Can you believe it’s April already! Where has the time gone?! Before the month whizzes past, I wanted to touch on a very prominent and current topic of conversation – Recycling.
The images on social media are circulating at an alarming rate with horrid images of animals and the landscape being affected by pollution. I thought I would share a few small tips that you can do every day to help alleviate your carbon footprint.
- Plastic Bottles. It breaks my heart when I stand in queues at the grocery store and people have grabbed bottles of water in the queue. Ahhh! It kills me. Coca Cola produces 3MILLION TONNES of plastic every year; I can’t even visualize what that even looks like! And even though we are all becoming more and more aware of what’s happening to our planet, we still buy from these companies: why? Because it’s habit or because we think, ugh, it’s just one bottle and I’ll recycle it?Let’s do my math, just as an example. I drink 3 liters of water a day. Let’s say I don’t use a reusable bottle. I’m likely to buy, for arguments sake, 2 x 2 L bottles or a variation thereof per week while I am out on the road/ shopping and feel thirsty. That’s 104 bottles a year and, let’s be honest, not all of them will end up in the recycling bin. I have a reusable 2L water bottle that I fill up every morning and clean once a week; by filling up at home I have saved myself (R10 for a 1.5L Valpre x 2 x 52 =) R1040 a year on water.What’s even more entertaining is that when I work in Kitchens (ironically, despite my lack of love for cooking, I love organising kitchens) my clients always have cupboards full of reusable water bottles that are never used. Here’s what I say. Fill them up and put them in the fridge and get into the habit of reusing them.
A) You will also clear out a cupboard in your kitchen for other items that need the space
B) Save yourself some money and reduce your plastic waste (there are just over 56million people in SA and if even half of us stopped buying plastic bottles, imagine the difference we could make)
- Shopping bags. I am delighted that so many retail stores are moving away from plastic and towards biodegradable and earth friendly material bags. But we can also add our bit here. Again, in many kitchens I have worked in there is always “that cupboard” that is bulging with unused plastic bags. When I talk to anyone about being organised it’s just creating habits and being mentally prepared ahead of situations. By being mindful and present with your actions, you can have a profound effect on how organised you can be.Since 2016 I have had 3 fabric shopping bags (I am only human and on occasions I have left them at home). I worked out quite fast that I seldom buy any more than three bags at a time, when I am out shopping. On average I do one big shop a week so that’s 156 plastic bags a year and 468 bags from 2016-2018 that I have prevented from dying a lonely death in the kitchen cupboard, destined to never see the light of day again. Yes, I appreciate that we lead busy and frantic lives and very often upon our arrival at home we drop our bags and kick off our shoes and head straight for the escape of the couch. But if we spent 15min unpacking and putting our bags on the front door handle or in our handbags, then the bags would make it back to the car and in turn, back to the store and create a wonderful habit of conscious living.In many of the spaces I have worked in, I find many many shopping bags with their items still inside the bags and not even being used as they have been forgotten due to the items being out of sight. Which leads me to the next point…
- Retail therapy – ahh man, this is a tough one. My husband looks at my cupboard and gives me the raised eyebrow. Everyone has their weakness and mine is my clothes. I buy selectively, my shoes are mostly trainers and Toms and a few other styles, but I have got to a stage now where I only buy my clothing from 3 or 4 places because I trust the quality, the fit and I know that with the proper care the items will last.My husband is also very good in this regard; he is working towards a capsule wardrobe (I think it’s easier for men as they wear either tops, shorts or pants. Women have so many other parts to their wardrobe (like earrings – I am very big into earrings). He has worked out the colors that look great on him and now he only purchases items that will go with all his articles of clothing. So now he has fewer items and he wears all his clothing; his shopping is reduced as some items just don’t fit in to his colour pallet and his closet isn’t over flowing. He is much like me, he buys from a few select places and so he doesn’t end up with these impulsive buys that he doesn’t wear.We are so indoctrinated by fashion and it changes so fast that, having worn an item once, it’s already ‘so yesterday.’ I have a shopping list of items that I would like; I add to it when I see something I like and then I think about it (the leopard print jeans from Zara – all my jeans are from there because they fit me so well, are on the list and let’s be honest, leopard print will always circle back into fashion hehe) but I keep my list and think about whether or not I will wear it in a few years’ time and then make my decision. My goal for 2019 is to invest in experiences and not in things (Mauritius in June and Europe/ London in Sept/October). I bought my bikinis on special from my favorite place last year and I have been waiting patiently to give them their debut… Yippee!
That’s another point – shopping in sales – so many of my clients have garages lined with bags of clothing for donation and the tags are still on some of the clothes and they were so often on sale. Make a list of what you want before you go and stick to it. If you are feeling brave and fancy a closet clear out, start small; a whole closet overhaul can take hours and you may end up sleeping under a pile of clothes on the bed that you haven’t managed to get to. Underwear. Shoes. Gym clothes. Swimming costumes. Small tasks make you feel exuberant. If you aren’t sure where to donate your preloved items, then give us a shout. There are also wonderful second-hand stores that will sell your items for you. Put the bags in the car and donate them ASAP otherwise they can start to take over your garage. By donating them asap it finishes the task and you are less likely to want to go through the bags.
- E-Waste. I am so glad that there are more and more places that will recycle e-waste for you. What is e-waste? Computers, cellphones, batteries, CD’s, DVD’s, appliances, wires and cables that have lost their partners, light bulbs, old VCR tapes. These items I always collect when I am with a client because they often end up in the bin and in a landfill and they often have poisonous or toxic materials that end up not biodegrading. There are many drop-off points or companies that will collect this waste and then they recycle it or dispose of it correctly.
I saw a fabulous advert about how Iceland (which is the top in the world for Green Living) decided that they were no longer going to buy toothpaste in boxes (what is the point of them anyway?) and just buy consciously not buying the brands that sell in boxes, they managed to change the supply and demand of them. We can make a change. We can be more organized and we can live a more conscious, present life and we can make a difference.
If you have any questions or suggestions, we would love to help.