I know it is really common to associate sustainable living practices with recycling or with things that “we don’t really have time for” but sustainability is more than that. If you ever said “what in for me?” if you turn to sustainable living choices, keep reading.
The quality of your food or your cosmetics is related to sustainability too. If the food is grown with chemical fertilizers, this actions harm the planet and they harm you too. Same for cosmetics: if your make up has substances which affect the environment, you can be sure that they have an impact on you as well. There is a simple rule you can guide yourself with: if it’s bad for the environment than it’s probably bad for me.
Sustainability is the relationship between you and the world you live in and like in any relationship, if you harm your partner, indirectly you hurt yourself. So the first step you can do for the team is start reading the labels from the products you buy. When I started to do that, I cut quite a few food items from my list of frequently-used goodies. Look at some of the ingredients which were written on the bag of the frozen wedges I wanted to buy: Potatoes (88%), Sunflower Oil (6.0%), Modified Potato Starch Thickener (Xanthan Gum), while on the pack of chicken nuggets it said that it contains 41% chicken with added water another then a long list of other ingredients. Is it healthy to eat chicken which is actually only 41% chicken? is it healthy to eat potatoes with chemically modified ingredients inside them? I am not saying that you should never eat it, but be aware of the frequency you eat it with.
The healthy and sustainable alternative to this is buying raw potatoes, chopping them and adding the spices you want to them, and buying raw chicken, which at least you know it is 100% chicken and cooking it yourself. It will be cheaper, healthier and not to mention sustainable.
The next aspect is how much food do you waste? Was the portion too big? Don’t throw it away, most leftovers will be good to eat for a couple of days if you store them adequately. This is eco-friendly and pocket-friendly because not wasting food protects the environment and it helps you to save some money.
And speaking of saving money, did you ever think about how much money you waste if you buy a bottle of water every day? Let’s say that you spend £1 per day to buy water. In a month this comes up to £31. What if you buy a water jug with a filter (you can find some for as little as £10) and filter tap water or even better get free water from the water fountains placed around campus? If you buy a BPA-free bottle which is reusable (it costs about £3) you have it for years, it is healthier as it does not have the toxins contained in regular water bottles, you protect the environment and your health, and you can save up to £31 a month. Isn’t it so much better to use that £31 to buy the latest video game or that bag you keep saving money for?
Now the next issue: cosmetics. When I read the ingredients on my shower gel, I decided it’s time for a change. It contains sulfates, Benzonate, Polyquaterinum, Benzophenone, Rubrum, Magnezium Nitrate, Methylchloroisothiazolinonne, Magnesium Chloride and other substances. It is healthier and more sustainable to replace those toxic products with organic ones or at least with products which have less harmful ingredients. Where possible, replace them with home made ingredients because again, it is sustainable, cheaper and healthier. For example my friend made me a home made body scrub made from 100% natural ingredients. She used lemon zest (about 5 % ), lemon juice (about 5%), sugar (about 45%) and salt (about 45%) and it felt really good to use it.
So as you can see sustainable living practices don’t take up a lot of our time, in fact we can incorporate sustainable choices in our lives and create benefits for us and for our planet!
by student blogger, Irina Cristache