Why did I make the Decision to Be more Environmentally Friendly?
I haven’t always shown such a deep concern for the environment. There were times when I chucked rubbish in the bin without thinking where it would actually go. Growing up in Russia I was completely oblivious to any environmental issues or the immense pollution destroying our planet. There wasn’t any established recycling system in Russia hence why I didn’t have any reason to give it a moment’s thought.
After I’d travelled to the UK and Canada for the first time, I found the whole recycling system incredibly confusing. You had to separate plastic, food waste, paper and lots of other things. I distinctly remember standing in front of 5 different types of recycling bins In Toronto trying to get it right. I was puzzled because I didn’t know anything about recycling and its purpose. However, when moved back to England to live permanently I decided to educate myself on the recycling situation and it definitely changed me for the better.
The very first thing I learnt is that you must never put food in a recycling bin. If other recyclable packaging gets contaminated then it will all end up in landfill. Ever since I’ve been rinsing all packaging (e.g. yogurt pots, milk bottles, any plastic containers that held food) to eliminate any cross-contamination.
I also realised that I had to cut down on plastic whenever possible. Now I carry my own shopping bag everywhere. I purchased a reusable coffee cup to get fresh coffee every day and still stay eco. If somehow I happen to leave my eco mug at home – then alas no coffee for me that day. I no longer buy certain products that I consider a complete waste of plastic. If possible, I get loose bananas, apples, oranges, and vegetables. Anything that is overly packaged in non-recyclable plastic I tend to leave on the shelf. Of course at the moment we can’t completely go plastic free but every little step counts.
Buying eco-friendly cleaning products is my other way to contribute to tackling global warming and the wellness of our planet. Not only are chemical detergents hazardous for marine life and wildlife, but people too. Take bleach for example. Its fumes are very potent and when inhaled can do great damage to your lungs. While prolonged exposure may irritate skin.
How do I incorporate Sustainability into my Day to Day Life?
Incorporating the eco-lifestyle into our busy and fast-paced life is a big challenge. Besides, we have families to look after and jobs to think about. Where can one possibly find time to care for the environment? You have to really integrate this environmental thinking and make eco-decisions on a subconscious level.
I found it hard at first too. However, I keep trying to find ways to make my lifestyle more sustainable and less harmful to the environment. I always think of what I could swap out for a reusable or recyclable product. If you watch a couple of documentaries and read web articles on this topic, you will find a myriad of products and materials that people are already using and reusing. It’s not that hard.
Women can now buy reusable pads when on their period. It might sound a bit unhygienic, but people are using them and there’s nothing odd about it. Period-proof underwear is another way to be eco on your period. It will hold up to two tampons’ worth and won’t feel any different to your normal underwear. There’s already reusable cotton pads to take makeup off. You can get food at your local groceries, fish at the fishmonger’s and meat at the butcher’s and bring your own packaging which you can reuse.
In different countries people have a very different attitude towards the environmental issues. In Russia, for example, no one really knows much about it. British local councils have been educating people for a while now on how to recycle. Yet, while England is doing quite a good job of recycling, its capital seems to be a bit behind. To give you an example – a lot of people who come here to work or to visit don’t really care much about disposing of their rubbish in the correct way.
I guess carelessness comes from either ignorance or being unaware. We should care. If you watch Blue Planet showcasing some of the most polluted waters and beaches in the world, you will be horrified. We don’t realise it because we haven’t seen the damage first hand. A long time ago I was ignorant myself until I learnt from the news that the landfill in my local city in Russia was bursting. There was no more room to dump rubbish. So they had to find a new area to turn it into a tip. Russia has amazing nature and divine virgin forests full of animals and birds which would suffer greatly if their home becomes wasteland. In England the amount of rubbish increases every year which is terrifying because not all of it is recyclable. Tons of paper gets damaged or contaminated even before it reaches the recycling plant.
I hope this information is useful and I can’t wait to share more eco articles with you to make our planet an even greater place.