Waste Not Want Not
Art and words: Eden Payne | @edenpain
When it comes to lessening our impact on the earth, it’s easy to get preachy or disheartened. It’s important to acknowledge that we’re all on a journey and although guilt and shame (the kind we should all feel for the destruction of our planet) can be a powerful motivator for change, I think there is a more constructive way. So before we get to my personal list of practical stuff here are a few steps to take:
1. Acknowledge that you are part of the problem and therefore also the solution. Be open. Read. Listen. Act.
2. Get back in touch with how awe inspiringly diverse this world is and should continue to be. Knowing a little more about our natural world will help rid you of apathy and kindle the fire that moves you to protect it even when you’re feeling lazy. This is as easy as watching David Attenborough or taking a stroll through one of our many national parks or beaches.
3. Foster selflessness. Recognise the impact your actions have on others.
4. Affirm small victories and changes. Tell your local cafe how happy you are that they don’t use plastic straws anymore. Tell your friend that their reusable cup is fantastic.
5. Remember your privilege and use it for good. Often making sustainable choices in a fast paced capitalist society takes more time and access to resources.
Some Handy Tips:
Carry a lunchbox with cutlery inside
– I like to capitalise on all the leftovers because what’s better than getting another meal out of the one you already paid for while avoiding food waste. If you love sushi as much as I do keep some chop sticks and a soy fish in there. Think of this soy fish as your refillable travel size container. Refill it by squeezing the air out and suctioning some soy from a big bottle at home.
If you do forget your reusables aim to eat somewhere that won’t use plastic
– If you really can’t avoid the plastic, take it home to wash and reuse it. I use my (decreasing) plastic stash to gift baked goods without the worry of collecting my container from them later.
Coffee is cheaper and a better drinking experience if you have your own cup
– No need to have a branded keep cup, most coffee shops will accept a humble mug if you smile and ask politely. Make sure it’s clean to keep your barista friendly! If you forgot your cup just wait for a time in the day where you can go have a sit down coffee. Why are we always rushing to be somewhere else? Try to slow down and take it all in. You might even take a laptop and work from a cafe for a change of scenery.
Buy second hand or support local makers who are making ethical choices with their materials
– Investing in fewer but well made clothes and objects benefit you, their makers and the environment.
Replace tampons and pads with a menstrual cup and period underwear
– Did you know that period undies feel just like normal underwear and menstrual cups can go all day without being changed! I now wear white linen pants during my period which is the height of confidence.
Replace cling wrap, baking paper and paper towels
– This easily done with bees wax wraps, silicon baking sheets and dishcloths.
Home-made cleaning sprays really do work!
– Search up a recipe and start experimenting. I like a boiled mix of lemon, ginger, vinegar and bicarb for tough stains.
Buy fruit in season and freeze
– You’ll be able to make the cheapest most delicious packaging free smoothies. Simply chop and put into containers. Ice cube trays are great for storing liquids like fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice.
Eat more vegetables and less meat
– If meats are a must in your family try swapping out beef and lamb for kangaroo. Offer to cook and make a delicious vegetarian or vegan meal. Buy vegetarian recipe books for your family! Slowly reduce the number of days you eat meat.