Small Changes, Big Impacts

Words by Lauren Rosenberg
Art by Sarah Mackey

The wonderful thing about change is that it doesn’t have to be big or newsworthy. Change is an avalanche, and each individual is the singular snowflake that creates the hurling mass of snow tumbling down the mountain. By focusing on what you can do, it creates a positive cycle of reinforcement and encouragement.

Here are six small things I am trying to implement into my daily life:

Reusable cutlery

Reusable cutlery is the new Keepcup! After refusing and reducing, reusing is the best way to live your life. We live in a society where quick and convenient is best, and this is no different when it comes to what we eat. Takeaways are everywhere you look, and with apps like Deliveroo and UberEats, they’re more popular than ever. The cutlery is not a problem when you’re at home but if you’re out and about, you’ll probably be given a plastic knife or fork to enjoy your meal with. These utensils will end up in landfill, and be turned into microplastics. Microplastics are tiny, insidious buggers that can look like food to animals. To combat this, buy yourself a reusable cutlery set. I bought mine at the Big Vegan Market a couple of years ago and I love it! It lives in my bag, and then whenever I get an unexpected treat-yo-self takeaway, I am prepared. My set came with a spoon, a fork and chopsticks; I added a paper straw, and recently bought a bamboo knife. I am armed for anything. 

Changed shopping habits

I was never a big shopper, but even I fall prey to the carefully curated ads and doggo-printed clothing that grace my newsfeed. To try and combat this, I’ve put a few measures in place. First, I keep a list of all the clothes, shoes and accessories I buy. This includes what the item is, how much I spent on it and where it was from. At the end of the year, I type it up in an Excel spreadsheet, and can track my shopping and spending habits on anything that goes on my body. I’ve found that this is a great way to keep me accountable. Secondly, I mostly shop at op shops or local markets. This is a bigger change to make, and it can be difficult to start if you’re not used to it. If you’re struggling to motivate yourself to go, try and find some friends to go with. Otherwise, join second-hand groups on Facebook. Heaps of brands will have a specific Facebook group that you can buy (sometimes brand new with tags) clothes from that are already out in the world—so you’re saving money by buying second hand and you’re reusing!

Bulk food stores

I discovered bulk food stores not that long ago, and they are the best! If you want to be super sustainable, you can bring in your own jars and reusable bags to shop with. The jars are then weighed, so you can get an accurate weight of all the malt balls you are buying. If you forget or don’t have jars, all bulk food stores have brown paper bags you can use to buy your goodies in. CERES has a bulk food store attached it, and The Bulk Food store has many locations.

Compost or ShareWaste

This one might take a bit of getting used to, but once you get into it, it becomes a habit. Composting is one of the best ways to get your waste down because you’re cutting the amount of methane gas that goes into landfill. if you don’t have a compost at home, there’s a super cool website called ShareWaste, where people/businesses or community gardens sign up, and people can drop off their compost to be given to the worms. If you wanna get fancy, you can get a Bokulshi bucket. This is an ideal purchase if you’re not squeamish and have plants to pour the worm juice on.

Package-free or recyclable package shopping

This is something you can implement one step at a time. For example, you can start with your bathroom, and focus on moving from shampoo and conditioner bottles to bars, buying soaps that come in recycled packaging, or signing up to a deodorant subscription. Buying your dry goods in boxes or buying natural makeup products are other ways to slowly make the switch

Say goodbye to cling wrap

This one is oddly specific, and it’s because I have a true dislike of cling wrap. I realise that it has its uses, but nine times out of 10, it can be replaced. An easy replacement is to use foil! Foil can (and should be) recycled—just ensure that any small pieces are made into a big ball, and then recycled in something like a metal can. If you want to be a bit more fancy, you can invest in some beeswax wraps. P.S. if you’re making bread and the recipe says to use cling wrap, you can use a tea towel!

 

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