Simple things to buy/do to create a more sustainable lifestyle for yourself:

Bamboo toothbrushes:
Switching out the conventional plastic toothbrush in your bathroom for a bamboo model is one of the simplest things the public can do to help reduce their ecological impact. Currently, bamboo toothbrushes can be found in almost any supermarket, pharmacy, etc and would make a real difference in an individual’s negative impact in the personal hygiene sector.
Why bamboo instead?
A large number of bamboo products, especially toothbrushes are
biodegradable meaning they can break down and very quickly. Whereas their traditional counterparts (plastic) can take comfortably over 1,000 years. The American Dental Association says that on average, the public swap out their old toothbrushes for replacements every three or four months, meaning altogether the world would send 23 billion toothbrushes to landfill annually.

Soft plastic recycling:
Here in Australia, there is a soft plastic recycling program called ‘Redcycle’ (https://www.redcycle.net.au/) that our two major supermarkets are part of. The idea is simple, every time you buy something with soft plastic packaging, you place the waste in a bag or special bin in your house and once full, take the bag up to the local supermarket to place in a specific bin. This bin will then be emptied taking all the soft plastics to a special facility to recycle all the content into park benches, children’s toys, etc. If you don’t live in Australia but would like to help, simply try and find a soft plastic recycling program near you and help save billions of plastic rubbish from landfills and oceans.
Why recycle soft plastic?
On average, the world produces around 380 million tons of soft plastic each year
and yet, less than 20% of it is recycled in some way and instead sent to landfill.
Around 8 million tons of soft plastics now enter the oceans each year. Experts
believe that by 2050, the amount of human rubbish will easily outnumber the
amount of marine life. By sending your soft plastics to a recycling program like
Redcycle, you can help drastically reduce your overall waste and save
thousands of animals each year.

Reusable coffee cups:
Reusable coffee cups are very much underrated as most people believe single-use cups are recyclable…only they’re not. The majority of single-use coffee cups have a thin lining of plastic that wraps around the top of the cup. That tiny portion of the entire cup is unfortunately the leading factor as to why they can’t be recycled.
Therefore, reusable coffee cups would play a major role in removing rubbish from landfills. Similar to bamboo toothbrushes, reusable coffee cups can be found in heaps
of locations. Supermarkets, online stores, retail shops, etc. Despite the environmental
factor, your pockets will also thank you as a large number of stores will charge you extra for the single-use cup your drink is served in.
Why should I purchase a reusable coffee cup?
In Australia alone, one billion single-use coffee cups are thrown away annually! Imagine what the statistics are for the other 55 countries with even higher populations. Another problem with a conventional coffee cup is that while the paper breaks down in landfills, the plastic linings that go around the cup won’t and instead will sit in the landfill for hundreds of years. Purchasing a reusable coffee cup is an extremely simple activity that will benefit your pockets, as well as help reduce the number of single-use cups that end up in landfills.

Palm oil-free products:
Palm oil is one of the largest culprits to one of the biggest environmental problems in the world. According to the WWF (World Wild Fund for Nature), there are many everyday products that contain palm oil including lipstick, instant noodles, pizza dough, shampoo, ice cream, margarine, chocolate, detergent, cookies, soap, biodiesel, packaged bread, peanut butter and more. Trying to find palm-oil free versions of these products in most countries shouldn’t be too difficult as there are now many laws around making sure the use of palm oil is clearly labelled on the packaging. However, it is up to you to do the right thing and make sure that everything you purchase is certified to be palm-oil free.
What’s the issue with palm oil?
Every minute, around 48 American football fields worth of trees are cut down and around 137 species are driven to extinction every day. According to the WWF, palm oil continues to be a large culprit in the destruction of forests and other natural habitats. The problem is that with the ever-growing human population the demand for palm oil increases, especially when it’s the main ingredient in so many products. By removing palm oil usage in your daily life, you can help be a part of eliminating the destruction of forests, ecosystems, species and more…just by cutting out palm oil usage.

