I'm guessing with the growing awareness that we all need to up our environmentally conscious living game, that there were many new year's resolutions uttered with the general intent to start living greener.
This is indeed a noble intention, but one, as pretty much every environmentally focused blogger I've ever read agrees, that is best achieved with baby steps. When you first begin to become more intentional about the way you are living in regard to your impact on the world around you, it can become incredibly overwhelming and appear as an insurmountable task. You may feel like burying your head in the sand, but now that you know what you know, your conscience will make this impossible, so there's really no choice but to continue on the journey!
But even for experienced zero-wasters and conscious consumers, there is always more to do!
So think of your sustainable journey like a puzzle - dealing with "bite-size" pieces which will soon begin to come together to form a bigger picture, always taking on a more comprehensive and impactful shape.
One of the easiest ways to start your journey, or to continuously improve your effectiveness, is to target individual purchases or actions that can be swapped out for more sustainable alternatives. That's what this list is here to help you with - whether you're kickstarting a new lifestyle or searching for further ways to minimise your environmental footprint. I know there are a lot of these types of lists out there, but I'm endeavouring to give this one a uniquely Aussie flavour and to point you to small Australian businesses and local ventures where possible.
So here goes:
1. Wardrobe - switch to sustainable hosiery
Of course it would be completely remiss of me not to let you know that there is a sustainable option for all of your hosiery needs available and here at Sustainable Hosiery Australia, that's completely our bag, baby.
Hosiery production is an incredibly dirty industry, from the toxic effects of manufacturing, to the masses of non-degradable landfill created by the billions of pairs of nylons which are constantly discarded. This frightening reality has been the inspiration for Swedish Stockings Conscious Pantyhose, who take post consumer and post production nylon waste to create exquisetely chic hosiery. Sheer pantyhose, opaques, patterned tights and socks are ethically created in zero-waste factories, using renewable energies and vegan dyes.
So this swap is a no-brainer. You may be paying more for sustainable hosiery than your cheap fast-fashion pantyhose, but what you get is a product of far superior durability, fit, feel, look and positive environmental impact. It's a win, win, win, win situation!
Try these Swedish Stockings swaps for every lifestyle:
For the corporate/ retail environment: Elin Premium 20 denier Pantyhose
For the casual Summer "no socks" look: Ida Premium Steps
To increase your existing wardrobe potential throughout the cooler months: Lia Premium 100 denier tights
For the gym or simply showing off your favourite sneakers: Sara Sneaker Socks
To add some flirty fun to your Summer outfit: Vera Net or Liv Net Socks
Accessorise your little black dress with the beautiful lace detail of Frida or Edith tights.
2. Kitchen - switch to Beeswax wraps
A lot of people are heavily dependent on plastic wrap and plastic bags in the kitchen, but there is an effective greener alternative which is readily available now - beeswax wraps. Beeswax wraps are so easy to love - firstly they are just so darn pretty, you'll want to stand at the fridge door staring at them as they keep your food sealed and fresh! (Don't do that by the way - it's bad for the environment!) Beeswax wraps can be used in just the same way you would use plastic wrap to cover bowls and plates and also to wrap foods. Most are made with natural fibres and ingredients so they can also be composted at the end of their life (usually around 12 months)
Beeswax wraps are quite easy to make yourself (I like this recipe) or their is a plethora of them available to purchase. We particularly love Bee Wrappy , a family owned company based in Sydney's Blue Mountains who source all of their ingredients ethically.
3. Shopping - Choose Refillable Home and Body Products
It doesn't take an environmental activist to realise that the amount of food packaging we take home is obscene and home and body products are no exception, in fact you would be hard pressed to find these in anything but plastic. But Sydney based start-up Refillery is changing that. Founder, Lauren, formulates beautiful products which are free from EDTA, SLS, SLES, parabens, sulphates or phosphates, animal ingredients, phlalates, artificial colours or fragrances and are 100% vegan, greywater safe, septic safe and palm oil free.But not only this, once you have purchased Refillery's products for the first time, you can send the glass bottles back (at no cost to you) to have them refilled! If you are a Sydney local you can also visit the Refillery stall at the Turramurra Produce Markets, The Beaches Markets and Erskineville Farmers Markets where Lauren invites customers to bring in their own containers to be filled.
4. Waste Disposal - Get Composting
It just doesn't make sense to send organic matter in plastic bags to landfill to stagnate and pollute the atmosphere with methane when it could be returned to the earth as a rich source of nutrients! Yet despite knowing this, many people are very daunted by the concept of composting and how to make it work for them, especially with the rise in urban apartment living. That's why I have been a long-time fan of the Bokashi method of composting - it's so easy! There are virtually no restrictions as to what food waste you can put in it and once your bucket is full, you can simply bury the waste in soil - so even apartment dwellers can do this if they have a container garden.
You can find out more about Bokashi composting by visiting Australian company Bokashi Composting Australia who supply the Bokashi One bin and even a pet waste composter!
5. School - choose sustainable schoolwear
For families, school uniforms are a necessity and while we may not have control over where our schools choose to their source their monogrammed items, there are many generic items which we can choose to get from ethical suppliers. This is the vision of Sustainable Schoolwear who supply school apparel that is Australian made from organic and recycled materials.
Sustainable Schoolwear also partners with schools to supply them with ethical and sustainable uniforms so if you would like to see your school improving their environmental impact, you can use your influence to encourage them to get connected.
So all the best with creating a more sustainable 2019 - hope this list helps you to get the ball rolling! If you have any great tips for sustainable swaps, go ahead and let us know!