Today Sydney hit 44 degrees celsius and it got me thinking about climate change. Products, waste and rubbish is being produced faster then ever, and it is clear that humans are the cause of this. There are many things we can do to reduce our carbon foot print and do our part for the environment. Here are some smalls things that I like to do and reuse.
Although these tips are nothing new, they are nice to be reinforced because every little bit we do counts!
1) Purchase a reusable coffee cup (especially if you get a takeaway coffee everyday). I cannot tell you how much of a difference this makes. I work on a coffee machine at a very busy café in Sydney and it is crazy how many takeaway coffee cups we go through. These coffee cups, along with the plastic lids do not recycle. The misconception is that because they look like cardboard they will recycle, but they have a plastic lining that contributes to environmental waste.
The café I work at stocks reusable, handmade ceramic keep cups (pictured below). These are so beautiful and popular.
Our regular customers at the cafe (that usually purchase 2 coffees a day) all have their keep cups too.
2) Bring reusable bags to the shopping center. Definitely the most basic tip but it makes a huge difference too. Plastic bags take 1000 years to breakdown, pollute our water ways, harm animals and are a non renewable resource. I picked up my reusable bag from Harris Farm. It is so big that I can usually fit in all my groceries, and it is really easy to carry. I also have a large back pack that I use for everyday use, so if I haven’t bought my large bag I put my items into my back pack.
3) Ban using plastic straws. Single use plastic will end up in landfill that take hundreds of years to break down. 500 million straws are used a day, and usually for only 10-20 minutes. They contain BPA, so they cannot be recycled! If you’re out at a bar, refuse the straw and if you do enjoy using one you can buy reusable straws online. We have one at home that we use to drink smoothies.
4) Reuse glass and plastic jars for things around the house. We wash and keep most of the jars that our pasta sauces, peanut butters and coffee comes in. Although most do recycle, I have been surprised about what you can do with them. I store most of my pantry items in these jars. We also use them to hold things like toothbrushes, cleaning products and we use them for smoothies/iced drinks!
5) Stop buying plastic toothbrushes and purchase a bamboo toothbrush (you can get them in bulk packs). 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away a year and are added to landfill. They will not break down in our lifetime. Bamboo toothbrushes are made from a self-renewing natural cellulose fibre and are biodegradable. They are usual BPA safe and fair traded. You can purchase them online, or I have seen them sold at local markets.
6) Plant some produce at your home. If you do not have much space you can at least grow your own herbs at home. We only have a small balcony at my house in Sydney but we grow our own basil, chili, cherry tomatoes and mint. I use the basil and cherry tomatoes in recipes all the time. My parents house has much more room and they also grow a lot of produce. By growing your own produce and plants it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, supplies you with your own fresh organic food, saves you money and saves you buying produce wrapped in plastic. It is also extremely satisfying eating something you have grown!
7) Reduce your meat intake. You do not have to go fully vegan or vegetarian to make a difference. The meat production/consumption has increased 20 per cent in only 10 years and is one of the number one contributing factor to climate change. Producing beef alone is the worst offender for carbon emissions. By eating less meat you are reducing your own carbon footprint, and every little bit counts.
Alas, communication about all these things is the biggest tool you can have. If you can impact anyone to become a little more sustainable then you are contributing and honoring the environment. Together we can make a difference.