Happy 2020! It’s a new decade! How eco-friendly have you been this year? How much has it mattered to you, compared to the year 2010?
My habits have changed enormously over the past 5 years. With so many more of us taking action to reduce waste (even practicing zero waste), eating local and/or plant-based, using our cars less (or buying electric), it’s felt increasingly easy to see & adjust where I was going wrong.
Reusables weren’t always cool. No one’s ever wanted to be the kid with the stinky tupperware. So many reusable cups have appeared on the market in the past few years, from those that recycle waste (like coffee husks or paper cups) to those that promise a warm drink for several hours. My favourite is still my trusted glass keepcup; it’s easy to clean and doesn’t take on a funky taste with use, like plastic does.
I’m not setting the best example of #slowtravel (I flew multiple times in 2019), but my awareness to its possibility has increased. Whilst interrailing has been around for several years, it’s so easy to live a life of double standards, recyling every orange peel but travelling to the end of the world in the very same years. Talk about controversy! Slow travel is exactly what you think it is; it takes longer to get to your destination (train, bus, boat, bike, etc) but the travel is as much part of your holiday as getting to your end goal.
Yes, these might totally be a token item. Amongst the plastic waste you produce in a year, your plastic toothbrushes might not account for *that* much. Yet still, they’re a small change you can make easily. They’re sold online and in health food stores, and you can brush your teeth with a slightly clearer conscience.
oat milk explosion
It’s no secret I’m Oatly’s number one fan and greatest advocate. Oatly reached the US market at full speed and proved hugely successful in 2019. Other oat milks have appeared on shelves, too. I’ve discussed why I love oat milk in a previous post; I’m a huge fan because the carbon footprint of oat milk is limited (compared to almonds, especially), particularly in northern Europe and wetter parts of the world, where oats can be grown abundantly and at low cost.
Detergent bottles are annoying for several reasons. They’re waste (and need to be replaced frequently), and often loaded with toxic chemicals. I haven’t *yet* ventured into the realm of making my own detergent, but soap nuts are a good start. I found mine in store, but amazon has a wide selection. These berries are grown on Himalayan trees and contain a natural cleaning agent. Just pop a few in with your clothes and reuse multiple times!
Veganuary 2020 is to be the largest veganuary to date, which makes me so happy. And I’m taking part, like I did last year! You don’t need a reason to consume fewer animal products, but having a community behind you is hugely important to making sustainable changes. After 31 days, many realise it’s really not so hard to avoid animal products in many cases, rediscover their love for cooking and feel great.
As an indication, by going vegan for a month, you could save 30 animal lives, 620 pounds of harmful carbon dioxide emissions, 913 square feet of forest, and 33,481 gallons of water. That’s a lot!
ecover refill stations
I switch between aforementioned soap nuts and ecover detergent, softener and stain remover. But that’s only ever since I found a local refill station! Ecover now has refill stations in many UK cities, find your nearest one here and bring your own bottle to fill up. I buy fragrance-free and add a few drops of lavender essential oil.
Winter gets cold in northern Europe. Doesn’t mean you absolutely must wear fur, wool or down to keep yourself warm! I’m a huge fan of my Qimmik jacket made of thinsulate, an alternative to feathers. Frank and Oak have a whole range of men and women’s thinsulate coats, made from recycled polyester.
more local, less dogmatic
2019 has been the year of picking battles. And with the rise of vegan processed foods (like cheese, yoghurt, fake meats etc), leading a low-impact life has become harder. We know beef is water intensive, but how does it really compare to an ultra-processed meatless diet? So my priorities have changed; it’s less about what is is I’m buying and more about where it’s from, how it was processed and how it got to my plate. Scrambled eggs from the farm down the road or a meatless patty produced god knows where? I’ll have the eggs!
bring your own oatmeal (#BYOO. I invented it.)
There are some things I don’t want to compromise on, and one of those is the comfort of having my morning oatmeal exactly the way I like it. Having started work this year, and commuting to London twice or so a month, I’ve bought Pret a Manger porridge and almond butter countless times. Bad, I know. All those little pots. The great thing about oats is that you can prep them in advance and bring them along.
I either use a glass jar or a thermos coffee cup (swivlit also make a cute little thermos) and add my own recipe (available on my instagram highlights). I add slighlty more liquid and undercook my oats to allow them to absorb more liquid and not dry out. I eat them on the train about an hour or two after leaving home!
What were your favourites of 2019? How did you make the past year a greener one? I’d love to know, and keep up with my future discoveries on instagram!