5 ways to be more sustainable.

‘Do you want a drink?’ My friend Anna grabbed her wallet and was heading for the bar.

‘A lemon, lime and bitters. Thanks.’ There was no line at the bar and within two minutes she was in front of me with my drink and a gin and tonic for herself. She placed the drinks on the table in front of us. I looked long and hard at the straws in our drinks.

‘What is the purpose of a straw?’ I asked.

‘To make it easier on your lipstick.’ Anna giggled.

‘It’s not easy on the planet, though, is it?’ I said.

‘Let’s agree never to use straws again…shouldn’t be that hard, we don’t even wear lipstick.’ Anna said, and with that we lifted our drink and yelled, ‘Cheers.’

Here’s 5 ways you can be more sustainable.

1. Go paper-free

‘Do you need the receipt?’ I always struggle to answer that question. No, I usually don’t need the receipt but are you going to recycle it? Recently, I set up a desk in a new office and there was no recycling trays for paper. When I asked about it, a co-worker said, ‘We don’t use paper so why would we need to recycle it?’ Touche. There is also the option to opt out of junk mail (don’t worry there’s other ways of finding out what’s happening at Aldi).

2. Hey, are you local?

When I lived in Carnarvon, North West of Perth in Western Australia, I had my pick of delicious tropical fruits. I’d never tasted sweeter bananas. You can buy right off the farm. One day I was in Carnarvon Woolworths with a friend and he pointed at the bananas in the fruit section and said, ‘They’re Carnarvon bananas but they travel to Perth (900 Km away) and get frozen, packaged and come back (900 km) so you can buy them from here’ HE BLEW MY MIND. All of that travel harms the environment through carbon emissions from trucks and trains and leaves food less than fresh. Luckily, there are a lot ways you can eat local without spending a fortune. Try eating locally and using farmers markets for fresh produce.

3. There’s this thing, will you come with me?

Do you have a crush on someone? or need to put a common goal back into your relationship? Do you have a friend that loves new things? or do you want to make new friends? Then, here is your chance to take on board new lessons on how to green up your life. Most community education colleges offer environmental education classes. You can learn about things such as installing a rain catcher at home, how to grow herbs or even making your own natural soap. This is such a fun way to learn new skills and meet like-minded people who want to commit to making sustainable choices for themselves, just like you do.

4. Vinegar for cleaners

I get allergic. At any time one cleaning product can be fine and then it’s not. My skin will just dry up and crack. Then I discovered all you need is vinegar, baking soda and lemon and you have yourself a whole cupboard of earth-friendly cleaning products. Whoa. Recipes can be found here.

Not only is it good for your skin, it’s good for our waterways. Fragrances can get into our waterways and cause all sorts of damage. If you make your own soaps and cleaners you can literally go to bed at night smelling fresh and feeling better for doing your bit for the world.

5. It’s just stuff

It sure is just stuff! That’s probably why sites selling second hand goods are so popular. I also found a ‘pay it forward’ page on Facebook that let’s you post things to give away. Buy consciously and you’ll find that the quality of your buying experience at the shops and your enjoyment of the ‘stuff’ you do have increases. Upcycle, recycle, donate, buy second hand – do what makes you happy and gives you that ‘yes’ feeling when you know you have made a sustainable choice.

Who is going to argue with a yes feeling? Good luck making change happen. 🙂