When it comes to reducing our footprint on the environment, I know firsthand that any change needs to be realistic and doable. It's not about drastically changing every single thing we do or taking away our comforts, it's really about making small swaps and switches that make sense for us. Below are 5 ways you can start living more sustainably now:
1. Start shopping at consignment stores
I've recently discovered the beauty of consignment shopping and I can't believe it's taken me this long really. Since I've been pregnant, I've been apprehensive to purchase anything new, so I've basically been living in leggings and tank tops (cute, right?). I decided I needed to get a couple of items after my blossoming bump began to poke out the bottom of one of my shirts and I found myself tugging my pants up more than usual... I went to a couple of typical "fast fashion" stores like Old Navy hoping to find a couple of basics, but I just couldn't bring myself to purchase anything. I knew the clothes weren't produced in any sort of sustainable manner and I just didn't feel right, so I went to a thrift store close by but didn't have any luck there after being bombarded by the smell of curry when I walked in (don't ask me why). I then remembered there was a little consignment shop I had been eyeing up not far away and ended up having the most amazing experience there. Not only are the clothes chosen and curated (read: still in-style), but the selection was great and so were the prices. You get to enjoy a stylish find at half the price, and an old item gets a new life, saving your wallet and the planet.
2. Stop junk mail
Did you know you can ask Canada Post to stop sending you ad mail simply by putting a note on your mailbox? If you'd like to learn more, click here.
3. Switch to a french press over filtered coffee
I love my french press. I never have to remember to buy coffee filters and I can easily compost my grounds as I keep a compost bin under my kitchen sink. There's something about a french press coffee that you just can't beat. We've also switched to Level Ground, who offers a compostable package with their 1LB bags of beans.
4. Recycle plastic packaging and overwrap
You know how basically everything comes wrapped in plastic? Well, ideally we stop buying these items all together, but if you have items in your house or something you just can't live without, at least there are some great options now to dispose of this wrapping in a sustainable way. I take mine to our local Bottle Depot, but London Drugs now has a great in-house program as well. Simply designate a reusable bag in your kitchen to collect all soft plastics and overwrap (grocery bags, produce bags, plastic wrapping etc) and take it in when it's full. I like to coincide this with our monthly bottle run, but if you don't do that, find a route once a month that takes you by one of these locations and you can easily pop in and drop off.
5. Learn what your municipality recycles and designate bins appropriately
Recycling contamination is a huge problem and most of us don't actually know what is accepted in our curb side recycling (some companies won't take glass etc...), where it's supposed to go, or what is done with it once we put it out. In my experience, municipalities don't do a great or engaging job of educating people (though they usually have tons of info on their websites), so I think it's up to us to educate ourselves and each other on how to do this. I'm looking forward to holding some fun and engaging workshops on this in the future.