There's No Planet B

There’s a major shift happening in the world, and people are finally waking up to realise we can’t keep destroying our planet at the rate we are going. 

We are fortunate enough to live and thrive in this truly beautiful place we are lucky enough to call home, but we’ve been neglecting it for far too long. Landfills are overflowing with plastic that will be here forever, animals are suffering in inhumane conditions at our expense, we’re demolishing the rainforest, and don't even get me start on global warming. 

When you look at the reality of what we are doing to our home it's pretty scary and overwhelming. I’ve watched every vegan and environmental documentary going that uncovers the truth of what we are doing and the real effects its having on our environment. It seems like an impossible task tackling these issues in an effort to save our planet, but I have never felt so compelled to make a difference. 

The previous generations have left the planet in a state for us to deal with, and now is the time to make the change to make sure we have a sustainable home for our future generations. 

Slowly I have been making changes to my lifestyle with the future of this planet in mind and seeing as it was world earth day last week now seems like the perfect time to share what I've learned along the way. 

This may seem a lot of some people, this may seem like not enough to others. There’s no competition to be ‘the most zero waste, ethical, eco-warrior vegan’ going and no one is perfect, but if we all make a conscious effort to make small changes to our lifestyle that will help the planet each day it will have a massive impact. I truly believe we can make a difference and protect our planet from even more damage. 

Think Re-Use 

This one probably seems like a simple one, and you've heard it before - invest in a reusable bottle and coffee cup.

Did you know most that nearly 98% plastic bottles and coffee cups don't get recycled? Sadly they'll end up in a landfill or washed up on a beach somewhere. These materials (unless biodegradable, but most places don't sell these) will not decompose and will sit in a landfill for hundreds of years, some plastics items will never biodegrade. Most of us buy at least one coffee a day, think how of how many coffee cups that equates to over a year!

If you've seen the documentary 'A Plastic Ocean' on Netflix, which I highly recommend you do, you'll know that plastic is full of toxins and some of these can be harmful to us. Plastic water bottles are terrible for the environment and often full of nasty things like fluoride which we simply don't want in our bodies.

A lot of coffee chains like Pret will fill up your reusable coffee cup and take 50p off your purchase.   Waitrose has announced that they are stopping take way coffee cups from their in-store machines in order to encourage people to use a reusable cup. I use a keep cup and I love it, it keeps my drinks warm and its easy to clean. 

Of course, if you absolutely have to buy a bottle of water when you're out an about try and grab a glass bottle or take the bottle home and put it in your recycling bin, not the normal rubbish bin as these don't get recycled. If you forget your reusable cup and have to grab a coffee in order to make it through the day give your empty cup to any costa shops - they recycle ANY coffee cup no matter where it's from. 

Try Homemade

In order to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle, I have started making my own beauty and household cleaning products. I use all natural ingredients and store them in reusable glass jars. They're completely free of toxins, a lot cheaper in the long run and there's no single-use plastic involved.

You can make pretty much everything you currently use such as shampoo and conditioner, makeup remover, toothpaste, all-purpose cleaners, you name it! I find these often work just as well as the store-bought products I used to use, but they're a lot more gentle and there's less build up because it's all natural. 

Pinterest is FULL of natural DIY ideas and a great place to start if you wanted to give it a go. I've got a lot of posts coming up on what I've made and exactly how I do it, so keep an eye out for that! 

Now, this obviously isn't for everyone, we all have different needs and preferences. If you don't want to make your own products a lot of health stores will do 'filling stations' where you can top up your glass containers with products like an all-purpose cleaner, washing detergent and soaps. These are often natural products as well so you're still avoiding the toxins while keeping it zero waste. 

Store's like Lush are a great one to support, not only because they're all natural, have a lot of vegan products and fighting animal testing, but you can recycle all of your lush packing there. If you take back five of the full-size pots you get a free face mask, but did you know you can recycle any of the plastic bottles and smaller pots in store as well? This way you're reducing the waste you create and Lush can reuse them for future products. 

They've also started making products with zero packaging which is amazing for those of you who are attempting the zero waste lifestyle. You can get things like bath bombs (obviously) but also the solid conditioner and shampoo bars, hair treatments, massage bars and soaps.

Reducing your plastic consumption when it comes to beauty is actually a lot easier than you probably would think. You can use salt crystals as deodorant, coconut oil for your hair,  moisturiser/makeup remover and oil pulling, ingredients like salt, coffee grounds and sugar as a scrub the possibilities are endless. Keep an eye out for future posts on this. 

