Navigating the maze of better eco purchase options doesn't have to do your head in and better still, it can actually be easy. Just stick to facts instead of truths. Here's how.
THE FIRST THING TO KNOW ABOUT BEING MORE ECO IS TO JUST GO FOR IT. DON'T OVER THINK IT. MAKING NO DECISION IS FAR WORSE THAN MAKING ANY DECISION. IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE, LEARN FROM IT & TRY AGAIN NEXT TIME. The best lazy man, no fuss option to make the biggest eco difference in your life quickly is to go for anything that is easy for you to change. You will be so pleased with yourself that you'll be very motivated to try something else.
These tips will help you navigate both the maze of decision making and the other big obstacle - everyone else's opinions.
So, you've vowed to give up single use plastic bags, are online looking for a Reusable Bag and find yourself paralysed at the keyboard because suddenly the alternatives look as bad as the thing you are giving up.
Here's the thing. They are all bad-ish, but none of the options are worse than single use plastic bags. Every plastic bag is a problem. You are choosing to use only one or a few. It's simple maths.
So choose bags you love because they make you feel good and don't worry about their comparative credentials.
Know that you are never accepting another single use plastic bag ever again and that puts you miles ahead, not matter which type you choose.
Just a word - your reusable bag replaces any single use bag. Now you have it, there's no reason to accept any kind of single use bag again - plastic, paper, seaweed, recycled, upcycled, whale saving, orphanage building - none of them. They all use unnecessary resources. (If you want to save a whale, donate.)
Use your reusable when you buy your next Gucci dress - or any slow fashion rag - and just smile sweetly if the shop attendant sniffs when you say, "No tissue paper please and can you put the dress in my bag." Your new dress will get home just fine.
Look for what isn't said. Making good sustainable decisions is bloody hard when you live in a marketing led jungle. How can you even know if a body care product or a garment or food is sustainable?
With big co spending millions to specifically target consumers to buy products, most of us are deers (or kangaroos) in the headlights. But makers also know that consumers are increasingly interested in a brand's social and/or environmental values and that is making it easier to make better decisions.
Any brand that is motivated by social and environmental values will make it very clear to you. READ THE LABEL (which might be a website). Good manufacturers and sellers will tell you on the label. They will give you the backstory and include all declarations and certifications. If they are genuine, they'll make sure you know it.
IF THERE IS NO EXPLAINER, NO STORY, NO CERTIFICATION, NO LINKS, LEAVE IT ON THE SHELF. CHANCES ARE IT'S ENVIRONMENTALLY OR SOCIETALLY UNFRIENDLY. IT'S THAT SIMPLE.
Don't get sucked in by brown paper packaging and faded inks. Just because something is packaged in what looks environmentally friendly, doesn't mean it is. If there is no story to go with it, doesn't matter how beautiful, brown bag, green print, hand written - if the eco story isn't clearly spelt out, assume it's not eco. (When a brand works appearances to deceive you instead of actions to please you, you know they don't give a toss about anyone. Especially you. Don't support them.)
Buying local is an easy eco option for a heap of reasons, but the highlights are:
Whenever you have a choice between plastic anything and any alternative, choose the alternative. That includes anything lined with plastic like cans or disposable coffee cups.
It's pretty hard to go past this one and frankly, it's the default position for even the most seasoned eco-sters. If a product is organic, it's ingredients have to be organic and that means no chemicals, pesticides - and usually the maker actually cares about how the product was created.
Anyone who can routinely sell shirts, skirts, pants, shoes for less than the price of a dozen apples (sometimes just one apple) is using cheap labour somewhere. The only way something gets to be that cheap is by cutting employment or housing costs. So unless they have a bloody good, straight forward explanation, don't buy it.
Don't be upsold - if it's one item for $5 and two items for $7, don't buy the two. I know it's very tempting, but unless you really need it or have someone to give that 2nd item to, it's really going to cost you $7 for one item and a little piece of the planet is going to be sitting in the corner of your cupboard or trashed in the future.
So every night, tuck yourself into the most eco bed and linen you can find, happy in the knowledge that whatever happened today, tomorrow is a new day and there will be many more opportunities to be healthier and save your own little part of the planet.
There is a good reason for a lazy man's solution set to going eco. It's because habits are processed by your brain much faster than something you have to think about so habits are hard to change.
The only sure fire way to change a habit is to replace is with a new one. And you do that by taking just one these suggested eco changes and making it into a new habit:
Don't sweat it. Just do something and make the best decision you can. Every small decision informs the next. Some little things matter a lot (like cutting out as much plastic as you can or at least diligently recycling) and some things don't matter. (Like the fact there are more than 5 tips here.)
The United Nations Lazy Person Guide to Saving the Planet is a great reference for the different levels of changes you can make to be more sustainable - from your sofa right through to what you can do at work.
Electric vechicles, eating less meat, clean energy and putting pressure on your peers are all covered in Context, a publication of Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. The article is well worth reading, wherever you are in the world.
I LOVE this article! Today I asked for my coffee in a real cup - while the default was takeaway cups (doubled up??) even for people sitting down. I tried to find somewhere in the Qantas terminal to fill my water bottle but they only had a bubbler. I asked on the flight if they could fill my water bottle - I was offered a plastic bottle of water to fill my bottle with or I could wait until she could get to the kitchen area - I waited. It's not at all common place yet and you get that little wide eyed look momentarily but then I've always enjoyed being a little big (or a lot) maverick - and I love the idea that people over hear me and it gets them thinking. The guy behind me in the coffee line asked for a cup too ;-)
Thursday, 30 August 2018