I like to think we are all aware that our planet is in danger, that climate change is real and that we all need to do our bit to protect our home. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown gave nature a much needed opportunity to breathe, recover and thrive again. We need to cease on this opportunity and run with it. Hopefully lots of us want to make changes, but perhaps we don’t always know where to start. We are busy; we have limited time and limited money. Don’t be discouraged and never give up, it is possible to help save the planet and hopefully even enjoy the process.
For me, one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to save the planet is to only buy second hand. Not just clothing, but books, toys, furniture, shoes, crockery, bedding, tools, equipment, white goods, cars … EVERYTHING. Buying second hand is voting with your wallet, it’s saying I don’t need more new ‘stuff’ to be produced. We already have enough of most things to last several lifetimes. Mass over consumption is a huge and ever increasing problem. There is no AWAY for all our rubbish. Second hand items already exist, they don’t require further production or packaging. Buying second hand saves them from heading to landfill, saves them from AWAY.
Second hand items are unique to you, others cannot pop down to their local retail giant and pick up the same thing. Pre loved items are cheaper than new items, saving you money to put towards other things or allowing you to buy more second hand pieces. With second hand, if you experience buyers remorse, you can return it or pass it on to someone else without the guilt of a wasted product. Even if you do bin it, it’s not an extra item in the bin because you saved it from the bin in the first place.
If you are somebody that likes to change up their decor with the seasons you can do this with second hand pieces without the expense and waste that comes with new items. If you buy second hand from a charity you are raising money for a great cause as well as doing the planet a favor. There is so much enjoyment to be had from shopping second hand and the planet will only thank you.
Reusing what you already have and purchasing items that are intended to be reused is so much more beneficial for our environment than disposables, particularly single use disposables. There are so many areas in our daily lives that reusables apply to; nappies, cloths, handkerchiefs, menstrual products, wipes, sponges, bottles, cutlery, crockery, razor handles, to-go cups. Having a reusable version of all of these products allows us to pick something we love and can keep, it means we don’t have to keep running to the shops to replace them and it is cheaper and more convenient to buy something just once.
Reusables mean you don’t have to empty your bin full of disposable items. Reusables need to be washed, but that’s something that you are doing anyway. Go one step further, maybe you have something in your house already that can do the job… cut up an old towel and you have all the cloths and wipes you could need.
Becoming vegetarian or even vegan or just incorporating more meat free meals into your life will do wonders for the environment. Animals require vast amounts of land, fuel and water before they reach our plates. Trees, that absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, are chopped down to make space for cattle for us to eat. There are multiple benefits to a meat free lifestyle. Plant based meals tend to be cheaper and quicker to prepare and cook, vegetable scraps and meal leftovers can be safely composted, leaving no waste. Red and processed meat consumption is linked with heart disease and other illnesses.
Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs is a wonderful pastime and great for the environment and it’s inhabitants. Insects and other garden visitors benefit from plants and we benefit from their existence. Food generally tastes better when you’ve grown it yourself and it is certainly cheaper and more satisfying. Time spent outdoors is time well spent. Homegrown eliminates packaging and reduces the number of times you have to drive to the shops.
Choosing second hand over new, reusables over disposables, vegetarian over meat and homegrown over store brought will save you time and money. This time and money saved can be put towards other areas of your life and bring you more enjoyment. This way of life also enhances your resourcefulness and improves your problem solving abilities, both of which are valuable skills. Most importantly, this way of life will reduce the waste you produce and reduce your footprint on the planet.