Listen, I’ll be frank with you – going green to save the planet is HARD.
I won’t sugarcoat it.
It’s so much easier and appears cheaper to just buy regular cleaning products and replace a new bottle of kitchen spray for 99p, rather than making your own, buying your own glass bottles and then refilling it or making another batch before it runs out.
It’s so much easier buying food in plastic packaging than taking a trip to your local grocery or market to pick up locally-made produce, fresh and plastic-free fruit, veg and bread.
But you know what?
Being conscious of our choices, how they affect our planet and future generations, then doing something about it is a crucial and an AMAZING thing. It matters.
It’s a good deed and one you may not feel like you’re receiving any praise for, or like you’re not being rewarded for it right now. People may judge you and label you as an “eco-warrior” or a “tree hugger” – screw them.
You care about the future of the planet, they don’t.
You care about what the world and climate is going to look like for your children, they don’t.
You’re making a statement about your choices and raising awareness and sparking conversations about making conscious and sustainable choices, they simply want to carry on living as if nothing they do matters.
Perhaps they don’t have all the facts they need, or need more time.
Whereas you’ve already done your research and know that you must do something about your daily lifestyle choices and products you use, to ensure that you’re impacting the earth positively.
I’m here to say: THANK YOU SO MUCH.
You are appreciated and you are a part of a larger community that tries to do good for our planet and our children.
I am also here to tell you 10 things I wished somebody told me, before going eco and trying to reduce my waste.
This is a big one – realistically, there is only so much you can do/change.
You can’t cut off your gas and electric supply to save the planet, right?
What you can do, is switch your supplier to renewable energy or carbon-neutral supplier.
You can’y throw away every plastic box of Tupperware you have, replacing it with glass or bamboo alternatives – that’s a waste of money and it’s added waste that ends up at landfills and our oceans.
Keep the utensils and essentials you use every day the same.
When you feel the need to change an item in your home, or if it’s really worn out, then you can research alternatives and try buying an eco version that doesn’t harm the planet.
The same goes for food – you can’t replace everything, and you can’t give up the food you really enjoy for the sake of going green. Not all of it anyway.
Although it can be about making sacrifices, there’s no need to be miserable because you had to swap your favourite bag of crisps for an alternative that comes in a paper bag.
Let me give an example – we love having hash browns or potato waffles with beans for breakfast on a Saturday. Hash browns come in plastic bags, whereas waffles come in a paper box.
We didn’t mind giving up hash browns, and we get to continue eating potato waffles with beans and we don’t feel miserable because we had to give up something. We can continue eating waffles with our beans.
Assess your home, including your kitchen and bathroom during your daily routine. How many items contain plastic or could be replaced with an alternative?
Make a list (this could be a long one, we use more plastic than we realise!)
Once you have your list, tick items that you know could be easily replaced the next time you run out and need to buy a new pack.
Now the items that are left, or difficult to swap – what are you going to do with those?
Feel guilty about not being able to swap them or buy a really expensive replacement to go fully eco?
Go easy on yourself, no need to feel guilty.
It’s all about prioritising and making choices.
For example, I love having kitchen towels in the kitchen. Although they come wrapped in a plastic bag, I know this is one of the things I couldn’t live without. To compensate, I make eco choices elsewhere, like using eco sponges and making my own kitchen spray that goes in a glass bottle.
If you have a baby and get through a ridiculous mountain of diapers (which are costly), are you seriously going to try and use natural diapers to avoid plastic waste?
Instead, look into other baby alternatives which don’t contain plastic – buy used toys or wooden ones. Buy used clothes.
it’s all about making this swap and eco journey suitable for you and your lifestyle.
Going less waste and green, is a huge change to your daily routine and makes a giant impact on your lifestyle.
With so much to change, it feels like an overwhelming mountain of tasks to whizz around your home, changing every product you use and every item on your shopping list.
It isn’t going to change overnight. It may take months or even years before you get into the flow of things and get into a habit of making the greener choice.
It’s a whole new habit, a whole new lifestyle – a bit like moving country, starting from scratch, in an unfamiliar territory, learning all the laws and rules, do’s and don’ts (although there really isn’t a rulebook for going green!).
Give yourself the time and space to slowly make the changes. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Don’t judge the pace of your progress. Progress is still progress.
