Have you made a new year’s resolution to live more sustainably in 2022? As the world becomes increasingly conscious of our personal impact on the health of the planet, a growing number of us are looking to take steps to reduce waste in our homes and to minimise our carbon footprints – but while our intentions may be good, it’s surprisingly easy to get overwhelmed by the task at hand and give up before you’ve even begun.
The pressure to be perfect is a particular factor that tends to impact upon those starting out on their journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle – but contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to do it all to make a difference. If we all make small changes, they add up to create a huge impact – so starting with some simple and manageable steps and focusing on progress, not perfection, is often the best way to proceed. From there, you can always add in some new and improved habits or make some additional swaps as you go along – but trying to do it all at once is, in many cases, a recipe for disaster.
If you’re unsure where to start, then we’ve rounded up some of the easiest changes you can make today to get the ball rolling.
Swap plastic bags for cloth bags
The so-called ‘Blue Planet Effect’ has, thankfully, seen us become increasingly aware of our consumption of single-use plastics, with David Attenborough’s eye-opening documentary series shining a spotlight on the plight of the ocean and the life that resides in it because of the increasing plastic waste polluting it.
Supermarkets have led the way when it comes to encouraging people to think more sustainably when shopping, with the annual number of single-use plastic carrier bags issued by Tesco dropping from 637 million to just 12 million between 2017 and 2021 – but there is still a long way to go when it comes to reducing the plastic waste that is plaguing the planet.
Fabric bags and zero waste pouches are a great solution if you’re personally looking to cut down on your usage of plastic bags. Saketos offers some excellent eco-friendly options that are perfect for shopping, with smaller sizes designed specially for storing your potatoes, onions and other vegetables so that you can leave the small disposable plastic bags behind when buying loose items. And they certainly don’t have to be plain or boring, either – the brand also offers a personalisation service which allows you to customise your bags and have them printed in your own designs, as well as choosing from a range of pre-printed versions.
Replace fast fashion with classic quality
When it comes to shopping for luxury goods, we’ve come to expect excellent quality – but in this day and age, fast fashion has begun to take precedence as we clamour to keep up with the latest trends. Even some of our favourite high-end designers appear to have sold out, churning out numerous new lines each year in a bid to capitalise on the increased demand – so it’s up to us, as customers, to do our homework.
Looking for quality materials and garments that are built to last for years to come is a good place to start, but it doesn’t address the whole story. Looking into a brand’s sustainability credentials to ensure that their practices are ethical and consider sustainability at every stage of the supply chain is important if you’re looking to really make a difference – and with ‘green washing’ an increasing problem, you might have to dig a little deeper to get to the truth.
Fast fashion brands often use unsustainable materials and pollute our waterways with toxic dyes in order to ensure a quick turnaround – which brings with it a multitude of problems for our environment. So be sure to research before you buy to ensure that you’re supporting only the brands that deserve you to.
Shopping locally might sound like an obvious swap to make, but the reasons that make this a more sustainable option run deeper than you might think. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint by not travelling as far to go shopping yourself, but by choosing shops that source their clothes, produce and other wares locally, you’ll also reduce the distance they’ve had to travel to get to you – so it’s a win-win when it comes to eco-conscious consumption.
Visiting multiple shops to get the items you need might feel like a lot of effort when you’re used to simply shopping online or going to the supermarket, but it’s a small change that can make all the difference – and local business owners will no doubt appreciate it, too. As well as looking to shop as local as possible it’s also important to take a much closer look at your financial decisions in 2022 as utilising eco-friendly banking and investing sustainably are also other great ways of helping to save the planet.
The bottom line
Living a more sustainable lifestyle isn’t about being perfect – it’s just about being more conscious about the small, daily decisions you make, and inspiring others to do the same. Becoming more discerning as a customer and demanding more from the shops and brands you buy from is a great place to start when it comes to effecting wider-spread, long-term change – and as more and more begin to take note, it’ll gradually become easier to do the right thing. So start with these small steps today, and you might just create a ripple effect over the years that follow.