These days, it's more important than ever to live sustainably and be kinder to the planet. Reducing your carbon footprint is easy to do too, and little changes can make a big difference.
Sustainability is the word on everyone's lips as we become increasingly aware of the necessity to fight climate change and tackle the crisis. The planet is warming, and without action worldwide, there will be ecological disaster. Sea levels will continue to rise, flood risks will increase, heat waves will become more frequent, and animals will lose more than half of their habitats. Pretty scary stuff, right?
That said, it's not too late to change the course we're on. Day-to-day you can make small changes that will reduce your carbon footprint and make the world a little bit greener.
Here at Hiccups & Buttercups, we'll walk you through 6 easy steps you can take to live more sustainably.
1.) Say no to single-use plastic
It can sometimes feel challenging to reduce your use of single-use plastic when it's so deeply embedded within our throwaway culture. However, a report by the Center for International Environmental Law in 2019 found that by 2050, without action, plastic will be responsible for up to 13% of the total "carbon budget."
Some of the great ways you can reduce your plastic use include using a reusable bag and your own containers when shopping, purchasing a reusable water bottle and cutting out plastic straws.
These days, you can menstruate sustainably, too, and cut out plastic with biodegradable sanitary towels, menstrual underwear, and menstrual cups!
2.) Opt for sustainable fashion brands and second-hand stores
While usually cheap and easy to get hold of, fast fashion is incredibly damaging to the planet and, most of the time, exploitative to workers. Fast fashion contributes hugely to the depletion of non-renewable resources, increased carbon emissions, and landfill waste. If that wasn't bad enough, the fashion industry is also the second-largest consumer of the world's water supply and pollutes the world's water with microplastics!
Choosing sustainable fashion brands and selecting second-hand clothes can help turn the tide and allow you to enjoy fashion without muddying the water. Sustainable fashion comes in many forms and often uses organic, natural materials, biodegradable dyes, and recycled/upcycled materials.
Meanwhile, opting for 'pre-loved' clothes at second-hand stores or charity shops cuts out the middleman completely, and there are some great finds out there, too!
At Hiccups & Buttercups, we care deeply about creating a more sustainable future and believe that one person can truly make a difference. We offer a wide range of sustainable fashion items for mums, babies and children so that you can live more sustainably and ethically while looking fabulous.
3.) Cut down on animal products
The idea of cutting down on animal products may seem a little bit daunting at first, but it's a big step towards living more sustainability. According to researchers at Oxford University, going vegan is the single biggest way you can minimise your environmental impact.
The Vegan Calculator can even illustrate the impact that you'll have by saying no to meat and dairy products. In just one month of going vegan, you will have saved the lives of 30 animals, 913 square feet of forest, 33,481 gallons of water, and prevented 620 pounds of harmful carbon dioxide emissions!
Moreover, if you're worried about the practical side of making the change, fear not because, in 2021, there are so many fantastic vegan alternatives to meat and dairy products. THIS, Beyond Meat, Vivera, Violife, Oatly, Mylk are just some of the brands changing the game when it comes to vegan alternatives, so you won't even miss milk, cheese or meat in your diet. Going vegan can help save the planet, the lives of animals, and even make you healthier!
Practical tip: If you feel slightly overwhelmed by switching to a vegan diet, you can gradually introduce it into your life instead. To begin with, go a few days a week being vegetarian; have a meatless Monday, for example. Once you feel ready, you can then incorporate a dairy-free Friday and so on and so forth.
Moreover, when facing mental barriers to the plant-based lifestyle, try and reframe your thinking. If you find yourself thinking, “meat and dairy taste much better than the plant-based alternative,” ask yourself how you can make your food taste better. Finding new vegan recipes can be a really fun activity, and there are so many delicious ones to try out there. Also, try to remind yourself why you wanted to cut out animal products in the first place.
4.) Conserve energy
Energy is the number one contributor to climate change, making up around 73% of greenhouse gas emissions! That’s why it’s important to conserve as much energy as possible.
You can conserve energy by making sure you turn off electricals left on standby and remembering to switch off lights and power sockets. Equally, investing in eco-friendly technology, such as LED light bulbs, is also a great way to conserve energy. This kind of technology is more energy-efficient and, as a result, much more sustainable.
5.) Reduce, reuse and recycle
This one is an oldie but a goldie and is all about cutting down on the amount of waste we produce. According to Wrap, around one-third of food is wasted across the world, which accounts for approximately 8-10% of total greenhouse gas emissions!
A great way to reduce the amount of waste you produce is to shop more responsibly. Plan out your meals each week, make a shopping list and only buy what you need to prevent food wastage. Additionally, opt for food that has little or no packaging, and if your food does have packaging, make sure it's recyclable or biodegradable.
Another way to reduce food wastage is to make use of leftovers, for example, making soups and stews out of leftover vegetables.
For leftovers that cannot be reused, such as vegetable peels, apple cores, onion and banana peels, teabags, compost them! That said, when it comes to tea bags, before composting, make sure you open the bags and extract the leaves because many teabags contain nylon and plastic.
6.) Choose more sustainable transport
Sure, it's easy to just jump in the car when you are going to work, popping to the shops or meeting your friends, but choosing to walk or cycle is a much more sustainable transport option. After all, globally, transport accounts for between 21-26% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Riding from A to B on a bike can make your life much more sustainable. According to research published by Tired Earth, cycling 10km to and from work would save a staggering 1500 kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year! Meanwhile, walking is a great form of exercise, too and reduces traffic, emissions and noise pollution!
Of course, sometimes it's not always possible to cycle and walk everywhere, so if you have to travel long distances, or you live in a place where the temperature gets pretty hot, there are other options. More and more forms of public transport are now going green, and infrastructure is being developed and expanded to support this transformation. Therefore, buses and trains are becoming much more sustainable forms of transport.
If you're not quite ready for car-free living just yet, however, investing in an electric car is much more sustainable than driving a diesel car. Throughout the course of their lifetime, electric cars have a much lower carbon footprint and release less harmful air pollutants. That's not to say electric cars are the answer altogether, though, and depending on how your car is manufactured and charged, its sustainability points may be higher or lower.
Sometimes, when it comes to sustainability, it can feel as though the odds are stacked against us. Agriculture, energy, fashion, big tech and food retail are some of the most polluting industries out there, and often it seems as if they're counteracting all our hard work.
It's important not to get discouraged, though. Our everyday decisions can make a difference, and you are more powerful than you realise. Individuals changing their habits together and living more sustainably can help improve the quality and production of food, fashion and energy and inspire innovation!@hiccupsandbuttercups