- Consider the ingredients of every product that you put on your skin, but also think about the environmental implications of the production methods and the packaging. Can the packaging be recycled? Does the energy consumption of the production warrant the final product?
- Have a clear out. If a product doesn’t suit you then pass it on to someone who will use it.
- Only buy products that you know to be reputable. Listen to authorities – follow The Beauty Shortlist and Ethical Consumer, read our monthly product reviews, talk to friends.
- Streamline your beauty kit. Once a product is finished, ask yourself if it really needs to be replaced or if you can do without. If a replacement is necessary, do some research.
- Consider what products you can buy from your zero waste shop. Plan your visit carefully so that you stock up on beauty, store cupboard essentials and fresh produce in one visit.
- Recycle or reuse all packaging.
- Limit the carbon footprint by buying from local brands.
- Rethink your sanitary protection.
- Buy more preloved clothing (charity shops and vintage).
- Purge your wardrobe and pass on anything that could be of use elsewhere.
- Repurpose or alter anything that doesn’t fit right. Could you get more wear out of a garment by adjusting it yourself or taking it to someone who can? Consider learning some simple dressmaking tips.
- Mend anything that needs a little TLC.
- Consider every purchase. Ask yourself, do I really need this?
- Set up a swap shop with friends. Offer the loan of your entire wardrobe, so that they can wear something different when they have an event coming up.
- Hire items for big events, rather than buying new. Encourage brides to wear preloved and check out brands such as Brides do Good.
- When you do buy new clothing, opt for durable and timeless items that will last you years.
- Take time to slowly build a considered capsule wardrobe.
- Buy clothes that are environmentally conscious and not just fairly traded. Are they made in a factory that pumps out chemicals and consumes energy? Does growing and treating the fabric use up a lot of water? Does the brand do anything to lower their carbon footprint? Is the packaging sustainable?
- See new homeware purchases as heirlooms, buy beautiful and durable things that can be passed down to your children and generations beyond.
- Buy items made from sustainably sourced, repurposed and considerate suppliers.
- Buy vintage and preloved where you can.
- Pass on anything that you no longer want or need.
- Think about how you dispose of worn out furniture. Can it be repaired? Can elements be repurposed? Could anyone else make use of it?
- How do you clean? Consider making your own cleaning products and reusing packaging or buy in bulk from zero waste stores.
- Consider how your home is insulated. If you are renting, talk to your landlord or letting agent about the importance of a well-insulated home. Consider solar panels.
- Switch to a sustainable energy supplier.
- Do all you can to limit the use of single use plastics within the home. Take the time to consider how you buy food and toiletries. You might need to completely rethink your grocery shop, replacing supermarket visits with trips to the zero waste store, organic farm shop and local dairies etc.
- Use Terracycle to recycle anything that your local council won’t accept. Can you set up a Terracycle drop off point in your local community?
- Use low energy LED bulbs and energy efficient appliances.
- Buy locally grown, sustainable produce. Bulk buy and go organic where possible. Start to grow your own.
- Stop using bottled water (use a reusable water bottle, coffee cup and shopping bag).
- Compost and reduce food waste with careful planning. Cook from scratch where you can.
- Rethink travel. Limit flights and long car journeys. Pick up a secondhand bike. Lift share or use public transport when possible.
Communication and community:
- Talk to other people and get them to think about their own consumerism.
- Talk to brands and ask them the right questions.
- Have conversations with your children about the impact of their actions and find ways to help them make choices that are more ecologically sound. (Jess Lohmann’s book is a great way to get middle graders involved with conscious living). Children and young people often have great ideas of their own, listen and support them.
- Keep yourself educated and informed; read, listen and respond. Join the #ethicalhour twitter chat on Monday evenings 8-9pm GMT.
- Consider joining a group such as Extinction Rebellion to better educate yourself and connect with likeminded people.
- Build communities. Social media makes it easier than ever for us to connect with others in our locality and make plans with friends and family. If you are going to refill milk bottles at the dairy then ask your friends if they need supplies and pick bottles up for them too. If you are well organised you could delegate so one person sources all fruit and vegetables, one tackles the zero waste shop and one goes to the dairy. When they are next passing they can pick up their supplies.
- Make use of repair cafés and similar services.
- Organise skills shares with friends. Invite people over and offer to help stitch up and revamp their wardrobe if they help mend the things you need fixing. (Making the perfect opportunity to share food supplies and talk about your own ideas for climate change too).
- Teach your children how to mend things and extend the life span of products. Learn together to move away from the idea that materials objects are so easily disposable.
Most importantly, don’t expect these changes to happen overnight. Start with changes that you can achieve immediately and build up to ones that take more commitment, consideration and planning. Do your own research and add new ideas, sharing them with your communities.
Buy Better, Buy Less, Build Communities
You can read more on climate change, how to reduce your own carbon footprint and the brands and passionate individuals making a difference in the May edition of Natural Mumma Magazine.