If 2018 brought something good, it’s awareness about the terrible effects of certain things on our planet. Fashion and plastic were the big offenders, and I believe we all want to do better next year. With only two weeks left until 2019, I thought it may be good to give you some ideas for 5 sustainable New Year’s resolutions you can easily implement in your life, today!
1. Ditch the single-use plastic
Plastic is extremely convenient, but we rarely realise how much of it we use every single day. The worst offenders? Single-use bags, daily water bottles, and pretty much all packaging. However, if 2018 made one thing clear, it was that plastic is incredibly detrimental to the environment, and especially the oceans. If we continue to use plastic at the current rate, we soon won’t be able to swim in a clean sea or even drink plastic-free water!
But ditching plastic doesn’t have to be scary. It’s actually incredibly easy, and turns out cheaper in the long run! A change I’ve already implemented is bringing the very strong multi-use carrier bags when I do a larger shopping. Despite being made from plastic, they do last ages and I never throw them away! If you’re buying just stuff for one dinner though, a cotton tote is definitely a more sustainable choice!
When it comes to water bottles, you have no excuse to keep on buying plastic ones: just look at these cute reusable water bottle designs! Finally, I do sometimes buy stuff on-the-go, like meal deal sandwiches, but one of my 2019 resolutions is definitely to bring my lunch with me more often. It’s the small changes that make the biggest difference, and if you reduce your plastic use by just 20%, the effect on the environment will be huge!
2. Wear your clothes
This is a fashion blog, so of course I had to mention clothes (plus, I love talking about this stuff!). If you haven’t watched The True Cost yet, I totally recommend it (it’s on Netflix, so no excuses!). No spoilers, but the jist is simple: people in developing countries make our clothes under terrible and often unethical conditions. Some have already died for fashion, and I don’t want to be a part of this fast-fashion chain anymore!
The biggest reason for the worsening of the working conditions is the huge demand stores like Forever 21, Zara and H&M face from us, the customers. We all want cheap, new clothes, and we want them now! If we want to tackle the issues with fast fashion, we have to decrease the demand. So the solution is simple: wear your clothes for longer, and try to buy only what you need, not what you simply want. In fact, the most sustainable clothes aren’t from a sustainable brand: they’re the clothes in your own closet. You’ve already bought them, and the best way to say no to fast fashion is to wear your clothes as much as possible before committing to something new.
3. Invest in ethical companies
However, for a lot of people buying clothes is a necessity, and sometimes a pleasure they don’t want to give up. In this case, I’ve found that paying more for my clothes makes me think twice before I buy, and before I toss it in a donation pile. Investing in clothes may sound silly, but a well-made item will usually last you much longer, and that cost-per-wear will be much better than the £10 H&M top you only wear once!
So if you want to vote with your wallet, invest in companies that do things better. I’m talking about clothing brands that take sustainability at heart, like LNBF and Grana, both of which I’ve personally tried. In these photos I’m wearing the LNBF Irma dress, and honestly, it’s the softest dress I own! After 3 washes it still looks brand new, and I’m sure it’s going to last me way longer than any fast-fashion item would. So for 2019, I want to try more ethical and sustainable fashion brands, and bring you reviews so you know which brands you can trust!
4. Buy local
However, no matter how sustainably something is produced, if it’s flown all the way from around the world, it’s not 100% great. What we can do better is reducing the travelling miles of the things we use most often. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s groceries. Growing up in a country with four seasons, I was used to strawberries only in the summer. Yet, in developed countries, most fruit and veg are available year-round. Great if you want to make a super-fancy strawberry parfait in December. Not so great on the environment, though, as the strawberries were flown from Spain or even further!
The solution to reducing the carbon footprint of our food is to buy local. Choosing in-season items produced in your country is the easiest way, and can be done even in supermarkets. Just look for the country of origin! If you enjoy going to a farmers’ market, then great – most of the stuff you’ll find there will be local, but potentially a little bit more expensive.
I get it, though! Buying all local, organic, in-season items can be a little hard on your wallet. Start small: pick one or two things that you buy semi-often, and try to find them locally. I started with my University’s beekeping community which produces arguably the tastiest honey I’ve tried! Supporting small local businesses is an easy swap both ways- you provide a person with an income, and you get healthier food in return!
5. Have a veg day (or two, or three)
Some of you may know that I turned pescetarian (vegetarian who also eats seafood) about 18 months ago. It’s been a very natural transition for me, and I’ve enjoyed not eating meat as I never really liked it. Besides the ethical reasons, my biggest motivator was reducing the pressure on the environment.
However, as it got progressively colder and darker this winter, I’ve found myself craving more meaty stuff, and for me that’s fish. So in the last week, I was truly vegetarian for only 2 days, which is far from perfect for my standards! Fish also requires plenty of resources to be produced, so I felt a little uneasy eating it so often. I know that eating more ‘heavy’ food is super common in winter, but as the New Year falls right in the middle of it, I think it can be a great time for a little change!
So think about how many days you ate meat this week, and try to eat it one day less next week. So if you ate meet daily, why not try to be vegetarian for just a day? It may sound scary (like what would you eat, right?), but it’s honestly not that hard at all! There are a lot of dishes that can be made simply without meat (like Chili con carne, but without the carne), or hearty meals like this curry which I got my meat-loving boyfriend super hooked on! I understand that going full-force vegetarian is not for everyone (not even for me at the moment), but even having a meatless Monday does wonders to reduce the carbon footprint of our food!
These five simple ways for a more sustainable life aren’t ground-breaking. But it’s usually the smallest thing that make the biggest difference. It’s all about getting inspired. So tell me – which one of these tips are you most excited to try in 2019?
Photos by Anna Gandziarska