Old habits die hard, especially when it comes to the things we do or use every day. When my alarm clock resounds every morning I first haul myself out of bed and head towards the shower. Then, I nonchalantly grab my usual liquid soap, wash myself and then I will usually seize my razor or reach for my toothbrush. After getting dressed, it’s probably 8:30am, which means I am now late for work and I don’t have time for breakfast so I rush outside and jump into the bus.
Thankfully, there is a coffee shop conveniently placed on my way to work where I’ll order English Tea with sugar and a brownie to go. After a morning of work, my friends and I will meet for lunch and I’ll probably order a burger and a bottle of water. The rest of my day will usually be spent at the library studying or doing course work until about 7pm, after which I might have a much-deserved cocktail with some friends.
This is a pretty average day for me, and even though it might seem a harmless routine, there are several aspects about it that are highly unsustainable – especially since so many other people seem to be follow this same daily pattern.
So what’s wrong with my routine? Here are some of the reasons why it is so socially unconscious and what I most of us can do to ensure we live a more ethical lifestyle:
A commercial soap bought from the supermarket contends many toxic chemicals which have a negative effect on both your health and the environment. Use a handmade soap instead! Whether you want to try the DIY or if you prefer buying it many alternatives are easy to opt for! Click here to shop our favourite soap.
LESS HAIR, MORE WASTE
Most of disposable single-use razors, made of steel and plastic, cannot be reused or recycled, most of them ending up in landfill. Add to that the costs of manufacturing, plastic packaging, and shipping, shaving becomes a real threat to the environment. Why not use an eco-friendly alternative such as a durable electric shaver, a refillable razor, or a straight razor instead?
Ever wondered what happens to your toothbrush when you throw it away every two or three month? The use of plastic to make toothbrushes is considerable, the carbon footprint is high, and most of them end up in the landfill, and subsequently in the ocean. Use a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush like this one instead!
A CUP OF PLASTIC
Everyday British pleasures are to be blame. Tea routine contribute to plastic pollution as most tea bag brands such as Tetley and Twinning, use plastic (polypropylene) to fasten the tea bag, and maintain the shape of it. You can use eco-friendly plastic-free tea bags or opt for loose tea leaves!
ON THE GO, ON THE EDGE
Disposable cups line with the issue of plastic waste. According to the Independent, less than one percent of these cups are recycled due to the plastic bonded to the paper and the plastic cup contaminated by the drink which requires several treatment facilities in order to be clean. Reusable mugs are (thankfully) very in vogue now, so if you haven’t got your hands on one yet it’s time you finally do it!
SUGAR, SO SWEET & SO BAD
Sugar farming intensively requires water and pesticides, it generates great erosion, threatens water reserves, and impoverishes soils… but the good news is: there are plenty of greener (and healthier) alternatives! Fruits, stewed fruits, honey, and agave syrup are only a few. Give it a go and you might be surprised how well you can do without sugar.
THE DARK SIDE OF CHOCOLATE
Chocolate requires a great water supply (1000 litres to produce one chocolate bar) and cocoa cultures cause greater deforestation to plant new trees. According to WWF, 70% of Ivory Coast’s illegal deforestation is related to cocoa farming. On top of that, before making it to our markets, cocoa is seriously transformed, a process with massive environmental impacts. Some brands such as Lovechock, Discover chocolate bars, use raw cacao, don’t add sugar or palm oil, and trade with sources from the Quality Partner Programme.
According to Prof Tim Benton, giving up beef can reduce carbon footprint more than stopping using cars, using 28 times more land and 11 times more water. Agriculture participates in global warming by causing 15% of all gas emissions and the huge amount of grain and water needed is no less of a concern. Alternative diets and movements like Veganuary have been swooping headlines for its increased popularity over the last few years and the trend seems to just be taking off!
FANCY A DRINK?
What’s the problem with plastic bottles? Firstly, they are made from a petroleum (PET) which requires an extensive use of fossil fuels. Secondly, most of single-use plastics cannot be recycled or reused. According to the UK Parliament, over 13 billion bottles are consumed each year, and half of them are left unrecycled ending up in landfills or in the ocean, threatening sea life. Do we need more reasons to swap plastic water bottles for a reusable one?
A GIN & TONIC & A STRAW
We find straws in most beverages. Plastic straws are the eleventh most found ocean trash and they take up to 200 years to degrade – but they will never really disappear. Each year, one million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from ingesting plastic products, such as disposable straws. The simplest way to reduce plastic pollution is, you guessed… to #refusethestraw. Or better, get your own reusable bamboo or metal one!
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