Today we are going to get down to the nitty gritty of things that you can do to continue to reduce your consumption of plastics, both recyclable and non-recyclable, also, we will introduce some of the things that we do as a household to live more sustainably. Living sustainably means constantly making changes and trying to adapt your personal circumstances towards choices that are better for the environment. Some of these you are probably already doing and others you may not have thought about and still more that you have personally made that I will not mention in this post, but please feel free to connect with me, we are always striving to find new ways to reduce our overall impact on the environment and would love to hear what you have been doing.
I am going to start in the kitchen, well, more precisely the fridge and the pantry. In our home we are big dairy consumers, so to limit the amount of plastics that we bring into our house we have made some pretty simple changes. Instead of buying margarine or butters in the plastic containers, we buy stick butter wrapped in paper, or if time allows we will whip our own from pure cream, contained in the cardboard carton (the buttermilk that is left is always a treat to make pancakes with). We do not buy milk in the 3L plastic bottles any more, but have changed to powdered skim milk, we have one litre glass bottles that we use and reuse. The powdered milk we buy in the large foil bags and empty in to a large container and make up 4L at a time, we have calculated that we replace at least 4 plastic bottles with the one bag of milk powder. If you are dairy free, you can do the same thing with powdered coconut milk, which smells divine, by the way.
Another change we have made is to bake all our own bread, those plastic bags and little plastic clips were always something that we wanted to get rid of in our home. We still however, have the occasional clip, so we collect them and the plastic lids off bottles, tetra packs and jars, and send to organisations like https://ozbreadtagsforwheelchairs.org.au or https://envision.org.au We have a friend that is collecting toothpaste tubes, so we swap our used toothpaste tubes with her for bread tags and caps. This is something that we can all do, talk with your neighbours, friends and family and maybe nominate a different person to register and collect a different thing, that way you only have to collect and send one thing each, plus it is a good excuse to catch up and spend time together.
Personally, I really love to cook and to make up different dishes so the next few suggestions are easy for me. Cooking and eating at home as often as possible is another choice we make to limit our consumption of resources and growing some of our own fruit and vegetables goes hand in hand with this. I have already talked about our backyard set up in Part 2, but did not go into any detail about our food garden. We have a small veggie and herb garden, that supplements our table, also in the back garden we have a Macadamia tree, an olive tree, a mandarin tree, two lime trees, a bush lemon and a regular lemon tree and three blueberry bushes and a youngsberry vine. All of these except the olive produce yearly crops that we harvest when in season. Growing your own fruit and vegetables not only provides food, but adds beauty to your yard and can have beneficial effects for the environment in a number of different ways. We try to incorporate the principals of permaculture wherever possible and enjoy knowing that our established gardens, trees and shrubs all provide native habitats for a number of birds, frogs, lizards, insects and other small creatures.
Batteries and printer cartridges are things that you can also collect and take to different collection points for recycling, Aldi, Officeworks and most local libraries and post offices will often have bins for these. We replaced our old printer with an eco tank printer when it needed to be replaced, these do not take cartridges at all but have tanks that you poor the inks directly in to. Even though the ink does come in plastic bottles, each bottle of ink lasts so much longer than a normal cartridge. When buying printer paper we always buy recycled paper, actually wherever we can we always try to buy the 100% recycled option, these include paper roll and toilet paper. I just want to emphasise how very important buying recycled items is to living sustainably, I think that a lot of people forget this part, but if you think about it, it really is quite obvious, recycling companies cannot continue to function if we do not support them.
There really are so many ways that you can adapt to live more sustainably, I have touched on just a few here, and if you are looking for more ideas, than please go back and take a look at some of my earlier posts, and remember that many small changes, made by a lot of people can make a big difference. So please go forward and question every thing that you do, and ask yourself, “Is there a better choice I can make that is kinder to the Earth?” Have a beautiful day and I will see you back here soon.