have cut down eating meat to 2-3 days a week, yes we can still do better but if everybody was to cut down meat to a few days a week then it would be much better for the environment than just one person cutting it out completely. That’s the bigger picture. It’s difficult for those of us that have grown up and spent our entire lives eating meat every week to just suddenly stop eating it, not just because we like meat but because it’s difficult to suddenly start cooking differently, to get into a routine of cooking vegetarian recipes – but we are getting there and I’m really happy with our progress so far!

“When the last tree is cut down, the last fish is eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money” Alanis Obomsawin

“The best thing to do is to stop eating meat. Brazil is the biggest beef producer and exporter in the world, producing 20% of the world’s beef. Because it’s a good way to make money, the Amazon rainforest is being burnt down to make room for grazing land for beef. In order to stop this, we have to bring down our demand for meat because if we don’t, they will happily supply it by destroying the Amazon rainforest. The way you spend your money influences the world we live in, if you keep giving it to those who effectively destroy our planet, you can’t expect anything other than destruction.” Simple and Kind

Meat and other animal products are responsible for more than half of food-related greenhouse gas emissions, despite providing only a fifth of the calories we eat and drink. BBC News

DAIRY

We have massively cut down on dairy too – especially milk which we used to consume quite a lot of daily and we have swapped to home-made plant-based milks (more below). The only thing I have dairy milk, for now, is for in my cups of tea, just whilst I experiment with different plant-based milks to find one I like in tea! But to make up for this, I no longer buy dairy milk from the supermarket so at least I’m not buying single-use plastic, we have a local milkman via Milk & More (which I highly recommend) so the milk is delivered in glass bottles which is re-used and then eventually recycled.

Milk bottle holder from Lisa Valentine Home [gifted]

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

PLANT-BASED MILK

Almond Cow. [gifted] This machine has changed our lives. Honestly.

Of course, there are many different plant-based milks available online and in the supermarkets but with the aim of cutting down on buying unnecessary throw-away cartons (even if recycled we were getting through a lot of cartons of milk a week) and to enable us to be in total control of what ingredients go into our milk, after some time spent researching, Almond Cow was the answer for us.

Almond Cow does not just limit you to one type of plant-based milk, they have a huge variety of recipes available, from almond milk to oat milk to walnut milk to coconut milk and the list goes on… but it doesn’t stop at milk. You can make other beverages in the Almond Cow – from lattes to cocktails, and then lastly since the Almond Cow ensures there is zero waste left from the ingredients, they even provide a range of recipes to use up the pulp!

I was going to go into great detail about this product in this post but I’ve actually decided to do a completely separate blog post (which will be up next week) about it like it deserves – I will also be sharing a how to use the Almond Cow over on my IGTV because it’s such an incredible product, you will be seeing a lot of this, that I can promise you.

I’m absolutely over the moon to be working with Almond Cow, I’m so passionate about this incredible product which both h- we were about to buy an Almond Cow and during an exchange of messages when I was asking a product question, Almond Cow asked if I would like to join their influencer programme – so, of course, I jumped at the chance since we were about to purchase one anyway!

In the meantime, please do watch this video below to quickly see how easy it is to make your own plant-based milk in less than a minute. After all, this is the video that sold the video to me. But the bottom line is, it’s so damn easy to make your own plant-based milk with the Almond Cow, I never imagined it could be so easy!

And if you are as taken as we were by this video, you can get money off your own Almond Cow with my code LUSTLIVING here

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

ZERO WASTE NEAR ME

So that’s meat and dairy covered, but that still leaves all of the other food that fills our supermarket trolley, fruit, veg, pasta, rice etc – everything that the supermarkets wrap in plastic! Once ODDBOX expand and start delivering outside London, I will definitely be ordering my fruit and veg from them – they have a very small amount of plastic in their boxes but you can email and request a completely plastic free box and they will exclude any items that have plastic packaging. If you aren’t familiar with ODDBOX:

“Over a third of all the food we produce gets wasted before it’s even left the farm. If food waste was a country, it’d be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. ODDBOX is London’s first and only sustainable fruit & veg subscription box that fights food waste with every box.”

Another great alternative to the supermarket is finding your local zero waste store. Although if you use that site, be warned your nearest store may not be listed on there – ours isn’t! But basically it’s like a re-fill station, so you can take your own storage jars and refill everything from flour to pasta to laundry fabric liquid and shampoo. And of course, there’s the benefit of no single-use plastic or packaging that will simply need to be thrown away.

