With the climate in a state of crisis, it’s natural to feel compelled to do something about it. And while yes, it’s the big corporations and governments that need to pull up their socks if we want to save the planet, that doesn’t mean our actions are insignificant.
But we don’t need to radically change our lifestyles; instead, we can add small habits, progressively over time, that in turn play their part in looking after our earth. In doing so, we also might inspire those around us to adopt similar habits, creating our very own eco-conscious ripple effect.
Here are some of the habits we’ve found that will show the environment some love - and don’t take much to get started.
Alas, Aqua’s Barbie Girl lied to us and a life wrapped in plastic is not fantastic. A bunch of habits - like using your KeepCup at coffee shops - are already considered the new norm, but consider weaving some of these extra habits into your routine.
- Switching to biodegradable rubbish bags in your household bins.
- Opt for bamboo toothbrushes over plastic.
- Replace cling wrap with beeswax (bonus, this skips the need for plastic Tupperware to store your leftovers!)
- Change from plastic razors to metal ones with replaceable blades.
- Reuse glass jars from sauces or spreads to store your smoothies, soups, or salad dressings.
- Take your own containers to your local takeaway joint to use instead of plastic ones.
- Switch to loose leaf tea instead of tea bags because - you guessed it - they often contain traces of micro-plastic.
- Look into plastic-free/reusable feminine hygiene products.
- Consider swapping your shampoos and soaps for bar-style products that do the same job, without the plastic wrapping.
What other no-plastic habits do you stick to?
Ramping up your recycling
We all know by now how to split our recycling into paper and aluminium/glass (and if you don’t, most products tell you on the label) - but what about adding a few new recycling habits to your routine? Here’s a few habits that are lesser known but make a big difference to what winds up in landfill.
- Soft plastics - any plastic wrap you can scrunch into a ball - can be returned to a special recycling bin at Woolworths or Coles. Check the labels for ‘Return to Store’, which indicates they can be recycled with soft plastics.
- Donate your would-be e-waste - like phones, laptops, toasters, fridges - to charity or through Facebook Marketplace or Pay It Forward groups (provided they still work).
- Upcycle old products - like paint tins, jars, and scraps of wood - into things like vases, planter boxes, and storage containers.
- Return your gadgets to the manufacturer when you’re upgrading. Places like Apple, Dell & Samsung offer recycling programs where they take back old products - often in return for a sneaky store credit!
- When purchasing a new washing machine or fridge, check if the manufacturer accepts old appliances through a recycling program - and skip the heavy lifting when they remove it, after delivering your new one.
- Read up on your local Council website for how to recycle your electronic waste - everything from batteries to dishwashers. Planet Ark's RecyclingNearYou and TechCollect also list locations to drop off unwanted products.
Be savvy with water usage
Water conservation can officially be added to your list of eco-friendly habits, with a stack of simple practices. They don’t take much, but just like any habit, they may take a few weeks to get really ingrained in your regular routine.
- Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth.
- Time your showers for an insightful look at how long you really spend showering - and see if you can shave off a few minutes.
- Take showers over baths for optimum water conservation.
- Only use your dishwasher and washing machine when it’s completely full.
- As much as possible, dry your clothes in the sun rather than using a dryer.
- Pop a bucket in the shower to collect excess water, which you can us to water plants or wash the car, for example.
Consider low tox product swaps
One of the best ways to influence larger change in favour of the environment is by voting with your wallet. Thankfully, there’s plenty of cool companies that allow you to make ethical choices without scrimping on quality.
Here’s a few habits for your household.
- Replace your cleaning products, shampoos, dishwashing and laundry liquids with low tox alternatives as a way of protecting both the waterways and its inhabitants. Brands like ecostore, Resparkle, and Seed & Sprout are great places to start.
- Purchase clothing made with eco-conscious materials like organic cotton, linen, hemp, and wool, as well as opting for low tox pillows and bedding accessories made using natural fibres.
- Use the Energy Rating calculator to compare household appliances and find one that has the smallest environmental footprint.
- Shop with stores like The Natural Bedding Company that provide full transparency with their low tox materials, particularly given you spend so much time sleeping on latex mattresses and organic pillows.
There will always be new habits you can adopt to show the environment some love, so once you’ve adjusted to these habits making regular appearances in your life, keep looking! Blogs, articles, brand guides, and government sites will continue to update information and support you in your eco-conscious journey.
The hardest part is to get started - so you’re already well on your way.
What other habits do you follow to show the earth a little TLC?