Inka and Neele Hoeper by Lina Scheynius for Zeit Magazin.
Recently I’ve been making a few changes to the way I eat, drink and consume – an experiment into living lighter and reducing my impact on the planet, and it has sort of changed my life.
Let me explain. Before I stumbled across the Brooklyn-based Lauren Singer’s s blog, Trash is for Tossers, I thought I was doing a half-decent job of living a relatively sustainable existence. I don’t drive, I eat only a small amount of meat and I recycle… sometimes.
I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but I used to think I couldn’t do anything to help. I thought humankind has collectively placed such a burden on the planet, that the personal actions of one person would not amount to anything. So defeatist, I know.
But now, I’m doing better. I’ve come to realise I am responsible for my own actions and, so far, the benefits of living lighter have been countless. I am hyper aware of my decisions, my actions and their consequences. I place more value on food, my health and am more grateful for my comforts. I’m also saving money, which, as a student and someone on the salary of an arts-worker, is also a win.
So there you have it. For the moment, I see this a cumulative process. I’ll keep making little changes, and little by little, work on reducing my impact more and more.
So what have I been doing?
It is good to know I can eliminate some of the food scraps that are sent to landfills, where their potential to create nutrient dense soil is totally wasted. So how I compost when I live in a big city? Well, I store the scraps in bags in the freezer! Every week, I take them into the Gallery with me, where my boss, a gardener, has a compost out the back.
I get an inordinate amount of pleasure from this process!
USE IT AGAIN (FOR SOMETHING ELSE)
I love coffee and, at my place, we’ve (almost completely) swapped nespresso pods for ground coffee, which we percolate on the stove. delicious!
I then take the used coffee grounds and combine it with coconut oil and lavender oil to create a very effective body exfoliate.
And while we’re on the topic of coffee, I’ve also invested in a glass KEEP CUP, which not only looks beautiful, it also helps save money because I can just bring coffee from home. It’s one less coffee cup (a day!) in a landfill and three more dollars in my pocket.
BUY IN BULK, STORE IN GLASS
I already prefer fresh over processed, yet many fresh foods come inside ridiculous non-recyclable plastic bags. I have managed to reduce this by shopping instead at NAKED FOODS (Bondi and Newtown). There, you can use the brown paper bags they supply for all the foods (or you can just bring your own bags) and buy some pretty glass jars to store it all in. I have found that buying things in bulk once a month is also a massive $ saver.
Then there’s all the other stuff. I keep a canvas bag in my handbag, should I decide to pop to the shops on my way home from work. I recycle EVERYTHING – and am more aware of unlikely items that I only recently realised can be recycled, like deodorant containers.
I still have a long way to go. I have a deep love of my electric toothbrush, an unhealthy reliance on face wipes and don’t think I could ever eschew makeup, despite the harmful chemicals I know it’s made of. But next month I’m going to explore making my own cleaning products and dabbling further with natural beauty products.
I’d love to know your recommendations, or experience with living a more sustainable life.