Sustainability for everyone.
Yes, sustainability is at everyone’s reach. With the confinement, everyone’s finances is at stake and we might feel like we can’t afford to be sustainable anymore. That is why I am going to share with you 20 ways to be sustainable without breaking the bank.
Remember, it’s not about doing everything, it’s about doing a little bit and then a little more and more and more.
Before we start, I just want to clarify something important. Of course, there are ways to be more sustainable on a budget, but you have to understand that sustainability is a long term commitment. You might have to invest more initially, but money will be saved in the long run.
So let’s have a look at 20 ways to be more sustainable. I have divided them into 3 categories:
Category 1: The free sustainability tool kit!
1. Shower instead of bath: That sounds like an easy one but you have to make sure that your shower does not last more than 7 minutes. Some will even say 5 minutes! Ahhhhh!! Crazy! The idea behind it is to save water and energy. If you stay under your shower for too long then it defeats the purpose.
2. No straws: Ladies & Gentlemen, maybe we like our cocktails (mine is the Bloody Mary), but it’s definitely not sustainable to use straws. Simply ask the barman when you place your order. When we all refuse to use straws, they will stop buying them in the first place.
3. Recycle properly: a lot of us don’t know how to recycle properly. This might be difficult depending on the area you live in, but if you live in an area that is dedicated to recycling then make the most of it. Make sure you clean each container before putting it in your recycle bin. Separate each component (ie: lids, caps, label, etc etc..) and don’t stuff paper, foil or plastic bits inside a glass jar. Everything needs to be separated.
4. Talk about your efforts to other people: it’s free and it can be very efficient. Of course, I am not saying you should antagonise all those who don’t care about sustainability, but you can become a role model. It does not matter if you only do one or two little things from our list! You are doing it and your actions might convince a friend or a family member to do the same.
5. Try to avoid using the air con in your car or your office: air conditioning directly contributes to global warming. It’s ironic because global warming is also due to the pollution that we create and this pollution led to these crazy summer temperatures.
6. Walk or cycle if you can: It’s good for your health and good for the planet. I personally walk a lot. I am not much of a bike fan, but I enjoy walking to places. I cannot wait for the end of the confinement so that I can go for a big walk somewhere in the countryside.
7. Tell your children about sustainability: awareness about the environment and the planet starts early. Encourage them to do things for the planet and it will come naturally to them.
Category 2: Sustainability on a Budget.1. Go for loose tea instead of tea bags: I have been doing this for a long time now, but not many people actually do it. I reckon they either think it’s too insignificant to make the effort or they think it takes too long to prepare. I buy a really nice bag of loose tea and it lasts me ages. It’s also cheaper than the one from supermarkets. It’s easy to believe that supermarkets offer the best bargain, but buying a quality product such as loose tea is better for your wallet and the planet. You will get more out of it and save money. In term of environment, some plastic tea bags release a lot of micro plastic and the bag itself ends up in the bin!!
2. Charity shopping & second-hand shopping: It’s one of my favourite sustainable alternative. Second hand furniture shops, second hand baby clothes, second hand children toys and second hand books are amazing. Some charity shops are better than others, but when it comes to toys, baby clothes, books and furnitures, we should all go to charity shops and second-hand shops. It’s good for the wallet and good for the planet. Let's Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose!
3. Reusable bags instead of plastic bags: That’s a no brainer! It is easy to be tempted to take a plastic bag, but we must resist. Keep a small foldable bag in your hand bag and a couple of reusable bags in your car boot. By the way, you can buy a foldable bags in some charity shops for next to nothing.
4. Reduce your meat consumption: We can’t all go veggie, but we can reduce our meat intake. How about meat twice a week? Maybe you can start by following some veggie facebook groups. They have some fantastic recipes! You’ll be amazed at all the recipes you can do with vegetables. Besides, meat is getting more and more expensive, so you’ll be saving money.
5. Reusable makeup pads: a person will use more than a thousand per year. Instead, invest in some reusable makeup pads. The initial cost will be more important, but in the long run you are saving money and reducing your waste.
6. Avoid plastic bottles of water: It takes three litres of water to make a 1 litre plastic bottle. That’s madness! Tap water is fine for everyone, except if you have a special health condition of course. Maybe you can invest in a reusable cup or a sport water bottle and fill it with water instead.
1. Menstrual cups: This is a commitment that will make you save money in the long run and make a big difference in term of waste. My menstrual cup cost me about £15, not cheap if you see it as a one time investment, but in the long term it’s an amazing bargain. With proper care, your cup can last up to ten years. I use it systematically now, except at night ( that’s a personal choice) and I barely buy any menstrual pads anymore. £15 over 10 years is £1.5 a year! That figure speaks for itself. When using a menstrual cups, you also reduce your waste. It’s a win win for you and the planet.
2. How about planting bee-friendly flowers: Now that’s a lovely idea. Bee-friendly flowers are usually really nice looking, so it will make your little garden look nice and colourful. If you just have a balcony, you can still have some nice little pots with flowers. Go for lavender, crocuses or rosemary!
3. Make your own natural cleaning products: Well, I had to place this one somewhere on the list! Supermarket cleaning products are expensive. They might look cheap when you buy them on the day, but in the long run they cost you a lot. They are bad for the planet, they increase landfill and pollute our living space. Instead, switch to natural alternatives. It might cost you more initially, but in the long run you’ll be saving money and doing something great for the planet.
4. Don’t plastic wrap your suitcase at the airport: I am still baffled by the whole thing. It is probably better to invest in a good quality luggage that will last you a while, add a padlock if you want, but try not to plastic wrap your luggage. If they are going to throw your luggage around, there is nothing that will prevent it from being damaged.
5. Eat local as much as you can: That’s a tough one when you live in England. I feel like it’s much more difficult and expensive to eat local in the UK. There are a lot more choices and small local farmers in “La France”. A good way to eat more sustainably is to look at the country of origin of your fruits for example. I really fancied strawberries lately, but I have not bought any yet. I am waiting for UK strawberries to be on the shelves.
6. Reusable nappies: that is another tough one, but it will make a big impact if you commit yourself to it. I don’t have children, so I can’t say whether or not I will do it. According to Money Advice Services, babies will need about 4000 nappies until they get fully potty trained. Using reusable nappies over the course of two years, will make you save £1475. That’s a good incentive isn’t it?
7. Shampoo bars and shower soap bars: A must! I don’t use liquid shower soap anymore. I use my Marseille soap and I love it. It’s super gentle on the skin, super kind to the planet: palm oil free, fragrance free, preservative free and colouring free. J’adore!! The same applies to shampoo bars. Yes, it does not foam as much as a normal shampoo and your hair needs to get used to it, but I’d rather do that than buy another disposable plastic bottle!!
BONUS IDEA: if you really want to commit yourself to the cause, how about supporting a charity that protects ugly looking animals? Do you know that even ugly looking species are endangered. Most of us tend to focus on endangered animals such as foxes, dolphins, whales or tigers. But ugly looking animals need saving too.Let's take the Blob fish for example. It's endangered but completely overlooked because of its ugly face! Maybe it’s worth looking into it if you are interested.
Voilà, this is it for me. I hope you’ll find a couple of ideas worth trying! Make sure you pick something that you can easily achieve and that makes you happy.
Dont forget to let us know what you are doing! We like to see our community of eco-warriors growing. Find us on Instagram or Facebook!
La French Maison.