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

It’s hard to be prepared constantly and have your food and drink ready for on the go – but if you can do it and prepare it at home, it will save you money and you won’t have to buy any plastic with your meal deal! Here’s my round-up of my favourite on the go storage pieces:

 

 

 

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

SKINCARE

I’ve changed my skincare routine. I no longer buy or use face wipes or cotton pads. Whilst some brands of face wipes are biodegradable, most are not good for the environment and the same goes for cotton pads – see this article here for more information on the negative effects of cotton pads – and when I think about the huge amount of waste created from this when there are other re-usable options, it’s pretty terrifying! So I’ve officially swapped to re-usable options. I’ve swapped face wipes (which I previously used to remove makeup) to the Face Halo – you just add water to remove makeup and you get up to 200 uses (just wash up to 60 degrees and reuse)! For cleansing I previously used cotton pads, I have now swapped these for reusable organic bamboo pads – which can be washed and reused about 1000 times!

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

When it comes to cleaning products, there are two brands I tend to stick to and have been for the last few years – well three if you include Method, but I heard rumours that they had recently been taken over and are no longer the clean brand they used to be… but I could be wrong. But the two brands that I continue to stick with are Tincture and Wilton London, and both companies are extremely passionate about environmental issues and have shared some really interesting food for thought…

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

I’ve been using Tincture products [gifted] in my home for a couple of years now, I’ve never really been a fan of the smell of bleach, or even using it so a more natural approach to cleaning really appealed to me. “Made here in the UK from all natural ingredients derived from plant extracts, essential oils and anti-microbial active silver, TINCTURE cleaning products have the power to clean the home without the need for harsh chemicals.” My favourite product has to be the washing up liquid, and recently they have launched their refill bottles – you can recycle these, but I think I will be more inclined to rinse mine thoroughly once they are empty and use them for other types of storage!

TINCTURE DISCOUNT CODE: LLSAVE15 – Until 31st October 2019

Angelica – founder of Tincture started her business after years of researching indoor air pollution, which all started when she was in the maternity ward with her newborn, surrounded by “noxious, strong, artificial” cleaning smells.

“Over the coming years, I spent my time researching indoor air pollution. In particular, I came across a shocking body of research from the Environmental Protection Agency in both the UK and the US which revealed that the typical air inside a typical home, school or workplace can be up to five times more polluted than the air directly outside.

I also found that 93% of our children breathe in air that contains higher concentrations of pollutants than deemed safe for human health.

This research wasn’t just limited to one country or industry. The more I read, the more I realised that this was a well researched concern – it just wasn’t one that has reached the mainstream media yet.

The problem is that over the past decade we have become ‘an indoor generation’. We have forgotten about nature and we now spend 90% of our time indoors in closed environments.

Fundamentally we are born with a deep connection to nature and the outside; natural light and fresh air, all of which improve our bodies and mind. But over the years we’ve moved inside to spend more time in our homes – the ones we have built to be well insulated let nothing escape, neither heat nor air.

We cook, eat, sleep, work, play, sweat and shower in our houses. We use dehumidifiers, fans, radiators, air fresheners – all of which make our homes more comfortable but don’t purify our air – in most cases actually masking and compounding the problem rather than improving indoor air quality.

As the air inside our homes has turned bad, the popularity of home fragrance and candles has increased, as we try to treat the ‘smells’ with a chemical fix. We are replacing nature and outdoor air with artificial products capturing ‘sea breeze’ and ‘frosted pine’ is chemically driven products.

Researchers identified the main culprits as volatile chemical compounds (VOCs), which are released by household products such as cleaners, candles, diffusers, plug-ins and air fresheners. This is when I decided to look at the cause rather than just treat the symptoms.

Millions of homes are unhealthy to live in and increase the risk of developing asthma by 40%. In the UK today 1 in 11 children are receiving treatment for asthma. Poor indoor air quality is the primary cause for many who suffer from asthma and allergies. Shockingly, children’s rooms generally have the highest level of toxins in the house.

As I continued reading and learning, I began to realise just how enormous the impact toxic household chemicals were potentially having on the health and wellbeing of my four children. I needed to find an alternative that would allow my family to live in a clean and comfortable space but didn’t contain any of the nasties that could cause harm.

And so TINCTURE was born.”

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

The other brand I whole-heartedly recommend is Wilton [gifted]. I’ve been using their products for years – the laundry products are my particular favourite, let me tell you, once you try it, you won’t go back. And your laundry will never smell the same again! But on a serious note, they contain no nasties with a plant-based formula and their bottles are made from recycled and easily recycled plastic.

