Eek I am seriously not a fan of resolutions. Usually, because they’re just forgotten about and I think that every day is a new day to set resolutions for change if that’s what I want to do. But, in the spirit of the new year I’m setting some for a more environmentally conscious year. So here’s what I’m going to do:
1. No take-away coffees unless I have my keep cup. Like none, at all (because let’s be real – I do forget to bring it and always rationalise ‘just this one time’ but it’s gotta stop!). I’m pretty sure after a few times of missing my beloved roasted drink I’ll never forget the keep-cup again.
2. Shop locally at the farmer’s markets. I love the markets so much. I love waking up on a Sunday morning and getting out, seeing the same faces from my community, chatting to vendors like the lovely George and Brittany from Margin’s Mushrooms, or Marion who makes my coffee, or an old friend of a friend Richie whose girlfriend makes dog treats. I love bumping into friends like Avi and Bec and I just love the whole atmosphere. It’s my favourite way to start a Sunday really, plus it means we get organic produce that’s made locally – giving the money directly to the farmer and keeping huge amounts of fossil fuels from being used transporting our food around the country. I’m a former shift worker (until a few weeks ago when I went on mat leave) so we weren’t able to do this as often as I would have liked in 2019, but now I have every Sunday off it’s a must-do for 2020.
3. No more single-use plastic. Or double-use plastic. I’d like to think I’m pretty good with single-use plastic but in June I tried to do a challenge and lasted 3 days. I don’t often purchase one off things, and don’t like to buy packets of things in individual packaging (cue eye roll) but I’ll be honest, if I’m out and about and hungry I’ll buy a bliss ball or yogurt or something that’s single-use only. Sure, I feel guilty about it, but guilt isn’t going to save the ocean. Every Thursday when the bins are collected our rubbish bin is full, and every fortnight the recycling bin is full, and that’s just too much rubbish for 2 people so I’m going to minimise it. This will be aided by visits to The Source Bulkfoods at Erina which a friend has recently told me about – where I can get all our washing liquid, dishwashing detergent, legumes, nuts etc. if I bring in my own packets!
4. Stick to modern cloth nappies. I’ve bought 40 of them for our baby, and have every intention of using them, but I bought all of them brand-new from Facebook Marketplace from people who had good intentions who never followed through. As long as I stay on top of washing I think we’ll be fine. This also includes using washers and water instead of wipes. Actually, here’s a weird random fact. I really like hanging washing on the line. Putting in the washing machine takes 2 minutes, so that’s not an issue, and I really HATE putting washing away (because I leave it for 2 weeks and have loads and loads that takes so long..oops) but I love hanging it on the line. I love feeling the sun on my skin, and listening to my chooks cluck about, and peck at my legs for imaginary bugs. So I think it’ll be okay (I say, pre-sleep-deprived).
5. Okay, this is a big one. I’m going to try not buy anything new this year. Like, anything. I’ve got everything we need new for baby (car seat, cot mattress and owlet monitor) and everything else we’ve got off marketplace, so I’m going to keep that up and purchase everything second-hand!
6. Another biggie, I’m going to use more public transport. I say this at 36 weeks pregnant with my first baby, so I may be digging myself into a hole. But I figure I could really get a bus to the shopping centre when I need to go (although, if I’m buying things second-hand what am I going to need? :P) and I could get public transport to see my mum. That is, if she has a whole lot of baby stuff at her house already so I don’t need to take any with me.
7. More dog walks in the bush behind my house, less at the beach 20 minutes away. We all LOVE the beach, and it’s a much easier walk for our oldest dog who’s nearly 14, but we have a huge bush track behind our house that takes zero petrol to use. So I’ll cut down on the beach walks for sure.
8. Use less water. We’re on rain water tanks only, which actually made us alot more water conscious when we moved here. We have a bucket in the kitchen sink which we use to water the garden when it’s full (thanks Mum for the idea), but because we catch our own water, I have felt more entitled to indulging in baths. In fact, because I was pregnant through winter and spring I really indulged in multiple baths a week. The problem is, now our water is low and if we purchase a bulk load of water, it negates the point of having our own water doesn’t it? Plus, I think I’d choke on the chlorinated town water that gets brought in (when I’m at my mum’s I can smell the chlorine in the shower as though I’m in a public pool, no joke). So, I’m going to be more water conscious so that we definitely don’t need to bring in any water and so that we have more water for crops (see next point).
9. Grow alot of our food ourselves. We have chooks so get our own eggs, but we’ve just started planting our garden beds with veggies – we get the odd tomato, spinach and basil and kale are growing. Sadly, just a few days ago temperatures got so high our seedlings all withered and died, but we still have some beans and cucumbers in the green house so hopefully we can keep them going. I’d really like to grow most of our veggies ourselves, that’s really the most carbon-neutral and eco-friendly option isn’t it!
10. I have to figure something out about dog food. We feed our dogs a diet of fresh meat, bones and the odd grain-free loaf, and the cats get a 2kg bag of cat mince every fortnight or so, but all of this stuff comes in plastic. We order our meat from CoastWide Meats who do organic, grass-fed and home delivery so perhaps I’ll look at their website to see if I can get the dog and cat stuff more in bulk so we’re not using as much plastic there.
10. Buy gluten-free bread from the markets or make it myself. We go through about 2 loaves a week and although it’s literally twice the cost at the markets, it tastes better, has less crap ingredients and comes in a paper bag, not plastic. I just found this recipe from Jamie Oliver, and although I’m a terrible baker, my husband is an actual baker, so I’ll get him onto it.
11. Probably the big ones – I’m going to move my super and banking to ethical corporations. I’m moving my bank to Bank of Australia (they even switched to 100% renewable energy last year and was the first bank to do so!) and Super to Cruelty Free Super. I was going to move it to Australian Ethical Super but saw they invest in Pilbara Minerals Limited which is a mining co. And once I go back to work, we’ll move our power to a more ethical power company too (but currently our provider offered us 30% discount and on one income we can’t afford not to).
Just after writing this, I came back from doing our weekly shop and already, it was enlightening. Five minutes into the drive I realised I forgot my keep-cup for my usual market coffee, and while I tried to justify it (I’m pregnant; I’m tired; It’s just this once; I won’t get a lid on it etc.) I realised I had to stick to my resolution and would not be getting a coffee! Lo and behold, the markets weren’t open (I guess it’s too early in January) so we stopped at a little green grocer which we spotted on the way to Woollies. I feel much better supporting small business, and I like knowing the owners are getting the profits not some huge corporation – so that was a win. We managed to get mostly everything with no packaging – except 3 punnets of cherry tomatoes, the bag I put a huge amount of mixed greens in (note to self: need to get these reusable salad bags for shopping) some steak and sausages we got from Aldi and a gluten-free banana bread mix. Eek. I saw it and impulse purchased – we had 3 very ripe bananas I wanted to use, but probably had the ingredients at home anyway. So that’s a note to self for next time. We’ve got some legumes in the cupboard which I could have used for dinner for a few days before our meat order comes, so next time I’ll make an effort to do that too. It’s all a learning curve I guess, but I’m keen to make this stick!
I’d love to know if there are any extra things you can suggest? What do you do to be eco-friendly?