Since I started on this sustainable journey, I didn’t think twice about the effect that my shopping habits had on the environment or the people living in it. It has become apparent that there are so many things that I use on a daily basis that can quite easily be swapped for items that are less harmful. For me, it’s not only been the physical swaps but my mental attitude toward what and how I buy things.
1. Investing in reusables
There are a few things that I have invested in lately, 3 being reusable bags, a travel mug and a water bottle. These items didn’t cost me a lot and are actually really useful to have on you. For example, my mug not only is better for the environment but keeps my tea/coffee hotter for longer which is great when you’re always on the go; my bag allows me to take home twice as much from an Aldi food shop and doesn’t give me sore hands like a heavy plastic bag does; and my water bottle has increased the amount of water that I drink as I now carry it everywhere (I am rubbish at keeping hydrated and I refused to buy multiple plastic bottles on the go so headaches were a very common thing in my life).
2. Changing my cosmetic tools
As someone that wears make up 6/7 days a week, I used to go through quite a lot of cotton pads at the end of each day to remove it so purchasing make up flannels that I can wash and reuse has been a very worthwhile swap. I also tend to go through 5-10 cotton buds a week due to the struggle of putting on eye liner (girls I’m sure some of you will relate to me on this) and even more when dying my eye brows (even with a brush I cannot get the shape neat without using them) so invested in some organic cotton buds that have FSC paper sticks!
3. Wardrobe habits
Anyone that knows me, knows that I have a rather large wardrobe (a good 4/5 rails worth), a big portion of which I acquired on my placement year and so as a result I haven’t had the urge to buy anything for a while (apart from shoes - they are my kryptonite). I’m genuinely very good at wearing everything I own and making sure that I wear them over a long period of time (most of my of jackets/trousers for example are 2-4 years+) however I love the feeling of being/wearing something new as much as the next person. I never used to go into charity shops and used to assume that the clothes found in them were old/smelt but since starting this project they’ve become my favourite place to shop. I’ve learnt that you get to shop for next to nothing, know that you’ve saved another item from landfill (a massive problem) and bring something home that you know is going to stand the test of time (because let’s face it, if it’s in a charity shop then it’s already likely to have lasted a while/be of a quality that they think will sell), so in my opinion it’s a win-win situation!
4. Increasing my consciousness
For me, the hardest and most important thing has been to change my attitude towards consuming. For 23 years I have bought without a second thought to how something is made, I didn’t consider the process, the effort or the distance that something would travel before it ended up in my life. Nor did I consider the effect that it would have after I no longer needed/wanted it. The conscious effort to remember to bring a bag, mug or bottle, to say ‘no straw please’ or to research the materials/origin of the product that I am buying into is something that I have had to consciously try to do. It isn’t something that initially comes naturally, it does take time and it is frustrating or disheartening when you’re in a rush or simply not thinking and forget, but it is something that I genuinely believe is worth it and makes you feel good.
No one is perfect and no single person can change the world on their own but if everyone made one small effort, the effect that we’d have in numbers would be so great that we would see a change in the effect we’re having on the world.
Make up cloth