Whether it’s a down to the so-called Greta Thunberg effect, the #zerowaste movement or everyone’s obsession with straws, the question of how to live sustainably is moving into the forefront of our minds.
With the topic (finally!!) gaining traction in the European Parliament, sustainable living has become more than a buzz-word. Whether it’s teenagers striking school for climate change, or shoppers putting pressure on big brands and corporations to be more transparent when it comes to sustainability and ethnical practice, individual efforts have never been more imperative.
That said, trying to live sustainably is no easy feat – especially if you live in a city where growing your own organic veg is a little unrealistic. Rather than thinking the only way you can make a difference is if you go totally off-grid, subsist exclusively on a raw-vegan diet, and use leaves instead of toilet paper, you should view the effort to live sustainably as an effort to make as little impact on the earth as far as is practical and reasonable.
A sustainable, environmentally-conscious lifestyle isn’t just for the privileged. Whether you’re a student, a cash-strapped young professional or just looking to re-evaluate your lifestyle, there’s a little something any of us can do to live sustainably.
Undoubtedly, in the wake of Strawgate, you’ll have a reusable straw in your arsenal – maybe even a metallic water bottle and a bamboo lunchbox. A portable, homemade lunch is a great option if you’re aiming to live more sustainably. Supermarket meal deals come with a lot of single-use plastic waste; not only that, a few meal deals a week can really add up, and they’re not always the healthiest (or cheapest!!) option either.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your library lunches, try going plant based. Everyone’s favourite adopted grandfather, David Attenborough, recently said that to live sustainably, “we can’t go on eating meat at the rate we have been” – and anything David says is basically gospel. A sustainable diet doesn’t strictly constitute an exclusively vegan one, but reducing your consumption of meat, processed foods and dairy will definitely have an enormous impact in reducing your carbon footprint.
Rethinking your shopping habits
Armed with your canvas shopper or mesh net bag, when it comes to meal prepping, start making more conscious choices when you’re doing the weekly Tesco-run. Where you can, choose package-free produce, and long-life cupboard staples, to cut down on food waste. That way, not only will you be reducing demand for the industrialised meat market, but you won’t end up binning those chicken breasts your forgot were at the back of the fridge.
Whilst a self-supporting veggie patch isn’t feasible for many of us, kitchen counter-top composting is always an accessible option.
Sustainable shopping extends beyond the realms of the kitchen though. When it comes to cleaning, look for non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products. Don’t be put off by the jargon – sustainable cleaning supplies don’t need to be the fancy and overpriced stuff you’d only see in Goop. You can find green cleaning brands like Method’s £3 bathroom cleaner in Asda!
The making of a sustainable #shelfie
Whilst you might have mocked/recoiled at the fact your brother uses the same one product for all of his self-care needs, multipurpose products are a great way to reduce your plastic consumption, and your monthly Superdrug bill. The cruelty-free shower gel brand Original Source recently brought out a foaming body wash – the ideal one-stop for washing and shaving.
For extra sustainability points, go old-school. Ditch the bottled hand soap for bars of soap: they’ll save on plastic and last longer than their bottled counterpart. When it comes to hair care, Lush is the place to go for non-toxic, package-free and vegan shampoo and conditioner bars, which lather up well enough to put any squished TRESemmé bottle to shame.
Turns out there’s more to a sustainable bathroom cabinet than just bamboo toothbrushes!
Supporting slow fashion
Here at Society19, we like to keep on top of the trends when it comes to fashion, and one trend that isn’t going anywhere (thankfully!) is the anti-fast fashion movement. If you’re trying to live sustainably, stop throwing your money at the latest drop at Primark every month! Think before you buy: will you like it six months from now? It may be cheap, but is it going to last? Could you buy it second hand?
If you ask yourself these questions before you buy on impulse, the planet and your bank account will thank you for it. Ditch following the in-and-out fashion trends in favour of finding your personal style and curating a timeless wardrobe of minimalist pieces you’ll wear trans-seasonally. When it comes to supplementing your collection, give Ebay or Depop a try: not only will you save £££s, but you’ll also be reusing a pre-loved piece. If you’re looking for any more reasons to join the fight against fast fashion, give Stacey Dooley’s harrowing documentary into Fashion’s Dirty Secrets a watch.