Last week Plenish kindly gave me a reusable, biodegradable bamboo coffee cup from Ecoffee to say thank you for speaking on their panel at Wholefoods about having a career (or imminent one) in nutrition. It was instant love and hot drink partnership.
Now I am as guilty as the busiest Londoner of buying endless cups of hot drinks on the go but a little research online following this new acquisition made me think twice – and realise that my commitment to reducing my own daily imprint on our planet, although alive and always growing, could do with a kick, and quick. According to various sites, we throw away an estimated 100 billion coffee cups each year, which require around 20 million trees and 12 billion gallons of water.
With one simple switch we can remove ourselves from this destructive cycle, and there are plenty of other small things we can do to minimise our waste and negative impact on the planet which supports us with such ongoing abundance. For surely as we keep dumping our discarded trash on her and multiplying our own species and those on which we feed at an unstoppable rate, she cannot continue forever.
I am by no means perfect and nobody is, but here I share with you five simple switches I have made which can help anyone to quickly and easily reduce their daily waste, and enter instead into a more aware and sustainable contract with mother earth and the life she sustains.
Tried and tested, you have my word. (But the last one’s just for the ladies.)
Invest in a reusable cup and bottle
The amount of cups and plastic bottles we discard each day as a species is terrifying and with so many great companies emerging who provide sustainable alternatives, there is no excuse not to make the switch. Ecoffee is a great brand for cups, while Bobble, Brita and super stylish AquaOvo all provide BPA-free water filtration bottles that mean you don’t have to fork out on bottled water while on the go. What’s more, plastic store bought bottles almost always contain BPA, a hormone disruptor that leaches into the water and can contribute to a wide range of imbalances and illnesses.
What’s even lovelier about the reusable cups is that many conscious tea and coffee shops give you a little discount if you refill your own.
Make your own beauty products
Starting to make some of my own cosmetics has been one of the most empowering and inspiring little journeys and the start of a real love affair between nature’s ingredients, my body and my inner creativity. Aside from harnessing purer healing ingredients and avoiding nasty chemicals and foreign, processed additives, homemade skincare allows us to step out of the cycle of mindlessly buying plastic pot after plastic pot and bottle after bottle of products which we rapidly use and then replace. Collecting and reusing glass jars, bottles and unlikely containers is as fun as it is easy and once you make the switch and marvel at how much more organic and beautiful your bathroom feels, you won’t want any more brightly coloured plastic polluting the shelves than you already have.
Sign up for a weekly organic veg box
Committing to a weekly local organic delivery scheme has had such a profound effect on the way I cook, develop recipes and work with ingredients. On all levels, it’s something of a no-brainer – organic food without chemicals, cheaper by far than any local shop or supermarket, delivered to our neighbourhood each week, and free from all the plastic and cellophane to which we have become so accustomed when buying food. For both mother earth and our own bodies this has all sorts of harmful effects, namely BPA and its potential to compromise our endocrine function and contribute to hormone-dependant cancers and other illnesses. The veg box is also a great tool for me in the creativity stakes as there is invariably a moment when we reach the bottom where I will have to cook something I either do not recognise or do not really want to eat: these moments foster great creativity and imagination and I am always thankful for the nudge explore something new.
Compost your food waste
It is exciting that so many boroughs now collect organic waste compost and from running a street food business for so long I am all too aware of the sheer volume of food that we waste each year in the uk alone: an estimated 7 million tonnes. Using a little pot or tub in your kitchen to transform this waste into compost is so easy and propels you into a new mindset where recycling is integral to daily life. It is these little switches that slowly contribute to a new way of seeing what we use and how we use it – like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle they slowly come together to lighten our footprint and enter into a more aware way of consuming and living. If your council won’t collect compost and you don’t have a garden, you can donate it to neighbours, local schools or gardening projects or use it for your house plants.
Buy a Mooncup
Any ladies who follow this blog will know that making the switch to the mooncup is one of the best things I have done, for my body and for the environment. Both were desperately in need of a new way, and abandoning the world of chemically bleached cotton tampons – of which we use an estimated 11,000 in our lifetime and 7 billion of them are dumped in landfill annually, alongside 13 billion sanitary pads. The reusable mooncup says no to all of this and allows us to enter into a much more harmonious and gentler way of dealing with our inevitable monthly demands. If you haven’t already, buy one today and step into a new relationship with the most sacred part of your body and the planet which sustains it.