Eco-Friendly Living

The Eco-friendly master list: How can I be green?

With all the talk about the climate crisis, you might be asking “how can I live a more eco-friendly life?”. As today is World Environment Day, I’ve decided to compile a master list of eco-friendly practices to adopt. The environment is at a breaking point. If we don’t all act now and maintain a more sustainable lifestyle and society, there’s going to be no stopping global warming and ecological breakdown. Climate change isn’t going to be in a few decades or centuries time, the climate has changed, it’s happening now. Here’s lifestyle changes to adopt to live an eco-friendly life.

Here’s some eco-friendly things we can  all do:

Activism & Capitalism 

climate protest in paris, protester holds up poster of melting earth on an ice-cream cone

• Put your money where your mouth is and buy secondhand where possible and from sustainable companies when you need something new. Let non-environmental companies know why you won’t buy from them anymore and why & what they need to change

• Tell the government and politicians to get their shit together. To quote Danny Devito in It’s Always Sunny on Philadelphia: you have to be a real lowlife piece of shit to get into politics”. All our governments have been complicit in the climate crisis, but we need to start putting pressure on them to act. Ireland and the UK both announced climate emergencies, but we still need to make sure that they act on it – words and promises mean nothing from politicians, we need action. Vote for people committed to doing something and parties with green policies, talk to the rest about why this is something they need to change

• Say no to palm oil. Palm oil is unfortunately in almost everything so this means checking ingredients. The rain forest – and therefore the wildlife and even people living there – are suffering because of trees being cut down for it. The Amazon is the lungs of the earth. Companies are being really shady and using different names for it, which you can familiarise yourself with hereSo don’t buy from people who use it where possible, and contact those who do and tell them you won’t be buying from them until they adopt more sustainable ingredients.

Diet & Lifestyle

cows on a farm

• Go vegan, or at least try Meat Free Monday. Animal agriculture contributes an awful lot from nature being cut down to grow crops to feed cattle (most soy is for livestock, not actually vegans) the Co2 and methane emissions, a lot of water use, etc You don’t NEED meat, eggs, or dairy to be healthy. You can get all the nutrients you need from plant based sources. However, veganism isn’t accessible to everyone so trying Meat Free Monday and putting some oat milk in your coffee is also fantastic! 

• You should cut down on or stop eating fish altogether because most of the  plastic in the ocean is left over from fishing. You can replace the omega 3 with: algal oil and algal supplements, and flax seeds.

Shopping 

a woman shopping holding bags

•  Try go zero-waste. Get a reusable coffee cup & water bottle, bring your lunch in a lunch box & take your own forks, get metal or bamboo straws, take tote bags shopping with you, buy lose fruit and vegetables, use shampoo bars etc. There’s going to be more plastic in the ocean than fish thanks to plastic pollution, don’t contribute more to it. Which means if you eat fish, you’re also eating microplastics from the ocean.

•  When you can’t go zero waste, get bamboo or compostable alternatives. Bamboo grows inches in a single day, absorbs more Co2 than trees, and is biodegradable. You can get bamboo: toothbrushs, coffee cups, clothes, socks, makeup brushes, bags, tissues, kitchen paper, toilet paper, the list is endless. 

• Buy secondhand clothing or from sustainable fashion brands, and only buy what you need. Fast fashion is well on it’s way to becoming the biggest polluter in the world from unethical production, short shelf-life, and over stock. You can find the exact same clothes on depop, such as the looks I created in my depop haul.

• Cotton is very unsustainable as it requires a lot of water and land to farm, and generates a lot of CO2 in the process, whereas, synthetic clothing, such as polyester, releases microfibres in the wash which ends up in the ocean. Try buy hemp and bamboo fabrics as they’re more sustainable, but also invest in a Guppy Bag to wash synthetic clothing in as it not only catches the microfibres, but also helps keep clothes in a good condition for longer.

• Carry around a reusable tote bag so you don’t need to take single-use paper or plastic bags from where you shop. That said, cotton has a high carbon footprint. It would be more eco-friendly to get one second-hand or made from more sustainable material, such as recycled fabric, or bamboo.

Waste Management 

yellow, blue, red, and green bins for waste, recycling and composting trash

• Get a compost bin. Everyone has food waste, and now so many single use coffee cups and food containers are also compostable. The less that goes to landfill the better.

• Recycle properly – make sure items are clean and dry, and if it doesn’t have the recycling symbol on it, then it’s not recyclable. Think of the poor people working in the recycling facilities who have to manually go through the bins, and find people’s smelly expired yogurt.

• Some animal shelters accept clean mascara wands as they’re small enough to brush baby animals, women’s shelters take clean lightly used cosmetics, and you can even donate bras to women in third world countries to help prevent them from assault as owning a bra is seen as a status symbol.

Re-purpose

upcycled project of flowers in old light bulbs - how to be more eco-friendly

•  Upcycle, donate, sell, or trade your stuff. Find new uses for old products, I used a broken coffee cup as a pot for my cactus. Donate old clothes to charity shops, trade with friends, upcycle, or sell on depop. Throwing stuff in the bin should be a last resort

• When you can make something yourself go for it, like cleaners with non-toxic ingredients, or face masks. Single use facemasks are really popular but they’re often not in recyclable packaging, mash some bananas and make your own face mask!

• Get refills. If you bring back 5 empty Lush pots you get a free facemask, Eden perfumes which are vegan alternatives to mainstream perfume (they even have a dupe of Fantasy by Britney Spears) refill your product, check for places who do this.

Live green 

windmills for sustainable energy in a sunflower field - how to be more eco-friendly

• If you can get green energy do it. If you’re in a position where you can get solar panels or use wind energy then go for it! Fossil fuels won’t last forever, and look at the damage they’ve caused.

• Plant for the pollinators. I’m scared of bees but I still want a beautiful garden, and right now plant stuff in my room, because bees and other insects like butterflies need food and in return they pollinate other flowers and keep nature alive and well, so we can eat and breathe. We absolutely cannot let the bees go extinct, or anything else for that matter. Here’s a blog post on how you can help out bees.

•  Change your search engine to Ecosia. Ecosia use their ad revenue to plant trees, and it takes approximately 45 searches to plant one, so far they’ve planted almost 60,000,000 trees!

What do you do to live a more eco-friendly life?

climate protest, poster reading: there is no planet b  - how to be more eco-friendly

15 thoughts on “The Eco-friendly master list: How can I be green?

  1. This is a great guide! So many people talk a big game but don’t stop to consider even the simply little changes they can make in their own lives to make a considerable difference. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Great article. I didn’t know that donating bras was a thing never mind the impact it can have. You know though there’s one that’s really obvious but I still see people do it and that’s buying fruit with a skin on it in plastic packaging. Bananas literally come in their own packaging and I think that would be a really simple initiative for supermarket to get on board with. Wouldn’t that be a really interesting campaign? I mean it wouldn’t save the world but I bet that’s a lot of plastic. Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration.

    1. Thank you! The plastic fruit comes in is ridiculous, nature gave them all skin for a reason. One supermarket, I think it was Aldi or Lidl, is starting to go zero-waste with their bananas so hopefully others follow suit.

  3. This is a great, in-depth guide 🙂 I had no idea you could donate mascara brushes to animal sanctuaries, but the thought makes my heart burst with joy! I’ll be telling others about that for sure. Also, I love your straight-talking, no-nonsense writing style- makes perfect sense, since there’s a climate emergency going on! There’s no time to mess around. Thank you <3

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