Sustainability Sunday #65

Make yourself an influencer.

In honour of her birthday today, this week’s post features my wonderful best friend and housemate Emma. Emma is smart, knowledgeable and generally isn’t afraid to share her opinion on things. However, one thing she will confess to knowing not much about is the environment and more specifically the every day person’s impact on people and the environment. This is true of a lot of people; although sustainable lifestyle is becoming a more prevalent topic there’s a lot you don’t know unless you look to educate yourself, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for, how can you learn?

There are three changes that Emma has made in her life over the last 18 months, for a variety of reasons too, so I asked her a bit more about why she made those changes and how it’s made her feel.

1. Coffee cups. Emma started 2018 with a brand new KeepCup, I knew that she had coffee every morning before heading off to work, partly because she loves coffee and partly because she wakes at 5.30am every morning after which any normal person would need a coffee to make it through the next 12 hours. So, why did you decide to get a KeepCup I asked her. Her response is encouraging, “I had read about the fact that coffee cups can’t be recycled because of their plastic lining and I felt awful that it was just so wasteful, and that I was adding so much waste to landfill just by having my coffee every day. When I was in Australia (the home of KeepCup) with my friend Lauren last summer I saw that she had two really cute reusable coffee cups and so when I then saw some in Whole Foods back in the UK I decided to get one. So now, not only do I get 50p off my coffee in Pret A Manger, I also feel like I’m doing much better for the environment.”

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2. The Mooncup. Emma switched the usual sanitary products up for a Mooncup about 18 months ago after suffering from the common problems that tampons can give you. Many struggle with irritation from tampons, particularly as unless you buy organic ones, most are filled with bleach to make them white and thus more visually. Despite not switching for sustainable reasons, the difference it makes is still the same. Emma explained “I started using it after a recommendation from a friend who is really knowledgeable about health and body things, it took a while to get used to because it feels very different and it forces you to face more fully what your body is doing rather than just giving it a quick flush down the toilet. Instead, you actually see the amount and type of blood your body is producing. Health-wise this makes me feel so much better as it’s made me more aware of what my body does, and if there were any problems going on I’d definitely realise sooner whilst also having less risk of infection and side effects like toxic shock syndrome. On the other hand I’m also saving a huge amount of sanitary waste going to landfill which is completely unavoidable due to the nature of it.”

3. Face wipes. “I have always used facewipes, I think I’ve used them since I started wearing make up which must have been about age 13 (a shocking 14 years ago). It was just an easy and convenient way to take my make up off. Although people had said it wasn’t the best thing for your skin, I’d never had any problems with them. It wasn’t until I saw your post on Instagram I realised that I’d never thought about how much waste I created. And suddenly I was like “aah that’s so bad, and terrible that there’s so much waste that can’t be recycled!” So after reading that post, I went and bought a good, but not expensive cleanser and a flannel and it does the job just the same, if not better AND my skin feels better.

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So lastly I asked her:

 

How has making these changes, regardless of whether you made them for sustainability reasons, made you feel?

“I feel a lot better knowing I’m not damaging other life on the planet by my actions. Even if I’m only making a small change, then I feel good knowing that I’m at least making a small difference. I feel better because I’ve learnt about it and I’ve made changes that are personal to me because of that. That’s all anyone can do, I can’t personally stop someone cutting down a rainforest but I can stop using unrecycleable products and my contribution to waste and that’s better than nothing.”

“I don’t know much about the environment, but I’ve learned so much through living with you and from your outlook on a sustainable lifestyle.”

This just goes to prove, that with a little encouragement and a little sharing of your knowledge with others can make a difference and it makes you feel great to know that it’s really not just you making changes on your own. So go forth and share your tips and your passions with those around you and together, there’s gonna be a little less rubbish around!

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