Sam from Wilton is extremely passionate about raising awareness and interestingly, misconceptions about plastic and the environmental impact:

“Glass beverage bottles cause the most carbon environmental damage! Reusing a glass bottle three times lowers its carbon footprint roughly to that of a single-use plastic beverage bottle. But if the plastic bottle gets recycled/re-used, then the glass bottle must be reused 20 times to make their carbon footprint comparable. Which I think is quite surprising. . . and one of the reasons we don’t use glass bottles.

The other really big thing that I don’t think gets discussed, is that if we stop using plastic, and use ‘renewable’ sources for everything – how long will it take until those renewable sources become unsustainable due to overuse. Interestingly, plastic was invented to solve the overuse of certain natural resources. So, let’s say we swap everything plastic for a paper alternative. What would happen to our trees and rainforests that are relied upon to curb global warming?! This is a really interesting podcast that talks around this, it’s REALLY worth a listen. https://open.spotify.com/episode/0oBqUNuBuKGX4qWoUwXPMt?si=wyCMphwVTAOXQEvroWmizQ

We need to stop using unnecessary plastic and unnecessary plastic products. I think a good example to bring up here is plastic straws. For good reason, many companies have stopped using plastic straws swapping them for ‘paper’ straws (many plastic straws are lined with plastic ). Interestingly, McDonald’s made this move and recently announced it has made recycling more difficult as the new paper straws are more difficult to separate. This leads to my point, how about we just stop using straws? Ok, I appreciate some people for various reasons need to use straws, but you can now buy stainless steel reusable straws for example.

We need to use plastic that is recyclable – I think that’s so important. Instead of stopping using plastic altogether. If we stopped using hard to recycle plastic, and non-recyclable plastic (some you can’t recycle full stop) this problem could almost go away. Hear me out, currently, during the recycling process, there are lots of items that can’t be recycled – these have to go to landfill. These items also make it much harder to siphon out the good plastic and re-use it. But imagine if all of the bad plastic wasn’t there, all of a sudden recycling would be easy and so much more would be re-used. There are simple choices companies can make, for example, our caps are a particular type of black plastic that is recyclable, it doesn’t cause the problems caused by most black plastic in the sorting process. This is because our black plastic is not carbon dyed. Just imagine if every company that uses black plastic did this!

I often get asked, “can you make your bottles out of biodegradable plastic’. The answer is yes, but we don’t think this is an answer. Instead, ‘Bio-degradable’ plastic is a product of companies trying to look like they’re doing their bit. Let me explain, firstly, biodegradable plastic will not biodegrade if left in your garden. It needs to be specially treated at a special degrading plant (it needs a lot of warmth to degrade), otherwise, it’s just like normal plastic. The problem is, just about none of this consumer plastic finds it’s a way to the special recycling facilities. It either goes to landfill or into the normal recycling stream. In a landfill, it just sits there and in terms of recycling, it actually causes more problems because it contaminates and degrades the quality of the other plastic in there!”

Interesting hey?

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Alongside cleaning liquids, I also use cleaning tools every day, particularly in the kitchen. So I’ve ditched plastic washing-up brushes with replaceable heads  (which are just £2.50!) and dustpans and swapped them for wooden and steel alternatives from Lisa Valentine Home [gifted] – which let’s face it, look better anyway!

SAVE ON ORDERS OVER £10 AT LISA VALENTINE HOME UNTIL 5TH NOVEMBER 2019 WITH CODE: LUSTLIVING 

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

If you prefer heading to your re-fill store for your fairy liquid or your shampoo and conditioner or maybe you’re making your own natural concuction for your kitchen disinfectant, Tilly & Sage [gifted] have some gorgeous refillable glass (and plastic if you are worried about breakages) bottles which I absolutely love! Who said zero waste had to be boring?

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Achievable Ways To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle

OTHER SMALL CHANGE STILL TO MAKE

  • Swap to Plant-Based Compostable & Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags – and the same for bin liners!
  • Change to an electric car – this is our goal for 2020 fingers crossed – we are looking at the Kia e-Niro! It’s the first ever electric car to get What Car? Of the Year! (2019)
  • Start using a menstrual cup instead of tampons
  • Buy only 100% recycled toilet paper from Who Gives A Crap – and the same for kitchen towel paper

 

I’m sure there will be much more to add to this list as time goes on, but for now, I think this is a great start. I’d love to hear what sustainable changes you are making so please do leave a comment below and let me know!