Food waste in the garden and food waste bin:
In Australia, each council will have a specific bin anyone is allowed to purchase that can be used to place garden waste and food scraps in, yet very few people appear to know that. The idea is very simple. Collect your food waste in a little bin and throw all the content out each night or two into the main food/green bin. In my council, the bin has a green lid but this may vary especially in other countries. The content allowed to be placed in the food/green bin may differ in area, state or country so make sure to check out your local rules. In my area absolutely all foods can go in, tea bags/leaves, paper towel that is wet with cooking oil, fats, water, etc or has had contact with solid food, coffee filter papers and grounds, nuts/seeds, fruit and vegetable stones and shredded paper etc.
Why throw out your food waste into the garden and food waste bins?
Currently, one-third of all food produced is thrown away which adds up to be 1.3 billion tons of food wasted annually worldwide. Unfortunately, a very large percentage of this is thrown into landfills. However, by placing your daily food scraps into the green bin the content will be sent to large industrial compost systems where (in Australia) the end soil will be sent to farmland in locations battling drought. Even if the end soil doesn’t generously get sent to places like this in your country, you will still be a part of turning your food and garden waste into fresh soil and natural goodness rather than directing the waste to landfills to sit for years and produce dangerous greenhouse gases like CH4 (Methane), which is 84 times more dangerous than CO2 (carbon dioxide) over a 20-year time frame.

Plant-based products:
Today there are many 100% plant-based products for hygiene, food, house cleaning and more. While many are sceptical about a plant-based future lifestyle for all of us, being able to eliminate the use of chemicals, greenhouse gas emissions and a drastic improvement in animal welfare will be almost compulsory in a future that’s apparently going to be ‘sustainable’. Today there are many products on the market for those who want to remove the use of dangerous chemicals and lower the size of their ecological footprint including plant-based soaps, shampoos, conditioners, dishwashing liquids, meats and more.
Why start buying plant-based products?
By purchasing plant-based products you will save hundreds of chemicals ever being
released which could potentially contaminate soil and waterways and help lower the
possible suffering of animals like cattle on farms, therefore leading to a greater lowering in your ecological footprint.

Using a reusable produce bag or paper bag:
When going to buy fruit, vegetables, nuts/seeds, etc at your local supermarket, taking a reusable produce bag or using a paper bag (should be provided at the store) to collect your produce would be an easy way of reducing your waste and your usage of plastic. A reusable produce bag can be found in heaps of stores online and can be reused hundreds of times. The idea is for it to act like the plastic bags you will find at the supermarkets for your fresh produce but removing the use of soft plastic and having the ability to be reused over and over again.
Why purchase a reusable produce bag instead?
Researchers suggest that around 300 million plastic bags end up in the Atlantic Ocean each year alone while even more get clogged up in landfills. In addition, an estimated 100,000 mammals and birds die annually from single-use plastic bags. By spending around $15 to $30 AUD ($10.92 to $21.84 USD) on a reusable produce bag that will last years, you can help tackle one of the biggest environmental problems, the plastic crisis, while still receiving your fresh and healthy produce.

Carbon neutral internet and data suppliers:
Signing up to carbon-neutral internet providers is a simple but very important thing to do. While many don’t know it, the usage of internet, data, etc create huge amounts of emissions globally, so signing up to a company that provides a carbon-neutral model is something that should be done.
Are internet and data suppliers actually large culprits in greenhouse gas emissions?
Internet usage produces 3.7% of all greenhouse gas emissions annually and is set to jump by 5% by 2025. While this current amount may seem small, that’s almost two billion tons every year. The equivalent of the entire world’s air traffic. While this may be considered poor, the data sector is also creating huge problems. Each year the energy usage for data doubles meaning the rise in emissions. By 2040, experts believe data usage will account for 14% of all emissions annually – that’s around 18 billion to 21 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions. By switching to an internet or data supplier that is carbon neutral, it’s bound to drastically help reduce your personal emissions. Quite a few companies are now becoming carbon neutral or may already be, so now is a good time to get on board and support businesses doing the right thing.

Buying local produce:
Purchasing local produce is a great way to cut down on your ecological footprint by collecting fresh food that has been sourced locally cutting down on food travel and resulting in fewer emissions. Putting aside the environmental factor, many people always say that local produce tastes better as it has travelled far less and is delivered to the store very soon after harvesting. Coronavirus has also taught us a lot about supporting local businesses and this is one of the easier ways of doing so while also receiving a quality product as the consumer.
How much more environmentally friendly is supporting local produce businesses?
10% to 30% of average household carbon footprints comes from food. This will be from many factors including land usage, water usage, energy usage, transportation, etc of the food eaten, so while cutting down on transportation won’t solve the whole problem, it will certainly help. The transportation factor of the food system accounts for quite a large amount of the greenhouse gases emissions, especially when sourcing your produce from major supermarkets that will have predominantly received the produce from other countries. By simply eating two avocadoes, the average carbon footprint is around 846.36 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2)! By sourcing your food from local businesses, you can help cut out large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions that come from producing food for people, with the elimination of long-distance travelling. Additionally, sourcing the food locally may be even more environmentally friendly as the shops may be closer to home limiting the distance your own car may have to travel. Also, don’t forget to bring your reusable produce bag!

