Jessica Greer (Mum, Teacher and co-founder of the Eco Teacher Collective) shares some of the easy choices you can make to reduce the impact we have on our environment and work together towards a better future.
Create habits – The most important first step to becoming more environmentally friendly is to make small but lasting changes. Pick two or three easy, inexpensive things you want to swap or change and work on turning them into great habits before moving to the next change or alternative. You want the transition to last longer than say a month, so don’t take on too much, too soon and become overwhelmed. As Anne-Marie Bonneau stated, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
Sort your waste – This is the easiest and most beneficial way to becoming more environmentally aware. Sort your waste into three areas; landfill, recycling and compost. Most councils provide the three bins for these areas of different waste (red, yellow and green bins). After you have mastered these three bins you can then begin to recycle your soft plastics at local supermarkets that support the ‘Red Cycle’ program. Recycle your plastic bottles and aluminium cans through initiatives like ‘Return and Earn’ and compost food scraps with a home composting system. Once you start sorting your waste you will be surprised how little you throw in the red bin for landfill.
Make a list – Planning your weekly meals and making a list of the ingredients you need before shopping is an inexpensive way to ensure you don’t over shop or buy what you don’t need. It also limits the urge to buy take out and further create waste from unnecessary packaging. When you make your list, choose recycled paper and pens. I like PILOT’s B2P (‘bottle to pen’) which is made from recycled plastic bottles and you can also buy refills to prolong its lifespan.
Do your research – There are so many eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives out there now that you can swap into your home and daily lives. It’s important to do your research before buying. Make sure it’s an alternative you will use and more importantly, make into a habit. Also, see if the business provides details on where and how the product is made. Some Australian-made, easy and inexpensive plastic free swaps include; stainless steel pegs, shampoo and conditioner bars, beeswax wraps, plastic free reusable safety razors and reusable keep cups.
Plastic free shopping – Yes, this means taking reusable shopping bags and produce bags with you every shop. If you are like me and tend to forget your bags continuously, try putting them straight back in the car after unpacking the shopping or buying a handful of bags and keeping them everywhere, like the car, handbag, work desk and near front door. Shopping plastic free also means shopping at local farmers markets, where fresh produce isn’t wrapped in plastic or finding bulk food stores, where you can buy your kitchen staples in bulk. Also, most bulk food stores allow you to either bring your own containers or glass jars to fill or have plastic free alternatives to store your supplies.
Gifting – Buying gifts can sometimes be a tough and expensive gig. Depending on who you are buying for, it can also be filled with single use plastic and used only once before finding its way to landfill. More and more people are beginning to look for sustainable gifting options when it comes to buying presents and so many businesses are working towards making these sustainable gift options more readily available. A few of my favourite environmentally friendly gifts to give include; homemade baked treats, books and experiences like zoos or musicals.
Jessica Greer Jessica Greer (Mum, Teacher and co-founder of the Eco Teacher Collective) runs The Eco Teacher Collective – a small business with a big ambition to help reduce the amount of harmful waste that goes into packaging and ends up in landfill to make a better future for the generations to come.