Contrary to what Kermit says, it actually IS easy being green. Let me show you how.
A few years ago I slumped down on my sofa after having a rubbish day at work (before I worked totally for myself), and I needed cheering up. So I put on a nature programme. But NO! This nature programme was horror-filled! It was investigating deaths in an albatross colony, looking at the little decomposed carcasses of albatross chicks and discovering that masses of household plastic was the cause. It was horrifying. They lined it all up and I was disgusted to see household things that I used every day had been fed to the chicks: toothbrushes, printer cartridges, golf balls. It was at that moment I started my plastic-free journey.
I realised that I personally had the opportunity to make a positive impact. I started with replacing my plastic toothbrushes with bamboo toothbrushes. And then I became addicted to finding plastic-free alternatives! I switched to plastic-free in Embers and Ink and ditched the plastic-wrappers for my cards and prints: I mean, who really wants them? I swapped plastic milk bottles for glass ones, and swapped my supermarket shop with a greengrocer who used paper bags and accepted my bringing my own bags too.
And I noticed that my life was getting easier. I didn't have half-empty shampoo bottles clogging up my bathroom. I didn't have that plastic-bag mountain under my sink. My kitchen bin wasn't filling up with plastic containers, so I wasn't having to take the kitchen bin out as much. That's when my green journey really made me feel like I was living easier: when it didn't matter if I forgot to take the bin out, because it was rarely full.
What you can do
So, if you've got this far, you probably like the sound of giving up plastic too. Nice one! So here are 5 things you can do right now to make a positive impact:Look for glass milk bottle delivery
This is an easy way to cut down on your plastic. A quick internet search will tell you if there is a traditional glass bottled delivery in your area. And with the rise in popularity of this simple swap, the chances are there will be. We actually get ours from our greengrocer, and they give us money back when we return the bottles, which always feels nice.Swap to a local greengrocer
The next time you are in a supermarket, pay attention to the amount of plastic in the place. It's everywhere. And the token efforts at reduced plastic are minimal and hard to find. So I suggest looking for a greengrocer that's local to you, that has loose fruit and veg. Not only will you be cutting out plastic, but you'll be supporting your local independent businesses who always need our support. Also, there is more chance that local greengrocers will be using local produce, which will cut down the carbon footprint of your food.Reduce your meat intake
This might be controversial to some, but even if you don't cut meat out completely, reducing your meat consumption will massively help the planet. Not only is it hard to get meat that isn't wrapped in plastic, but the food miles involved in your meat's journey is often significant. Even worse, supermarket meat has been linked to deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest, where trees are cleared for grazing of cheap meat. It is cheap, but at what cost? I stopped eating meat initially as a temporary measure because I couldn't find it plastic-free. But now I don't miss it, and my food bills are cheaper because of it!Plant trees
Tree planting on a massive scale is one of the main ways we can realistically get out of the climate crisis. New technology is always great, but often has drawbacks. For instance the metals needed for electric cars requires the deep mining of the ocean floor. But planting trees has been found to be 'the best climate change solution available today'. Click to read this BBC article about a recent study: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48870920
Now, you don't need to physically get out there and plant trees yourself (unless you want to). There are many companies and businesses that pay money to support the planting of trees in reforestation projects around the world. I do this with Embers and Ink: every month I pay to plant 11 trees in reforestation projects through an environmental organisation called Ecologi, plus for every $10 (£8ish) I earn through Embers and Ink I fund an extra tree to be planted. Brilliant huh?! So check the environmental policies of the companies you shop with. You can also pay to fund tree-planting through Ecologi as an individual too. Check out the video below, and if you're interested in signing up, they'll fund an extra 30 trees to be planted EACH if you sign up through my link here.Look for a local package-free shop
There has been a definite increase in package-free shops in the last 5 years, so a quick internet search might surprise you. In these shops you can get the things that you can't in the greengrocers: Cereals, pasta, snacks, shampoo bars, soap, menstrual cups etc. If you can shop package-free, then you are REALLY gonna see the benefits on bin day...trust me!
If you don't have one, have a look for some small indie online shops selling shampoo bars etc. But check that they package plastic-free before you order. Otherwise, it's a massive waste of time! One shop I have used in the past is https://www.ingreens.co.uk/ I'm not sponsored! But you might find it a useful starting point.
I hope these 5 suggestions are helpful to you when you are considering starting your green journey. And remember it IS a journey. Don't get disheartened if you can't to all the things all at once. You're doing brilliantly.
Emma Woodthorpe is the human behind Embers and Ink, an independent business from Sheffield UK bringing you bright and bold illustrated gifts that don't cost the earth. See what's on offer at www.embersandink.co.uk.