Investing in new, more energy-efficient appliances:
Investing in new and more energy-efficient appliances like microwaves, ovens, dishwashers, washing machine cleaners and even hot water tanks may be a long-term goal but would make a real difference to your home’s energy efficiency. While this idea may be a long-term goal for many people, this is something that is very undervalued but is ultra-important and could drastically cut down your home’s emissions by massive amounts.
How much better would new energy-efficient appliances be?
Currently, 45% of an average household’s greenhouse gas emissions come from kitchen, laundry, etc appliances with the average house producing around 6 tons to 7.5 tons of emissions yearly. With more energy-efficient appliances, this figure could almost be halved. Today, there are roughly 1.1 billion housing units in the world and if all produced around the same figures labelled above, housing alone would produce around 6.6 billion tons to 8.25 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) annually. If a large number of people were to help out and purchase energy-efficient appliances, these horrific figures could be slashed.

Investing in solar panels:
Solar panels are quite an expensive purchase but are now viable and can be paid off after a few years. However, because this is not a cheap purchase, this could be similar to the last idea and join the long-term goal party. Eventually buying solar panels would be one of the better investments you could make benefiting the environment and your pockets. Purchasing solar panels would help lower your overall emissions that come from energy consumption and save you some cash along the way, with some days’ worth of energy being entirely free. What’s better is that if the solar panels are generating more energy than what’s being used (excess energy), you will actually be paid for sending the extras off to the grid for others to use. Sometimes waiting for government grants/incentives are really good ways of purchasing solar panels for your house at a far lower cost.
Why invest in solar panels?
According to Bill Gates, 27% of the 51 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions produced each year come from the use of energy for electricity to basically power our lives. That’s around 13.77 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions from this industry alone. By purchasing solar panels, you could help be a part of reducing these huge figures worldwide. While you alone aren’t going to make a serious dent in the emissions produced by the other 7.6 billion people, we have to start somewhere. Solar panel investment is also a good decision for your own financial benefits. The average house installed with solar panels saves around $1,390 AUD ($1,012 USD) per year. Over a 10-year to 15-year span, that could be a saving of around $13,900 to $20,850 AUD ($10,120 to $15,180 USD). Not only would solar panels be a wise investment for the planet but for your own financial benefit as well.

Picking up rubbish when going for a walk:
Unfortunately, there is a large number of people in modern society who believe it’s fine to litter, resulting in a tremendous amount of rubbish in urban and even rural locations. It’s also good to mention that litter can sometimes be accidental and simply slip away without notice from people or even fly out of landfills. One of the easiest things you can do when going for a walk or doing some form of physical exercise is to bring a bag/bucket and tongs and collect trash that may be near you to later dispose of correctly into park bins, your bins, etc.
Is picking up trash worth it?
In Australia alone, 7 billion cigarette butts are littered each year and one in ten of those end up in the oceans. Around the world, there are 4.5 trillion cigarette butts littered annually! To join the cigarettes, there are roughly 52 billion pieces of plastic that are littered annually with a large portion ending up impacting marine life or animals on land. So, is refusing to pick up a few pieces of trash really going to hurt you?
No, not you… but probably something else.

Conclusion:
These are a few of my suggestions to those who wish to make a positive impact and reduce their overall damage to the planet. There are many more ideas out there and are only a few searches away. Other simple ideas to think about could be vegetable gardening, planting a tree in your front or backyard, investing in eco companies, turning off power points, etc. I hope you may have gained some ideas and are now inspired to do something. Make a change!

Released on the 1st of October 2021. -KJDJ

2 thoughts on “Simple things to buy/do to create a more sustainable lifestyle for yourself:

  1. Love these suggestions!! I’ve been focussing lately on reducing food waste and have realised, despite my eco-conscious nature, that my family still generates a significant amount of food waste that we are now redirecting into composts, a worm farm and bokashi bins. We now rarely have more than one small bag of rubbish to send to landfill each week. I’d really encourage everyone to do an assessment of the waste their family generates and to take some of the tips in this blog post and give them a try. Even committing to one small change per week would make it manageable. Thanks for your tips eco addict kid!!

    Liked by 1 person

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