HOW TO BE A LITTLE MORE 'GREEN'.



I'm not exactly sure when I started becoming more conscious of waste and how much we unthinkingly throw away without giving any thought to the consequences. I guess, like most people I have always been aware of it but never really took notice of the impact it makes. And then one day I did.
It started with plastic bottles. I noticed just how many plastic bottles I was using when I bought a drink on the go. I was disturbed by not just how much money I was spending on something we can get for free, but how many bottles were going into the garbage just from me buying two or three bottles of water a week. So I picked up a glass drinking bottle and started carrying it with me everywhere in my handbag.

Then it was plastic shopping bags. At the time I shopped only for myself and only had to shop once a fortnight or so. But even then, throwing the bags into the bin after I was done with them seemed such a waste. Back then, reusable shopping bags were rarely used but I managed to find a pack with foldable bags in them and I've had them ever since. It was these little changes that made me start paying more attention. What started with those two little changes has grown into my slowly making my home as green as I can and make an effort to produce as little waste as possible. And I know I'm not perfect. There are people out there that are far better at waste free living than me. However, I'm still learning and I know others out there are too. So here are a few of the things that I started doing to be a little more aware of what I was putting out into the world, as I have learned more about recycling, wastage and reusable products.

REUSABLE HOUSEHOLD CLEANING ITEMS.

Since moving house I have started doing a lot more green things I wanted to implement into my home. One of those things is not using disposable dishcloths. I now use reusable, washable dishcloths and cleaning cloths. Some are designed for specific things in the home - cleaning glass, dusting etc - and some are just general cleaning clothes I use to clean my dishes, wipe down benches - every day cleaning.

When they're dirty I throw them in with my washing. I have quite a few of them ready to go under my kitchen sink so I never run out. They're quite cheap and you can get them from companies catered to green cleaning like Norpro or you can get them from places like Kmart and Big W. They are just simple square pieces of microfibre. So simple. So easy. And yet so many people are using disposable cloths that last a few days before going in the bin. Think about how many of those you use in a year. And then times that by the standard human life time. That's a hell of a lot of cloths.

BUY A REUSABLE DRINK BOTTLE & INSULATED MUG.

This one is so simple and yet something many people still don't do. Since high school I have made it a habit of carrying around my own water bottle. For the most obvious reason at first - to stay hydrated. Then it became about more than that - saving money was a big one, but most of all its less wasteful. I get really uncomfortable seeing people buy slab after slab or water bottles and just throwing them away like its no big deal to be filling the garbage with them. I bet many of you out there have more than one drink bottle sitting at home.

Instead of buying water when you're out, fill up your bottle before you leave the house and throw it in your bag - and if you run out, there are water vending machines popping up all over the place where you can fill your drink bottle up with filtered, cooled water. So make sure you pick up your water bottle before leaving the house. You'll be saving money and the environment.

USE SUSTAINABLE & ECO FRIENDLY BEAUTY PRODUCTS.

Even something as simple as the beauty products you use. Buying products that are made from recycled, recyclable and sustainable materials. EcoTools makeup brushes are the perfect example. Their brushes are made from bamboo - one of the most sustainable resources on the planet thanks to its quick growth rate - and recycled aluminium and plastic. Their cruelty free too!

Then you have something like a makeup remover wipe or pad. You use maybe one or two a day? So say about 10 a week which means you're using 40 a month which is around 480 a year. Now if a million other people are using the same amount of wipes as you, thats 480 million face wipes going into the trash. And we know there are definitely more than a million women using face wipes. So why not switch to something more sustainable?

Recently I've discovered a product called The Makeup Breakup Balm by Goodness Co. It's a New Zealand based company that creates natural beauty products using chia seed oil as their primary ingredient. Its a great balm that you work onto your face over your makeup and wash off with a damp cloth and warm water.

I personally use my Luxury Face Chamois by The Body Shop to remove the balm as it is washable and reusable and dries hard so it does not get mouldy. This way I'm not using wasteful wipes and the only product I'll eventually throw in the bin is the tin when its finished (and its recyclable) and the chamois which although technically would be waste, one of those every six months is better than several wipes daily don't you think? There are also great products like the FaceHalo or using a simple face washer from home. There are a multitude of options to choose from that are significantly less wasteful.

USE NON-TOXIC CLEANING PRODUCTS.

One of the biggest changes that I made in my home was switching to non-toxic cleaning alternatives. The reasons why I made the change in the beginning was because I adopted a cat and cats tend to lick things they shouldn't. That got me thinking about all the nasties that I myself was touching and the idea of using chemical based cleaning products became distasteful.
There are so many different alternatives to cleaning products you can use in the home - vinegar, water, soap nuts, essential oils etc. Mix some of them together in a glass spray bottle and you're good to go. Its surprisingly easy - and cheap!

The next time you're in the cleaning isle at your local supermarket, getting ready to pick up some chemical riddled household cleaning items, think about if you really want all that nasty stuff all over your house and all over your skin. Probably not. Instead of spraying down my bench tops with chemical riddled sprays, I use vinegar. I also use it on my floors as well. And instead of spraying bug spray around my house when I get a little bug infestation,  I have a spray bottle with water and peppermint essential oil that works a dream - and it smells great too!

REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS.

One of the biggest changes I made several years ago is switching to reusable shopping bags. I bought a pouch from Woolworths that was filled with a bunch of fabric shopping bags all rolled up neatly - and I've been using them ever since. They are a great alternative to plastic bags and they can be washed and put away easily for next time. I also have a single foldable one that I keep in my handbag for when I'm out shopping. You can get great ones online or at places like Kmart. Plain or patterned, there really is no excuse to keep using plastic bags guys. Come on. It's getting ridiculous and not only that, but is completely unnecessary. Given the amount of stores that offer you a tote bag for another dollar or so, we should have no excuse to continue using plastic. It takes a barley any effort at all to remember to grab your fabric bags before you leave the house or put them in the car so the next time you're out shopping they are there ready for you. You always remember you phone but not your bags?

You can also get reusable produce bags for all the small pieces of fruits and vegetables you pick up at the market. There are a few great companies like Ever Eco and Sacked that sell them in various sizes. As of July 1st 2018, plastic bags were banned in Queensland in major supermarkets and I'm hoping that more states will follow in our footsteps. I've already stocked up on more reusable bags and have them ready to go in the boot of my car for my next shopping trip.

BE MORE MINDFUL.

At the end of the day the biggest key to being more green is being more mindful. Think about what you use, how you use it and how you dispose of it. Could you do it better? Could you do it differently? Being more conscious of your personal waste and what you're throwing away can be a real eye opener. For instance, did you know that each year on average, Australians throw away:

- 330 kg of paper
- 552 aluminium cans
- 118 kg of metal
- 414 kg of food
- 206 bottles/jars

Nearly half of all waste from Australian households is organic waste and approximately 60% of waste is recycled and 40% is landfilled. Compare that to Switzerland where only 7% of their waste is buried in landfill. Thats genuinely scary numbers to think about especially when you think about the fact that it happens year after year, after year. Over and over again. Being more conscious of what you're purchasing and how you dispose of things can make all the difference.

At the end of the day I am lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world and I would personally like to see it stay beautiful and I would like our wild life to stay safe and healthy and not be surrounded by or being harmed by our waste. Be smart, be mindful, be green. What do you think about being more green? Have you taken any of these or similar steps in your home or life or do you plan on doing it? Let me know!

Sincerely,

Bella.

What's your opinion?

@bellaleeheart