They say it takes twenty-one days to make or break a habit so I’m sure some of you have already fallen off the horse on your New Year’s resolutions.
Instead of making traditional resolutions for the start of the year, I have made myself five end of year targets.
Here are the five ways in which I will be living an eco-friendlier life in 2022.
1) Stop buying Tetra Pak
I will hang my head in shame as I admit this, but up until a few weeks ago, I was putting Tetra Pak cartons into my normal household recycling thinking that these cartons are just made up of cardboard. On many occasions, I had opted for Tetra Pak milks over milks in plastic bottles, thinking that I was doing the environment a favour.
The more I think about it, the less cardboard cartons filled with a litre of liquid makes sense. We all know what happens when you knock your drink over and it spills onto the book you were reading…
Yet, I just didn’t realise that these cartons would have to be lined with another material, which in the process makes them very hard to recycle.
Tetra Pak are moving in the right direction and claim that the recycling of these cartons is becoming the norm, even stating that 90% of local authorities now collect them for recycling.
I don’t know how accurate this figure is, but they do have an interactive map on their website where you can check to see how you can recycle Tetra Pak within your local area.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my authority on the map full stop so I wonder if there are others missing.
Regardless, I have decided to start making my own milks at home in an effort to reduce my overall household waste.
I normally drink organic oat milk, which doesn’t have any added vitamins or minerals. However, I know lots of milks have added calcium and vitamin D so if you decide to make your own milks, you’ll need to consider where you’ll make up for the loss of nutrients.
2) Eco up your skin and hair care routine
This will be my biggest challenge of 2022. I am a big lover of the ten step Korean skincare routine and Korean beauty products in general.
In 2021, I cut down the number of products I was using on my skin to make my routine four steps at night and five in the morning, though I do still allow myself treat days where I use more products.
The products I use are already natural and some of the companies I buy from are striving to make positive eco choices, such as Purito. However, most of my Korean skincare products come in non-recyclable plastic packaging.
Throughout 2022, I will be purchasing plastic free alternatives, made in the UK through companies like Lush. I also recently discovered a great new company called Freshly, who have just popped up in London. They use 99% natural, sustainably sourced ingredients and offer an in-store refill service on some of their products – I believe it’s the one in the aluminium packaging.
Alternatively, why don’t you give UpCircle’s refillable shampoo a try?
3) Give sustainable cards
In my family, we send cards for every occasion- to congratulate, to console and to celebrate, but it is not often that we stop to question the sustainability of the cards we are buying.
Traditional greeting cards are often recyclable because they are made of paper, but some are coated in glosses that do not break down to be recycled and are sold in plastic protective packaging, which also cannot be recycled.
I would say a large majority of the cards I buy come from Card Factory or Tesco. Despite both of these companies having sustainability policies and goals, I always wonder how sustainable purchasing from a nationwide giant really is.
More sustainable choices are available from these outlets, for example, Tesco now sells individual seed cards, similar to the ones found here. These cards can be planted after they’ve been displayed.
However, I am making it my goal in 2022 to support local card makers in my area to reduce transportation emissions and non-recyclable packaging. I am very fortunate to have a shop called Love Local Hub in Milton Keynes who sell local handmade gifts, where I will be able to purchase cards from. I stumbled across this shop by accident when I was out shopping one day, but I’m sure a quick Google search will help you to find local sellers in your area.
4) Switch to refillable candles
Anybody that knows me, knows that I love a good smelly candle. I have not, up until now, been particularly diligent in educating myself on what my candles are made from or if they contain any harmful chemicals or animal by-products. I think in part, this is because 95% of the candles that I burn are gifts and I guess the other part is my own ignorance.
However, one thing I do think about is the waste that often comes with these beautifully jarred up candles. Time and time again, the wax doesn’t burn all the way to the bottom and I’m never sure if you can put them in the glass banks to be recycled with so much leftover wax. I recently found The Recycled Candle Company, where I now know I can send any used gifted candles with leftover wax.
Once I’m through with all of the lovely candles I was bought for Christmas, I have decided to switch to refill candles.
Out of all the candles I have, tealights are probably the ones I use the most and they’re probably the least environmentally friendly. Therefore, my journey will start with the tealights from NAKEnDLE, a company specialising in eco-conscious candles. Their candles are all made from non-toxic coconut and rapeseed wax, which will be perfect to burn around my newborn baby.
5) Make a conscious effort to grow more fresh produce
I know how easy and rewarding this is, yet I still don’t grow a lot of my own food!
For those of you who don’t have access to a garden or stacks of time to dedicate to this, there are plenty of small projects that you can start, like starting a home compost!
At the moment, I’m growing chives and basil on my kitchen window sill and I have a very small aloe vera plant- all of which pretty much look after themselves.
I will also be growing mushrooms, as I have done in the past using the cuttings that I would normally dispose of. All it takes is a brown paper bag and a few handfuls of soil. Even for those of you who do not have green fingers, this one is really easy.
Spring onions, lettuce and garlic are all things I have grown on my windowsill in the past, using just a bowl or glass of water.
Little projects like this will allow me to reduce plastic waste and they mean that I won’t be contributing to transportation emissions and the use of environmentally damaging pesticides.
I hope that this has made you consider setting yourself small, achievable end of year sustainability targets for 2022, which you can have fun working towards.