Written by Megan Gale.
As far as leading a fully sustainable, environmentally aware lifestyle, I'm the first to admit that I could always do better.
While we've all probably had the urge to adopt a clean-living lifestyle, we either don't know what that really means, or where to start, where we'll find the time to make all these changes and of course, how much from a financial standpoint will it set us back? All very valid questions and concerns but ones that often prohibit us from taking that next step and from finding out more. It often falls into the "too hard" basket.
The good news is, by making even a few small changes to your day-to-day living, over time, you can have a significant and positive impact on the environment. By now, we are all aware that single use plastics are terrible for the environment. As humans, we sit well above where we should be, in terms of our daily and weekly consumption and waste. And we also know that there are a lot of nasty chemicals in the majority of our household products; products that we use every day that, let's face it, aren't great for our health or the health of our little ones.
Only in recent years have I made some changes to my day-to-day living, albeit gradual and small ones. Changes inspired by my children. In part, because I know that we, as adults, are the current custodians of this planet of ours and we will be handing it over to our children. I want to hand it over to my kids in pretty good condition, so that they can enjoy its benefits and not be exposed to the damage that we are collectively and currently doing.
I want to teach them how to look after this place that they call home and what better way to teach them, than to lead by example. Our little ones learn from us and follow our lead so by making these small changes I hope to gently guide them into adopting this way of life themselves so they can do their small part in looking after planet Earth.
By no means am I Australia's next eco-warrior, here to lecture and guide us all into a better way of living. Not at all. I'm not going to solve and eradicate all of the world's environmental issues by what I'm doing. However, what I do hope, is with the few small changes that I make, and your small changes and the next person's and so on...that collectively, we will be at least improving on things somewhat. The way I see it, surely making a few small changes are better than making none at all, right?
So, I guess the point of this little article of mine, is to take away some of the groundwork for you, by showing you some of the small, simple ways that I have made some changes around the house, and I also hope that after reading it, you feel inspired enough to incorporate some of these things into your day-to-day life as well.
Reducing my use of cling wrap was my first step towards eliminating as many single use plastics as possible. Wax food wraps are a great substitute for cling wraps and are very durable and Wrappa also do vegan versions using plant-based wax. They come in a lot of different sizes too and are made from certified organic cotton.
I often make smoothies for my kids and myself and we all love using straws, but we don't love churning through plastic straw after plastic straw while doing so. We love these Life Basics Reusable Stainless Steel Straws. There are four that come in a little calico, draw string bag along with a pipe cleaner to thoroughly clean the straws out once you've used them, so they're good to go for your next smoothie (or cocktail!).
Here's a not so fun fact. An average Australian household uses 6,104 single use plastic bottles of cleaning products in a lifetime. Yes, that number is correct. And it was enough to make me want to reduce my projected quota that I was going to use in my lifetime. One way of doing that is to use one, all-purpose cleaner as opposed to many different cleaners for their own unique purpose. The other is to make the switch to refills or concentrates, to concoct your own cleaning potion at home. I love this multi-purpose concentrate bar from Ethique and it boasts many fine qualities. It's palm oil free, cruelty free, vegan friendly and grey water safe and even comes in its own compostable cardboard box. Not only that, but it will also leave your home smelling like sweet orange or eucalyptus. Win:Win!
Similarly, to my usage of cling wrap, I was getting quite conscious of how much baking paper I was going through. I use my oven daily to either bake or roast something so it made perfect sense for me to look for alternate options so I could reduce the amount of baking paper I was using. I love these Life Basics Silicone baking mats. They fit perfectly on most baking trays, they are dishwasher and oven safe; up to 220C for two hours, a much higher temperature than most baking mats.
You may already be aware of this but there is a bit of a compost revolution going on. This has been largely inspired by statistics like the following; roughly 5% of Australia's total greenhouse gas materials, comes from our household food scraps that rot underground in landfill. Thankfully, councils are now supplying us with green waste bins in which to place our organic food matter in. This enables them to transport and dispose of this type of waste properly with less impact on our environment. To make this process easier, it helps to have a benchtop compost bin in the kitchen, and I have this beautiful little white one from Nourished Life. I simply scrape any fruit and vegetable cut offs or peelings into it, along with other food scraps and when full, I take it outside and empty it into our green waste bin. You can also find many compostable bin liner options to help keep your bin nice and clean.
I'm a hot beverage addict – coffee is my main drink of choice, followed swiftly by a hot chocolate and rounded out by herbal tea, with chai tea getting an honourable mention. This means I have (embarrassingly) gone through a lot of single use takeaway cups in my time. I have since introduced to my list of "things I never leave home without" this very slick looking, Caye Life Thermo Cup. Double walled, stainless steel, BPA and toxin free, this clever cup ticks all the boxes and will keep your beverage of choice perfectly hot (or cold) for ages.
Megan Gale is a mother, actress & businesswoman, and she truly knows the importance of clean & natural products.