For many of us, the times we are living in have made us reassess our behaviour; it is the perfect time to set new goals. Maybe you already had some objectives in mind such as starting a new workout routine, learning to cook new dishes, or spending more time with family. I’d like to propose one in the name of mother nature: improving your sustainability approach. This article is meant to help you get started on the path to achieving your eco-goals.
There’s a lot to consider when becoming eco-conscious, first of all, remember that no change is too small and many imperfect environmentalists are better than one perfect one. My first piece of advice is to assess the resources you have in your neighborhood:
Your community requires you to separate the trash? Superb! Read the guidelines to make sure you aren’t contaminating the residues that need to be separated and you know the right way to dispose of them. The City of Toronto, for example, has an app where you can find guidelines on what goes where. By separating the trash, we can reuse or recycle all the materials that can be saved.
Are there bike lanes everywhere you go? Is the public transport in your neighborhood widely known to be reliable? Take advantage of it! Consider investing in a good bike and helmet or transit plan. This helps reduce your carbon footprint- which is one of the most harmful gasses to the environment.
There’s a bulk market close to your house? Amazing! Start collecting jars and bins to reuse and take next time you need to restock on goodies! By reducing your consumption of single-use plastics and pre-packaged goods, you help keep plastic out of landfills and our oceans. Plastic isn’t biodegradable and only 9% of all the world’s plastic actually gets recycled- it is the main contaminator.
Dinner will be takeout or ordering in today? Make sure to use your own home utensils, either the ones you already have or look into reusable utensil sets. This one from Ecotique is made with bamboo and ready to be taken in your bag everywhere you go.
Little changes like these eventually build up to a significant decrease in your carbon footprint while promoting the programs that are already being implemented. Here are some other kinds of sustainable swaps you can make to take it even further:
Caring for the oceans
Out of cleaning supplies? Look into buying refillable or organic products, as well as making sure they’re biodegradable and nontoxic. Toronto has a range of stores where you can find refill stations like Unboxed Market in Dundas St W. By buying this type of cleaning product you can make sure that even if the soapy water ends up in the ocean, it won’t have harmful chemicals.
Planning your next grocery shopping day? Avoid plastic bags and pre-packed products at all costs! Also, remember to give priority to local products since they have a less significant carbon footprint and you support local businesses. A good alternative to plastic bags is mesh and cotton. You can also look into silicone containers, beeswax wraps, or any other reusable container for dairy products. Toronto residents can find some high-quality ones in the Pretty Clean Shop!
Do you need a closer location where you can refill your products? Check out Park Market and Refillery, they change their location and have delivery options because of their pop-up business models. You can use your own containers to restock your daily needs! We recently interviewed the founder, Erika Minkhorst; it’s certainly worth taking a look!
Need new personal care products? Check out toothpaste tablets, safety razors, solid shampoos and conditioners. They’re mostly organic, come in the cutest waste-free containers and leave you feeling extra refreshed. You can find products like these and more in Toronto at Logan and Finley! They also have classics like reusable facial pads, menstrual cups, bamboo hair and tooth brushes for other zero waste swaps. These are great to avoid buying single-use cotton pads since you can just rewash them, while skipping the plastic containers as well.
Have your appliances stopped working? Consider investing in low-energy and water-saving products, they might be pricier but last longer and are of higher quality. Most importantly, these are significantly better for the environment since they use fewer fossil fuels and water. Remember to keep appliances unplugged to save energy as well.
Most of these are an investment, they might be expensive at first but last longer, are eco-friendly, and give high-quality results. I recommend you make sure there isn’t already something similar at home first, do the math, and factor in all your priorities before buying anything new. Look into what in your life generates the most waste and try to look for reusable alternatives for it, a solution could already be hidden in your house!
Third-year Professional Communication undergraduate student at Ryerson University. I am a Mexican born in Chile with Peruvian influences recently living in Canada. Big bookworm with a humongous love towards nature, I'm passionate about creating written, oral, visual, or media content with an impact. I believe in the power of representation, authenticity, and transparency, being part of something bigger than myself keeps me going.