Do you support Veganuary? Are you vegan or vegetarian? I am vegetarian and have been all my adult life. It’s not just about the food that we eat, however. Here are 7 tips for sustainable lifestyle habits this Veganuary, from the clothes we wear to the products we use in our homes and beyond.
7 Tips for Sustainable Lifestyle Habits
1. Buy preloved clothes, swap them, or buy sustainable. Fashion has been targeted during the past decade or so, especially for the damage done to the environment by our “throwaway” culture. I much prefer to buy my clothes from charity shops and websites like eBay where possible, and there are even dedicated Facebook groups where people swap and give away unwanted clothes, shoes and accessories. My friends and I regularly pass clothes to each other for adults and children ensuring that we don’t throw anything out if we can help it. If preloved isn’t for you, there are lots of companies that sell vegan clothes, made from ethically sourced materials and supporting communities in the developing world.
2. Use natural cleaning products in the home. How many of your household cleaning products are environmentally friendly? It’s not just the ingredients used, but the packaging can cause horrendous damage to our climate and to wildlife habitats. It is much easier to buy eco-friendly cleaning products in your local supermarket nowadays, and you can also order online from lots of places.
3. Use eco-friendly laundry detergent. Our traditional laundry detergent products can be full of chemicals that are dangerous to the environment, and the packaging is often not biodegradable or recyclable. I reviewed Earthbreeze Eco Strips and was pleasantly surprised that they worked just as well to clean my laundry as my regular detergent liquid, and Earthbreeze is much kinder to the environment and to other communities around the world.
4. Check that your shampoo & conditioner is vegan-friendly. How much shampoo do you think you use every year? A lot! All those plastic bottles that fall into landfill, all the chemicals used to create the lather and scent that you enjoy. It might be worth swapping your usual shampoo brand to a more eco-friendly alternative. Personally I am loving the Banana Shampoo and Banana Conditioner from The Body Shop right now. I don’t usually like banana-scented products, but this range is subtle, refreshing, and great for my fine hair. There are other shampoos available for different hair types, the bottles are made from recycled plastic and can be recycled, and the contents are totally vegan friendly.
5. Feed your pets with organic food. OK, I admit that when it comes to pet food I tend to go with the cheapest, most convenient tinned dog food and pouches of cat food for my pets. It is an area that I am looking to improve on. You can buy organic dog treats and cat treats from local, independent pet shops, but if you can’t find what you need, try somewhere like Pooch & Mutt. They run regular discounts on their specialist dog food, you get discounts for bulk buying, and there is a new customer reward scheme that can help you save money and still support the environment and the health of your pets. You can also get planet friendly dog poo bags, and we know how many of those we pet parents get through every week!
6. Monitor your use of gas and electric in the home. Here in the UK, we are in uproar about the cost of our utility bills this winter. My husband has always been a bit regimental about how we heat our home. In the fifteen years that we have lived together he has never allowed me to push our thermostat above 20C because that is perfectly adequate to heat our home. He is a Chartered Waste Manager, and he knows his stuff so I trust his judgement, and our home is nice and cosy so it must be working. We installed a multi-fuel stove in our living room on which we can occasionally burn foraged wood, but mostly we use smokeless coal and kiln-dried logs that are specially sourced by suppliers.
7. Use eco-friendly building materials. This is a big one, and only applies if you are planning some massive home improvements to your house. My husband and I are just beginning to plan for building an extension to our 3-bed semi, and we will be conscious about materials used, where they are sourced, and of course, how much they cost. We can probably improve the environmental impact of our 1950s house simply by upgrading the bathroom furniture, the fitted kitchen and appliances, and adding insulation and better double glazed windows.
What do you think?
There are lots of ways that we can be more environmentally friendly in the home. Do you have any recommendations for products or services? Please share in the comments.
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