Little Ways I Stay Sustainable (& Try To Stick To!)

Originally published February 2019.

I feel, the word Sustainability is quite the buzz word, dotted all around Social Media, endlessly showing the effects our daily habits are having on the environment. I feel it would be extremely damaging (no pun intended!) to call sustainability a trend, but in essence, the past few years, brands and individuals are using this new wave of helping the plant and using it as a clever marketing tool; probably the best marketing tool out there, would you not agree? Of course, no single person can be completely sustainable, because it’s a how-long-is-a-piece-of-string type scenario if you ask how sustainable are you? But, with the growing ‘trend’ as it were, the more information we are getting as to how you can help change daily habits to really make an impact. Therefore, I felt I wanted to share what I do day-to-day. They may be small things, but they may make a big impact.. ever heard the quote ‘I’m only throwing away 1 straw.. said 8 million people’ ?!

When I began to write this I worried I was way too uneducated to full express my views on sustainability. But then I took a step back and realised, sustainability has wormed it’s way into everyone’s daily lives if you think about it and it may be an education, but being conscious in our environmental choices is very easy when thought of. I’ve always had strong views on recycling, when I first moved into university halls last year, I quickly realised our shared kitchen didn’t have a recycling bin, so I made one! simple, I got a big box, stuck a ‘put plastic and recyclables in here’ sign and voila; sorted. 

Aside from the traditional not-putting-plastic-in-the-bin, my fashion choices have drastically changed over the past years. With studying a fashion course at university, sustainability has been at the heart of most projects, as it grows more and more common in the industry. Some changes I’ve made include majorly cutting down on fast fashion and with that recycling my old clothes.
 I discovered H&M have a clothes recycling bin therefore have, many a time got rid of old clothes there.
In terms of buying clothes, I very rarely shop and if I do, yes it may be in your Topshops or Zaras but in my instance the last ‘fast fashion’ item I bought was November. Fastforwarding 4 months later to now I don’t find this to be too offensive to the environment. I recently discovered second-hand online clothing store Re-Fashioned [website], having read up about them in Oh Comely magazine. They, essentially being a charity shop online, offering excellent condition clothing at absolute bargain prices, with proceeds going to Breast Cancer Care. I ordered myself the coat and trousers pictured above and am very happy with them! Having read into the brand, they state that 60% of proceeds go to charity as apposed to the traditional 25% a charity shop would, so by ordering from them your donating a large sum, helping the sustainability movement as well as having perfect condition new clothes; bargain!

Aside from fashion, some other small changes I’ve made is not purchasing coffee cups. If I want a coffee put don’t have my recyclable one, then its no coffee for Lisa! It’s a scary thought to think most coffee cups cannot be recycled with a stat I found stating 2.5 billion cups are thrown away each year compared to just 400 that can be recycled [The Telegraph]; this purely down to the film inside the cardboard. It’s really a no brainer for me as you even get 25p-30p off in most coffee shops if you bring you’re own cup so you’re saving money too.
In the same vain, I do not buy plastic bags. This isn’t a new thing for most people since the 5p/10p charge most people have resorted to material or reusable bags. This is something that is very important as plastic bags are extremely damaging to Marne life as well as 1 plastic bag taking nearly 1000 year to decompose, which is just horrendous when you think of it.

A new one I recently discovered was sanitary product waste. Being a girl, we all get periods and I’m one who regularly uses tampons. What hadn’t clicked until recently was the type of tampons I use, which tend to be applicator ones. The plastic applicators to which I do not recycle, because of course, they’ve been *up there* haven’t they, so my instant reaction has been to put it in the bin instantly. What I now am going to start implementing is buying non-applicator tampons. Having recently watched a YouTube video from Fabulous Hannah, who did a campaign with Lil-Let, she explained the environmentally damage the plastic applicators were having, with me instantly feeling a guilt. Who said YouTube wasn’t informative, eh?! – so here’s a new one to add to my sustainability list!
Of course, I may, in a years time, have 5 more things to add to this list as we as a society become more and more conscious and the thing we can do to help, grows. In term of my diet, I’ve never been a huge meat eater with me very rarely buying or eating meat (Quorn is life x) So, in terms of meat consumption, I like to think I make a small difference here too as we all know the stats surrounding us helping as a society if we all stopped eating meat. Therefore, in this area too I’m going to add this too to my sustainability list! After all if we all chip in, even a little, a massive difference can be made. I kind of like this planet we live on, so would be nice if we didn’t ruin it completely HAHA.

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