Doesn’t matter if it takes you weeks, or years.
In case no one has told you – keep going, you’e making a difference and what you’re doing, seriously matters.
It may not feel like it, because you’re constantly trying to make a conscious effort to be eco and green, and produce less waste, but you feel like you’re getting nowhere because there is still so much more you can do.
Then there’s your neighbours, who couldn’t give a shit and continue choosing the easier route and throw away tons of plastic every damn week without a care in the world.
It might not feel like you’re making a difference – trust me, you are.
Your children and future generations will thank all of those that tried to make the effort, including you.
It matters and always will.
We’re a community and continue to grow – so keep going.
Your effort and choices matter, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
How much do you waste?
Food-wise, general waste, toothpaste tubs etc?
If you’re wasting lots, then it’s time to take an assessment to stop and rethink a few choices!
If you’re throwing away your leftover dinner – hold up! Can you put those leftovers for your lunch tomorrow?
Can you freeze it?
Can you leave it in the fridge in case you get peckish later?
The toothpaste waste – we’ve all done it. There could possibly be a bit more you can squeeze out of your tub, but when there is that fresh new tub looking very full and tempting, we reach for the fresh one.
To save waste, cut the bottom of the toothpaste and you’ll see how much is left in there. Maybe enough to keep you going for another week!
This would save you money as well as waste, as you’ll have more toothpaste for longer.
By sensible swaps, I mean essential things and swapping items that are harmful to the environment.
You don’t need to swap every single thing in your home for an eco version just because you’re trying to save the planet.
You don’t need to buy an eco notebook, or an eco wooden pen, or an eco cup and everything else that says eco, bamboo or recycled in the shop.
Some things are fine the way they are – I mean, do you really have that much money to replace everything in your home? Plus that means anything you replace/swap, will be thrown away and end up at landfill.
Make an honest assessment of your home and lifestyle and only swap immediate things like your food, cleaning products when you run out. Then, over the years, you’ll end up having things that you need to replace like a sofa, for an eco-friendly one or from a manufacturer that is carbon neutral/positive for example.
I wish I had a little eco faerie on my shoulder, telling me:
You’re doing great, you’ve made so much progress, keep going! Don’t give up!
Every time I felt a little hopeless, I would question my choices and how much effort I’ve put into this, without even feeling like I’d made a difference and they’ve found more plastic on beaches and single-use face masks everywhere…
The journey towards saving the planet is challenging, particularly if your friend and family don’t understand it, or don’t want to know about it – it can be isolating.
I am that eco-faerie on your shoulder whispering: Don’t give up you got this! You’re doing so well!
Proud of ya.
If you feel like you could benefit from a support circle, someone to motivate you and to keep going, try joining a local group!
It could be a local clean-up group, or a preservation club, or a group of people to gather, chat and exchange tips and advice on eco-solutions.
It will make you feel a part of something, and you won’t feel as isolated/lonely on the journey.
You’ll be surrounded by like-minded people, who will encourage you and help you to keep going, while also maybe giving you a good tip or 2!
There are plenty of eco shops right now. The best of it is, they’re mainly all independent!
By taking a trip to your local eco shop, not only will you be getting your refills and eco goodies, but you’ll also be supporting a local business.
Google “eco shop near me” and see what comes up. On your next shopping trip take a detour into the shop, check it out and hey maybe start chatting to the owner! Make an eco-friend 😉
Ask them for a few tips, any advice and try out new products – it could give you some inspiration and the motivation to keep going too.
What’s the reason for you going green and getting all these eco products?
Is it for the planet?
Is it because your friends are doing it?
Is it for your children’s future?
Or is it because you know the devastating facts of climate change and want to make a difference?
Get clear on your reason, because this will motivate you to keep going.
If your reason is that everyone else is doing it, then chances are that you’ll give up at the first hurdle because that isn’t really a genuine or a good reason to do anything, frankly.
If you’re not sure on the facts, do some research, watch a few climate change documentaries and know the devastating effects of our reckless actions on the planet.
Establish your reason, because during the moments you feel like giving up, you’ll remind yourself of the reason why you’re doing this and will be able to carry on.
Got anything to add? Anything you wished someone told you before you started this eco journey?
Feel free to share in comments below 🙂
Copyright Toucan Dream 2021