We cannot ignore that large-scale change is necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change, but the reality is that we can’t all be full-time environmental activists. What we can easily do is make informed decisions about the products that we choose to engage with on the daily Because of this, I want to share some of my favourite eco-friendly products that are simply incorporated into daily life.
- Cloth Bags
This is a must-have to cut down plastic waste! Plus, most grocery stores are now charging per plastic bag. But, there’s a catch. What isn’t so obvious is that given the energy and resources required to create and transport a reusable bag, they only have less of an environmental impact once you have used them about 100 times. Read a bit more about that here. I learnt this from Queen’s Chemistry professor Philip Jessop last year at QSUS (an upcoming conference you might want to check out). So, make sure that you aren’t acquiring and hoarding cloth bags at every opportunity. Remember REDUCE is the first of the three R rules! If you can’t fall in love with reusing your cloth bags over and over, make sure you’re reusing plastic bags as a garbage can liner and disposing of them properly.
People laugh when I pull these out, but how many times- especially as a student- have you been eating on the go and had to give in to using plastic utensils? Try to keep a spork in your bag for these moments. My personal favourites are from Light my Fire, featuring a sleek design and lots of colour options.
- Water Bottles
This may be a no-brainer for some of you, but I’m always shocked at how many people are still using single-use plastic water bottles (L). If the environment isn’t a good enough reason to convert you, tune into the latest trend and get yourself a Swell, or maybe even a Corkcicle if you’re feeling ballsy.
- Diva Cup
Sorry, girls only! But ladies, if you haven’t yet considered trying out the Diva Cup, you’ve been missing out. The idea of a menstrual cup can be weird and intimidating, but this product that cuts down on waste and time is a true game changer.
- Soap Nuts & Reusable Dryer Sheets
Soap nuts are one of nature’s miracles. Touted as “organic laundry detergent”, this small box from Eco Nuts claims to be good for 100 loads! Soap nuts (or berries) are a berry shell that contains a natural soap called saponin, and are much gentler on the environment as compared to traditional laundry detergents. Similarly, reusable tumbler sheets act as dryer sheets, eliminating static, the need for fabric softener, and without the noise of dryer balls. Soap nuts and tumbler sheets are also a great option if you are worried about exposure to harsh or toxic chemicals or have allergies.
Making better decisions for the environment can be as simple as bringing some of these products into your life. Did you notice that they all have one thing in common? They reduce waste. If you are already engaging in waste reduction behaviour or are quick to commit to the cause, I would recommend taking on a zero-waste challenge as the next step. This will allow you to clearly understand of how much garbage you are unconsciously producing so as to reduce it in the long-term.
As well, remember that being good to the environment is almost always also beneficial to your wallet. Using these products and others like it is financially sustainable in the long-term. In many cases, there isn’t even much of a cost difference in the short term. Accordingly, if environmental conservation isn’t your top priority, maybe preserving your bank account balance will resonate more readily!
Remember, waste reduction and frequent reuse habits is not the answer to environmental issues, but it is a start that can lead to increased environmental awareness, commitment and action. If that is what interests you, join us in March at CEEC 2018!