Throughout 2009 I noticed myself becoming more conscious of the environmental implications of my actions (or inaction). Reading blogs from like-minded individuals, finding inspiration in crafty recycling/ reuse and researching sustainable sellers has opened my eyes to eco-friendly alternatives, challenged me to think in creative ways about the things I tell myself I can’t live without, and motivated me to keep learning, growing, and changing.
Here are some of my favourite discoveries of 2009, habits I have managed to incorporate into my daily routine:
1. Traded in my old plastic containers for a stainless steel tiffin-style stackable lunch container from To-Go Ware.
2. Learnt that reusable bamboo utensil sets—also from To-Go Ware—are perfect for coffee-stirring, yoghurt-eating and bus stop snacking! I heart bamboo.
3. Fell in love with the Australian-designed Keep Cup, a reusable version of the ubiquitous takeaway coffee cup. I heard about these via Kristy‘s cute blog post, bought one for the daily coffee van fix, and have since converted two workmates to these sweet and practical cups.
4. Taking the tiffin to work each day, inspired by the creative bento-style techniques for packing food to make the best use of the available size and shape, got me reassessing my dependance on plastic for wrapping, storage and transport. This led to a fascination/ slight obsession with reusing glass jars for storage—for flours, grains, nuts, dried legumes, spices, snacks, soup, sauces, pancake batter, iced tea…did I mention I was slightly obsessed?
5. One of my favourite recent discoveries is the Australian company Nature’s Organics, producer of hair & shower products, household cleaners & detergants. Their plant-based, cruelty-free, organic-loving, environmentally-friendly philosophy makes me happy, and the coconutty scent of their shampoo makes me swoon. Their wide range of products are available in most Coles and Woolworths across Australia (Yay! One less thing I have to buy on the internet.).
6. Speaking of hair, I love using an apple cider vinegar rinse on my hair instead of a commercial conditioner. Apparently there are many more green uses for vinegar than I was aware of.
7. I also got around to finally trying the keeper menstrual cup, which takes a bit of patience and practice to get comfortable with—but so worth it. Not having to buy tampons makes me happy.
But these small steps are just the beginning, and I have so many areas for improvement. A few green-focused resolutions to start off 2010:
Knit some dishcloths to cut down on paper towel usage;
Get consistent about carrying reusable shopping bags with me so I don’t resort to plastic;
Find some good cloth hankies (hello Etsy!) and phase out my use of those little packets of disposable tissues (I use them a lot!);
Turn off the computer in favour of some low-energy alternative forms of entertainment (Knitting! Books! Playing rummy!).
This is just my personal list, but you can find more ideas for eco-resolutions here or by searching online.