Making A Greener Handprint

Making A Greener Handprint

I bet you probably think you’ve heard just about enough about climate change, haven’t you? That you bring your reusable cup sometimes and you remember your reusable bags most of the time. You do your part. But I’m going to tell you something. It’s not enough. How do I know? Because we are still in a climate crisis. We still need to make big changes if we want our generations, and future ones, to continue living on our planet.

I have talked about climate change a lot on my blog and the things I do to reduce my carbon footprint and make my handprint a bit bigger. Although I was suggesting it, it was more of a “Hey! Do these things to help change the world because we need to make a change NOW!”

I have said that I recycle like crazy, I use a reusable cup, water bottle, silverware, and straw all the time, I bought a reusable silicone swab which works really well cleaning my daith piercing and for makeup, I use reusable grocery and produce bags when I grocery shop (or, if I forget, I look absolutely ridiculous walking out of the store because I refuse to use a plastic bag), I try to drive as little as possible and carpool as much as I can (usually with my mum), and I use a menstrual cup (could be TMI for my male readers but tell your female friends, they’ll thank you for it) which not only reduces waste but saves me a lot of money. Even though I’m just one person, maybe my habits will rub off on someone else and they make that change too. And that is just what I have done for a while. I have done a lot of research and self-checks on my carbon footprint so I could see what sustainable changes I could make.

First of all, since living almost completely on my own, I have been making a lot of meals at home with enough dinner or lunch for two servings, at least. One for me to eat then, and the rest to put in my bento box for lunch at work the next day. Not only does this reduce my single-use plastics (i.e. prepackaged food), but it also reduces my need to spend more money than necessary. If I am not planning on packing a meal for the next day, I either only make enough for a meal for myself or I make it a point to eat the leftovers so I don’t waste any food. But sometimes I do forget the celery and kale that’s in the drawer in the fridge and sometimes I have food scraps like eggshells and fruit and veggie peels. For those, I add them to my dad’s compost. If you don’t compost I highly recommend it. There are ways for you to compost even if you live in a 4th-floor apartment. All you have to do is a little digging (pun slightly intended) to see what method works best for you.

Single-use plastics are one of the most polluting things humankind has created and I do my best to avoid it at all costs. I try to get food in glass jars or metal cans and then reuse or repurpose them later. If I have to buy something in plastic, I either make sure I can recycle it, or look somewhere else for a more sustainable option. This kind of change, refusing to buy single-use plastics, can make companies want to find better ways of packaging their products. For personal care products, I use shampoo and conditioner bars, no bottled liquids, bar soaps instead of liquid body wash and hand soap, I use Bite toothpaste bits that come in a reusable glass jar (and compostable plastics for their refills) instead of the usual toothpaste you get in a tube, I use mouthwash bits (currently I’m using up what I got from Lush before I try a different brand), I use a butterfly razor over the plastic ones which I think works better, and, when the coronavirus is less of an issue, I am going to use handkerchiefs instead of tissues. Sounds gross, I get it, but I rarely need to use them anyways and my grandpa lived a long life using them so it can’t be too bad.

I am really making the effort to try and make my own products, too. I make my own bar soaps that I am still working on finding and perfecting recipes. I recently found a 4-ingredient recipe for a moisturizer bar that I tried. It doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin, helps relieve my eczema, and even helped in the healing of my most recent tattoo. Once I am finished with the deodorant I have now, I am going to reuse the container and try to make my own. Because my skin is so sensitive and I am a massive tree hugger, I try to buy natural, sustainable, ethically sourced, and cruelty-free products, even for my deodorant. If I find a deodorant that fits all the criteria, it usually leaves me with an irritating rash so I figured why not make my own, instead. And to steer away from personal care, I also make my own cleaning products which is surprisingly easy and I don’t understand why more people don’t do so. I am going to start upcycling my current clothes and the ones I thrift, too. I just need to not be so afraid of sewing machines (I know it’s weird but I blame the 2000 movie of How The Grinch Stole Christmas).

Speaking of thrifting, I am going to be thrifting a lot more now. If there are some things that I have trouble finding in thrift stores, especially since I have a hard enough time as it is in regular stores, I am going to make sure that my “newer” clothes are sustainably and ethically sourced and made. I am also going to purge my closet very soon. Some items will go to thrift stores while others may go to my Depop to sell. You can follow me there to be updated when I add clothes and such.

I believe that I have said before that I am a pescatarian so I don’t eat meat except for fish and seafood however I make sure that my seafood is sustainably sourced before I buy it. And even though I do eat seafood, it is not terribly often. I tend to buy plant-based alternatives, take my iron pill (that is when I remember it, of course), and drink plant-based protein shakes especially when I haven’t had a lot of protein that day. A lot of my food also has to be plant-based alternatives, too, because I am allergic to gluten (not that it really affects much of the planty-ness of my food) as well as whey and casein, the latter two which can primarily be found in dairy products. It’s easier for me to just find vegan alternatives because I am not allergic to the “dairy” in them, there is no meat, and a lot of them happen to be gluten-free. I also use oat milk (preferably Oatly) because it is one of the best tasting alternative kinds of milk I have had and I heard that it is the most sustainable one (not sure where I heard that fun fact so I don’t 100% know the credibility of it but it makes sense to me). Living a more plant-based lifestyle is so much easier and more common that if you start to have a more plant-based lifestyle for yourself and have meat and/or dairy every once and a while, you would still make a huge positive impact environmentally.

I hope this post encourages you to try to be more sustainable in your everyday life because we really need to make a change if we want our planet to be able to support life in the future. I am still working on getting better and more sustainable. I still make mistakes but I am human and I’m trying to change my self and the world for the better. And that is really all anyone can ask for.

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