Top 10 Easiest Actions To Reduce Your Impact On The Environment
Is anyone else a bit sick of the constant negative narrative appearing on social media that just because you change your toothbrush to bamboo over plastic, it doesn’t change anything because the other carbon emissions you spewed out driving to work this morning, the carbon emissions used to transport the toothbrush to your house, the water involved in cotton farming that is in the 100% organic cotton t-shirt you’re wearing.. blah blah blah!
Here at Ocean Soul we are big believers that small changes made my many can have a much bigger effect than some people think and is certainly better than doing nothing at all! As we change one aspect of our lives, we inevitably learn about another and try to do better in that area and we shine as an example to family and friends who decide to give it a go … and so it creates a ripple effect. An effect that doesn’t just help the environment in the long-term and help create a more sustainable society but helps your back pocket too by saving money and who doesn’t love that? We have decided to list out our EASIEST lifestyle changes that limit your household waste and single use plastic and also help save money in the long-term as you reuse items rather than purchasing them every month.
- Bamboo Toothbrushes – just think, every toothbrush you’ve ever owned in your ENTIRE life whether you’re 16 or 100 years old is still out there somewhere! Ditto for everyone else currently on the planet! That’s a lot of plastic sitting somewhere on this world of ours. Our Bamboo Toothbush handles are biodegradable and can be thrown straight in your compost bin or buried in the garden to decompose naturally. The bristles are nylon but can be recycled (check with your local waste collection). Bamboo is a very sustainable crop, it is a fast growing grass, it requires no fertilizer and self-regenerates from its own roots, so it doesn’t need to be replanted! Bamboo also doesn’t need anywhere near the amount of water, pesticides or labour as many other crops such as cotton.
- Reusable water bottles - Some organisations have predicted that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. A plastic bottle takes 450 years to completely breakdown. That means every plastic bottle you’ve ever used will still be around when your Great Great Grandchildren are born. This is the easiest change of all – there really isn’t any reason anymore to be using a single-use plastic bottle. Check out our stainless steel hydro flasks to end your water bottle usage for good! Best of all – it keeps your drinks cooler for longer!
- Reusable bags – Plastic bags take around 10-12 years to completely breakdown. However, they are so lightweight that they don’t tend to actually stay in landfill or the trash… they are picked up by winds and end up in our oceans. When in the ocean, they look uncannily like a jellyfish, which happens to be the main food source for many marine animals including turtles. They end up choking to death on these plastic bags or worse still, getting caught in them and dying a slow, terrifying, painful death in the process. Hence why a lot of species of turtles are now on the endangered list and we risk our children not even knowing what a wild turtle is in the future. Many countries and governments around the world are beginning to ban single-use plastic – stay ahead of the trend and keep some of these reusable cotton bags in your car, handbag and offices to make sure you’re never caught out at the supermarket. Check out our article here on biodegradable vs degradable to learn about biodegradable plastic bags and how to spot the fakes!
- Reusable coffee mugs – A lot of single-use coffee cups around the world are actually made of styrofoam. Styrofoam takes 50 years to breakdown. AND did you know that most coffee shops will give you a 50 cent (some more) discount on every coffee if you bring your own cup for them to fill. After all, it saves them money on having to buy the single use cups! That’s almost a $4 saving per week if you’re a coffee a day purchaser!
- Metal Straws – Why are plastic straws so bad? Well, 1 billion straws are used everyday worldwide – that’s enough to fill 258 busses! They have an average 20 minute SINGLE usage and take 300 years to fully decompose. They are not recyclable, are the most found trash on beaches around the world and threaten a lot of marine life. Do you need any more reasons to say no to plastic straws? A lot of countries and governments are again banning the use of plastic straws so it’s time to stock up on your dishwasher safe, stainless steel straws or silicone straws and stow them in your handbag, car, wallet etc… you can even get these collapsible stainless steel straws in a protective case to make it easier to carry in pockets, wallets or handbags.
- Metal Smoothie Cup – If you are a fresh juice and smoothie lover like us, don’t let your love of the healthy stuff cost the oceans with your single use plastic cup! A lot of people don’t know that a lot of these cups can’t be recycled in standard facilities either, so it’s off to landfill again! A lot of juice bars and cafes will give you a discount for bringing your own cup, plus our stainless steel reusable cups keep your juices and smoothies cooler and fresher for longer.
- Cloth towels instead of sponges/paper towels – the common blue and white stripy cleaning cloths are made from plastic and won’t compost. This means these plastic fibres end up in our waterways and do not breakdown in landfill for a very long time! Our reusable dish cloths are made from 70% plant cellulose and 30% cotton. They are strong, perform just the same as normal dish cloths and can be washed and reused for months. When they are finished they can simply be added to your compost or buried in the garden where they will breakdown quickly and naturally.
- Compost/worm farming – Food waste management and soil degradation are mammoth problems globally. According to Project Drawdown (more on this amazing project here) reducing food waste is the number three solution to reversing global warming, before eating a plant-rich diet (which sits at number 4). The best way to use food waste is to actually get it back onto the land, because that’s where it came from. As a compost, it really has amazing effects on carbon sequestration, on productivity and on water retention. The healthiest way to compost is to have your composting system under the ground – this actually helps to regenerate your soil meaning you don’t need to use dangerous fertilizes or put new soil in the ground every year and actually breaks down your food a lot faster. SubPod is a new startup based out of Byron Bay, Australia that has a fantastic all in one kit to get you started!
- Beexwax food savers instead of cling wrap – Did you know that beeswax is a natural antibiotic? So not only are you using less single use plastic with your cling wrap, you are helping protect your food in the fridge from nasty bacteria the way nature intended! Our Bees Wax wraps are made with organic cotton, and bees wax (duh!) and just need to be washed in cold soapy water after use. They last up to 6-12 months and can be used to cover almost anything that cling wrap can cover (just not meat as the bacteria found in meat would mean you have to wash it with warm water which would ruin the bees wax). At the end of its life, you guessed it, it can be put in the compost bin or buried in your yard.
- Sell old items instead of putting them in the trash or taking them to the tip – There is no doubt in the space of one to two generations our culture around materialism has made a major shift. We have gone from having ‘things’ and appliances for almost a lifetime to having to have the new updated ‘thing’ or appliance every two years. The problem with that is – where does it all go once you’re finished with it? Some appliances and their parts are very difficult to recycle. So next time you decide you need to update your TV, phone, couch, fridge – whatever (and I mean whatever – have you seen the weird stuff for sale on some sites?) try putting it up on a community marketplace site such as Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. Not only does someone come and pick it up for you (so you don’t have to try and figure out how to get it to the tip or dispose of it) but you get some money for the pleasure of seeing it go! That money can go towards offsetting the new purchase and you would be surprised at the stories you hear from people purchasing on these sites, they have genuinely fallen on hard times or had an unexpected life event and they are very thankful to get a couch, fridge, TV at a fraction of the price they would in a store.