It’s officially February, which is the perfect time to check in on how we’re going with our new year’s resolutions. If you’re like me, you might’ve had a few eco-friendly resolutions to pay it forward for mother earth. Here are my eco-friendly resolutions and an update on how they’re going one month in.
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Eco-friendly Resolution 1 – Veganuary
My diet is mostly plant-based anyway but I wanted to be little more strict for the first month of the year. I’m going to be 100% honest here, I haven’t been perfect with Veganuary. I had a few slips ups – especially with milk powder. Seriously, why is their milk powder in everything?!
My slip-ups are mostly accidents where I’ve genuinely forgotten that I’m doing strict vegan eating then gotten halfway through eating something and realised there’s a non-vegan ingredient in it. That said, I have definitely made progress. It’s helped me take notice of labels a whole lot more and switch some of my vegetarian usuals to vegan options — these all changes that I want to continue in February and beyond.
Eco-friendly Resolution 2 – Overhaul my digital carbon footprint
I recently learned that every email, Instagram post and hideous holiday photo online has a carbon footprint. The carbon footprint comes from the greenhouse gases produced to run internet and cloud servers, among other things.
To put it into perspective, sending a short email is estimated to add about four grams of CO2 equivalent to the atmosphere. Receiving a spam email adds zero point 3 grams, even if you don’t open it!
To lower my online carbon footprint, I’m getting to inbox 0 on the last day of every month and unsubscribing from email lists that are sending me things that I’m not reading – or at least adjusting my preferences. This has been an easy one to stay on top of and I usually do it while watching a TV show.
Eco-friendly Resolution 3 – Use up open bottles of things
There are SO many sustainable brands that sell all of the amazing eco things. It’s so tempting to want to buy them all. But that’s not the most eco-friendly choice. Using up what you’ve already got is! Unless it contains microbeads. Those should go straight in the bin.
Just be careful that your products haven’t expired. There’s usually a little symbol with an open container on the back label with a number in it and a capital M. If it says 12M, it means that you should stop using this product 12 months after opening. It’s more of a best before, but you should be careful using personal care products on your body that have passed this recommended time.
I’ve experienced horrendous periorital dermatitis on my face for more than 8 weeks from using skincare products, I STRONGLY suggest not putting expired products on your face.
Eco-friendly Resolution 4 – Go on 3 driving holidays
I’m a huge traveller. My mum worked for an airline so we always received holidays instead of physical birthday and Christmas presents. While this certainly had a huge carbon footprint, I think it was the best education I could receive while in my teens and early 20s. And it’s ultimately why I moved from Sydney to London.
That said, I’ve now been to 50 countries and I’m happy to slow down my jet setting. I also really bloody love train holidays. I just wish they weren’t so expensive… Also, 2020 happened. So I’ve learnt to make do with not going abroad.
I love the UK and there’s so many amazing cities, areas and villages to visit. So for this year, I set the resolution of going on at least 3 driving holidays. The Lakes District is at the top of my list, and I’d love to squeeze a castle of some sort it. I’d love to get back to Cornwall again too because it’s my favourite part of the UK. Although this will have to wait until lockdown is finished.
Eco-friendly Resolution 5 – Shop small and local
Now that I’m running my own small business, it’s called Concentr8ed if you want to check it out. I have such a greater appreciation for small businesses.
Selling anything that’s plastic-free, palm oil-free, cruelty-free, locally-made, hand made and/or fair trade is always going to cost more for a small business to create than a big business who has purchasing power and are often found to cut ethical and environmental corners.
It is HARD to run a small business. But on a positive note, 2020 has seen such a surge of support for small businesses, so we need to keep that momentum up. Where possible, I’m looking for options to support small businesses with everything I need to buy. Whether it’s groceries, tech, clothing – I’m looking for ways to give my money to an actual person or a small business where I can.
My favourite ways to do this are to connect with small local business on Instagram, use Etsy for handmade items and apps likes Vinted, Depop and eBay for secondhand stuff.
Eco action step
Your eco action step for this week is to take stock of your Eco-friendly New Year’s Resolutions. Take to 10 minutes to write about them and find out what’s working and what isn’t. Then tweak, pivot and keep working on them. Day by day, week by week, you’ll start making some serious change.