Think Ethical and Sustainable

You've heard it time and time again, take reusable shopping bags with you! 

Plastic bags are the environments nightmare and they're so avoidable. Most places in the UK now charge you 5p for a carrier bag to encourage you to bring your own and canvas bags are the best option. I use mine day to day but keep a few rolled up in my bag in case I need to run the farmers market or greengrocers. 

Where do you buy your canvas bags from? Sustainable and ethical companies of course!

I avoid highstreet retailers like Topshop and H&M now and try to support smaller and ethical companies that promote fair fashion. There are a few reasons for this, firstly fast fashion has a massive environmental impact because we buy things cheap and throw them away after a few uses. These companies that promote fast fashion also throw their stock away, and as we essentially have 52 seasons a year now that's a lot of waste going into the landfills. Secondly, for companies to sell things so cheap, like £5 for a top, how much are they paying the people who make these clothes? What kind of conditions are they working in? You can probably guess what the answer is.  I highly suggest watching the documentary 'The True Cost' to understand what you are contributing too when you support these brands. 

Becuase of this, I try my best to support local, ethical and small business that have the same views as I do. I support companies that do their best to have little impact on the environment, give their workers a fair wage and safe working conditions, don't use animal products and create products that are sustainable. I would much rather pay more for higher quality products that are going to last me a long time. 

I have recently discovered The Ethical Box which is the perfect starter kit for anyone who wants to live a little more consciously. You receive a reusable cup, metal straws, bamboo toothbrush and a canvas tote so you can easily start reducing the amount of waste you create. Everything is a really good quality and comes in 100% completely recyclable packaging. I would highly recommend giving this a try! 

I also love supporting companies like YCL Jewels & In the Soulsine, everything is completely handmade and is beautiful in quality. In the Soulsine is also a vegan company so all of their products spread messages to kindness and spreading the vegan lifestyle.

When it comes to locally I try my best to support local farmers and organic shops, vegan grocery stores, cafes and restaurants and smaller business. I want to support my local community as much as possible, especially if that business aligns with my ethics. 

Go Vegan

If you want to help our planet the biggest impact you can have is by going Vegan. There is so much I have to say on this topic so I think im going to talk about it further in a future blog post. Did you know that the animal agriculture business is the main cause of global warming? I didn't either until I watched Conspiracy and learned the truth. 

We are tearing down our rainforest just to create more room to raise cattle which need gallons and gallons of water and grain, pump the animals with antibiotics and other nasty stuff, forcely impregnate mothers and take away their babies for their milk, force them to live in terrible conditions and eventually slaughter them just so we can eat a beefburger or bacon sandwich. Not only is meat and dairy terrible for us, not only is it inhumane for the innocent animals, but the industry is literally killing our planet. 

I'm pretty passionate about this subject and don't want to come across as a 'preachy' vegan, but this is the reality of the situation. 

I know that not everyone wants to go vegan, so what can you do to still help? 

☻  You can simply cut down on the amount of meat you eat a week, have a vegetarian day or try incorporating some vegan meals into your diet. This will still have an impact! Try out some vegan or vegetarian places near you to support your local community. Maybe opt for your favourite accidentally vegan junk food such as Oreos and dairy free Ben and Jerry's ice-cream instead of dairy options. Linda McCartney foodsQuornQourn does AMAZING fake meat options. 

☻  Try reducing the amount of plastic you use which the options above! Say no to plastic straws, invest in some reusable cutlery and lunchboxes if you're on the go.

☻  Recycle. Recycle. Recycle. 

☻  When you're next at the beach or your local park spend two minutes picking up rubbish. Not only will this mean less rubbish but animals won't eat it as well. 

☻  Sign petitions urging supermarkets to use less plastic and stop wrapping fruit and vegetables in plastic

☻  Don't throw away your old clothes! Send them to a charity shop or host a swap party where you and your friends get together and swap unwanted clothes. If it's not good enough quality to give away then try making them into something else like a reusable bag out of an old shirt, a cotton t-shirt can become reusable cotton pads, think outside the box!

☻  If you have the means to invest in higher quality products that you are going to keep for a long time. Make sure these products are made of materials that are sustainable like wood, glass, metal, bamboo and natural crystal. 

Some resources you might find useful


What the Health
The True Cost
A Plastic Ocean

Further information on the impacts of the agriculture industry

Tools to help you purchase ethically

Inspirational People

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