How to guide

10 Easy Steps to Environmental Enlightenment

You have joined the spiritual path, now it’s time to join the environmental one. It’s all very well and good being at one with the world, preaching human and animal rights, and connecting to your higher self, but are you ethically and environmentally enlightened? Do you do your utmost to reduce your environmental impact on this planet?

By bringing consciousness to the way in which you treat this planet, you will become more aware of the wider consequences of the tiniest of your actions, such as which toiletries you buy.

By respecting the planet, in turn, you might also become more respectful of yourself, and those around you. You will feel good about the difference you can make in this world as every little helps. Whether you are carrying around a refillable bottle, or you are the CEO of the biggest environmental charity in your country, each small step affects the whole.

Take a look at my list of 10 simple ways in which you can reduce your environmental impact on our planet and do your bit to ensure its survival for generations and species to come.

1. Plastic bags

There really is no excuse for using plastic bags these days. Reusable bags are affordable and easy to purchase. They come in various fabrics and sizes, therefore you can have a small one in your handbag/backpack and a large one in the car for bigger shops. If you can’t afford, or find one, they can be made easily using an old t-shirt, a pair of scissors and a YouTube tutorial (p.s. you don’t even need a needle and thread!).

2. Plastic bottles

Single use plastic bottles are bad for the environment and bad for your wallet. Why would you buy a bottle of water at the shop every day/week for a dollar, if you could buy a reusable one that you can refill wherever you are? If you are travelling and need access to clean water then try using a LifeStraw, Water-to-go, or similar product, which filters dirty water from rivers, streams, lakes and even puddles! These will save you a fortune and reduce your impact on the beautiful countries you are fortunate enough to explore.

3. Plastic straws

Here’s a crazy thought, instead of using a plastic straw, you could try just sipping your drink straight from the cup…! If you don’t like to sip your drink from the glass, or you have sensitive teeth, you can buy bamboo, glass or stainless steel straws. They are reusable, and are small enough to pop in your bag or pocket. They even come with their very own cleaning brush!

4. Disposable Lighters

You don’t have to be a smoker to hold responsibility for this one my friend. Candle-lovers and incense-burners alike are also responsible for their disposable lighter consumption. If you’re a smoker, or you just like candles, you might find yourself frequently buying disposable lighters. An environmental and economic alternative are reusable lighters. You can get reusable clippers and Zippos which you can refill using special lighter fluid. This will decrease the number of plastic lighters you throw away that might end up in an animal’s stomach.

5. Plastic toothbrushes

Now that bamboo toothbrushes are becoming more popular, it’s getting easier to ditch the plastic ones and be more environmental. For me personally, I enjoy changing my toothbrush fairly often as I like to keep my teeth in good condition. Therefore, I can get through 4-6 toothbrushes a year! And if you don’t want to get rid of your snazzy coloured toothbrush, just check out the variety on Amazon and you’ll be surprised.

6. Disposable razors

These multi-packs of 30 disposable razors for a few dollars are terrible for your skin and even more terrible for the environment.Buying razors with reusable heads is much better for the environment and again, for your wallet.  They have even started introducing reusable razors with bamboo handles. Alternatively, you could let it grow!

7. Bottled Soap

You have probably been choosing products that don’t test on animals or that specifically have organic ingredients, but have you been giving much consideration to the packaging? Most people need soap in their lives; however, we do have a choice as to whether we use plastic bottles of squirty soap, or organic bars in recyclable paper packets. It’s your responsibility to choose the latter. Equally, refilling stations are beginning to pop up all over the world. In my small village town in the West of England we have an eco-shop that will refill shampoo, conditioner, washing up liquid, hand soap, fabric conditioner and are introducing new ones all the time. It’s worth looking into.

8. Micro-gels

Now this one is even fairly new to me. Due to the microscopic nature of the plastic balls in these exfoliating gels it is easy to dismiss them or not even consider their impact at all. Try using an exfoliating glove or loofah.

9. Cling film

Now that we have alternatives such as biodegradable cling film or beeswax wraps, plastic cling film can be a thing of the past. Again, if you are concerned about their affordability or availability, beeswax wraps can be made using a bit of cloth, some beeswax and a YouTube tutorial. They can also be much prettier than cling film.

10. Sanitary wear

Obviously this one is only applicable to ladies, however, men can always suggest this to the women in their life. Firstly, let’s start off with the alternative for sanitary pads – reusable sanitary pads. Now I understand that some people’s first reaction to this is not a positive one, however, you shouldn’t mock it until you try it. They are much more comfortable than throw away ones and incredibly soft on your sensitive parts. Not to mention they come in pretty designs! You can find different sizes ranging from the large night time ones to the little panty-liner styles. If you are not into hand-washing then you can pop them in the washing machine.

Secondly, a great alternative to tampons are Moon Cups, Diva Cups or other similarly named products. Just like tampons, they can take a while to get to used, particularly how to insert them properly. But like anything worth learning, it just takes practice. All cups come with instruction manuals, they are easy to clean, and most come with a little cotton bag to protect it and keep it clean. They last much longer than tampons (12 hours), and have almost a zero chance of causing toxic shock syndrome.

Of course, there are endless things you do to help the environment but I thought I would narrow it down to a few, easily achievable, options to get you started. Once you begin, there’s a whole new world out there just waiting to be utilised. If you have any questions on how to lead a more environmentally conscious life, just leave a comment or send a message.

Good Luck!

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