These days it is more important than ever to try and reduce our impact on the world. Ellie Brade, a long-time Te Atatu Toasted subscriber, has founded low-waste cleaning company Cleanery with her husband. We asked her to share some tips for easy ways to live life more sustainably.
Composting is one of the best ways to reduce your impact and it’s super easy to get started. A third of kerbside rubbish in New Zealand is food scraps, which emit nasty methane when they get to landfill. Buy a composting bin from your local hardware store or off TradeMe, or why not even do a free course with the Compost Collective which gives you a $40 discount code towards your compost bin. If you haven’t got any space for your own bin, check out them for drop off points for your food scraps.
Pop a No Junk Mail sign on your letterbox, unsubscribe from unnecessary mailers, and opt out of receiving the Yellow Book if you don’t want it. This is an easy way to save a heap of paper waste.
Look at buying in bulk where you can, to reduce packaging. Te Atatu Toasted cereal is available online in lifestyle bags that provide a month’s supply of cereal in one pack, meaning no need to buy and bin the waste from a new bag of cereal each week. When shopping, buy big bags of produce from the supermarket and portion them out, or even better visit your local refill store and cut out the packaging altogether.
Embrace nature – getting outdoors encourages us to walk more, use our cars less, and connect with the beauty of the world. Why not work a weekend walk into your routine and explore your local area by foot, or if you have kids try walking to school at least one day a week?
Cut food waste by planning meals and only buying what you need. Doing your weekly shop online also helps to avoid impulse supermarket purchases for things you don’t need that might go to waste if not eaten. Consider buying on subscription to have purchases delivered to your door – from tea to toilet paper, and cereal to cleaning products, these days you can get almost anything online. A Te Atatu subscription makes it really easy to sort and forget about buying your breakfast supplies.
Grow your own fruit and veg – start small with a favourite herb or a tomato plant. Don’t overthink it, if in doubt plant it and just see what happens. Gardening is a great way to zone out after a busy day at work.
Use a keep cup. Did you know 800,0000 disposable coffee cups make their way into landfill every day in Aotearoa? Yikes! Invest in a keep cup (or even just bring a mug from home) or take the time to sit in a café and enjoy your coffee from one of their own mugs. Check out UYO.co.nz for a guide to the awesome cafes that encourage you to “use your own.”
Look for other quick swaps around your home as a way to make easy progress. One of our very first changes was swapping big bottles of shower gel for soap.
Switch out single-use bottles of cleaning products and use low-waste “just add water” products like Cleanery instead. Traditional bottles of cleaning product are 95 per cent water, so it’s a no brainer to add the water yourself at home and reuse a bottle you already have.
Whenever you are buying something, stop and think “do I really need this?” If the answer is no, consider rethinking the purchase. And before buying new, always look into what’s available on the second-hand market.
Finally, surround yourself by inspiring people who share your passion for doing better. It’s easy to find inspiration on the internet and social media, and looking to people with great ideas and enthusiasm for change makes it so much easier to add improvements to your daily lifestyle. And remember, every little action counts, so just focus on progress not perfection!
Ellie Bradeis a co-founder of Kiwi company Cleanery, which delivers affordable low-waste cleaning products that come as a powder that dissolves in water at home to create ultra-effective cleaning spray that performs better than the market leader. Cleanery products represent a 99% reduction in waste, are naturally formulated, and are super easy to use. A no brainer switch for a greener lifestyle. www.cleanery.co.nz