As my own personal sustainability journey progresses I am becoming more and more aware of what I choose to purchase and consume. I am slowly learning about how each choice we make has a ripple effect, it supports certain production processes and practices and impacts real peoples lives; and as a result I want to make the best choices I can. In short, I want to consume more consciously.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am no zero-waste vegan who fits all their trash in a single kilner jar. I’m new to this and have a long way to go. I’m still a typical millennial living in a capital city, just one who is trying to consume a little less and minimise a little more. Hopefully these swaps and switches I have made can inspire you to make similar ones too!
In an effort to reduce my plastic consumption I have stopped purchasing chewing gum (as well as many other plastic items, click here to learn more). I used to go through a pack every couple of days but since learning that it doesn’t biodegrade as it contains plastic, I have given it up. Did you know that Wrigleys is one of the biggest polluters in the world? Thats because every single piece of gum they produce ends up as long lasting waste within minutes of being purchased.
Face wipes do not biodegrade, which is such a shame as they’re the so damn convenient. However, I don’t want to contribute a face wipe a day to our overflowing landfills so I have switched up my makeup removal routine. A few months ago I moved over to using a cleanser with a muslin cloth to clean my face and I love it, I can’t imagine going back to wipes! You can purchase reusable clothes and pads online.
I used to love mini beauty products, for some reason their cute packaging brought me so much joy. However, I recently stopped investing in them because of the exact packaging I used to be such a fan of! Mini products can be used up in only a couple of days whereas their packaging will last for hundreds of years. Instead I like to buy larger products and then decant them into smaller containers for travel. I also purchase reusable packaging such as the lush shampoo bars which come in a metal tin and can be refilled in store!
Most tampons won’t biodegrade as they’re laced with plastic fibres; and those with applicators produce double the waste. As a result I recently switched to a menstrual cup. I admit, it took some getting used to but now I can’t imagine not using one. They’re game-changing. I do admit though, I sometimes use some non-applicator, organic and biodegradable tampons for the last day of my cycle as my flow is so light (from Thinx). However, the rest of the time I stick to a Organicup menstrual cup during the day as well as Thinx “period pants” underwear at night.
I used to love cashing in on trendy fashion items each season but times have changed. Having learnt that it takes 2700 litres of water to make a t shirt (equivalent to what we drink in 3 years) and 200 gallons to make a pair of jeans (equivalent to almost 300 showers), I am trying to reduce my clothing consumption. Instead of buying lots of trend lead items, I focus on investing in classic and timeless pieces in a “less but better” approach. Less items of clothing which are of better quality. And if I really want to get something trendy? I buy it secondhand.
If you want to know more about reducing your waste and sustainability issues check out my other articles: