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Convenience and comforts are everywhere in our modern world. We're able to access an abundance of fresh and nutritious foods, keep our homes clean and warm, and treat ourselves to a multitude of life's pleasures at ease. It's a wonderful thing, but this convenience does come at a cost.
The most unsuspecting, simple tasks and items are taking a toll on the environment. And while we shouldn't feel guilty about living our lives, the climate crisis is at such a crucial point right now where we must take action.
Admittedly, large corporations should be held more accountable for being the main drivers of climate change; however, we can do our part by making small changes in our daily routines.
If you regularly check your electricity bill, you'll be well aware that washing your clothes does not come cheap - and it's not that great for the environment either. Conventional laundry detergents and softeners contain harmful chemicals that pollute waterways every time you use them, but fortunately, there are conscious brands out there making a difference. Brands like Ecover create eco-friendly, non-toxic products that you can switch to instead.
The vast amount of energy used for washing machines is due to the heating of the water; this problem can easily be solved by washing your clothes at 30 degrees. Understandably, some items warrant a hotter wash but reducing the amount that you do hot washes will make all the difference to your household energy.
You can't beat the feeling of having a parcel delivered straight to your front door. However, the rise in online shopping is gradually taking a toll on the environment. And in a world where people are having to self-isolate and keep safe indoors, home deliveries are more commonplace than ever. There is so much extra traffic on roads due to delivery trucks and lorries, meaning more congestion and more pollution. Also, receiving orders online sometimes means an added amount of unnecessary packaging that's often much bigger than the item you ordered.
Next time, before you purchase a delivery, ask yourself whether you can go to the shops and get it instead. If you can't, then make the purchase!
UK households waste 4.5 million tonnes of food each year. Think of the resources and time that could be saved if we all tried our best to stop wasting food. I know, it's easier said than done, but here are a few of my top tips to get you started.
Around a billion toothbrushes are thrown away in the US each year, with the vast majority being made of plastic - that's a lot of waste that will remain in a landfill for hundreds of years. Toothbrushes are littering beaches and the oceans just like plastic straws, so why aren't they being banned, too?
You can reduce the demand and waste of plastic toothbrushes by using bamboo toothbrushes instead. Bamboo is a more sustainable material as it grows quickly, and it's biodegradable.
Fast fashion is proving to be a huge threat to the planet and a massive culprit of water and air pollution. Clothing trends come and go even quicker than the seasons these days, and the earth's resources truly can't keep up anymore. Fabric production is responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution annually, and many of these fabrics are cheaply made into clothes that are bought frivolously, and thrown out within a few years. We need to erase the stigma around re-wearing outfits and fight the pressure to keep purchasing new clothes.
Shopping second-hand, wherever you can, makes a huge difference because these purchases are not contributing to the fast fashion industry. The most sustainable move you can make regarding your wardrobe is to look after the clothes that you already have so that they last for as long as possible.
Some clothing items are much more resource-intensive than others; for example, one pair of jeans requires 2,900 gallons of water to produce. If you can't commit to purchasing all of your clothing second-hand, then try to at least do so with your jeans.