It's not hard to be green. Really it isn't. And we don't even have to be fully fledged swinging from the trees hippy green to be making a difference. You may already have heard of the 3Things movement. It's brilliant. Their whole ethos is that everyone can make a difference, even if they only do 3 things differently. I've still got some bad habits, but I've made some tremendous changes too.
I started by making small changes some time ago. The more I change, the more I learn. And the more I find out, the more frequently my attitudes to earlier changes are altered. For example, I started consciously recycling a long time ago. Most people do now, which is great. But recently I've learned that recycling is really your last port of call.
Recycling still requires a huge expenditure of energy to break materials down in order to be reused. So I started reusing things that I would normally recycle. Tins cans have become herbs pots, water bottle tops are now bells jars over seedlings. But then my 'reuse' box began to overflow. Just how many tin cans and plastic bottles was I going through?
Which let me to the 4R philosophy - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. If you look at things you are using everyday and work backwards, there is usually a solution further down the 4R line that you could be adopting. So, your daily coffee addiction. How many plastic coffee cups do you use? Do you go to a cafe that uses recyclable cardboard cups - great, that's better. You can then throw that in with the recycling. But you can do better. Buy a reusable coffee cup (like a KeepCup), take it with you! Not only is it reducing waste, but you get to make a style statement while you're at it. The same goes with reusable water bottles.
So what else is there? Loads. All those tin cans I was munching through? Well, I can buy beans and legumes dry and in bulk. They can be stored in big cloth bags (in a large plastic box to keep bugs out!). Whenever I plan to cook with them, I just pop what I need into water in a glass jar and let them soak till they're ready for use. So I'll be going further back down the line from recycling my tins, to reusing them as herb pots, to now reducing my consumption of tin cans by buying in bulk and using glass jars and fabric bags etc.
Refuse? That would be all those little plastic bags you accumulate at the supermarkets for your fruit and veggies. Go to the greengrocer or farmers markets, take a cloth bag or basket with you - no need for plastic!
There are so many alternative and solutions that are not only great for the environment, but great for your bottom line too. It just takes a little more effort. And you can always get those tin cans for emergencies to recycle later. Nice.
Heaps more ideas here: The Zero Waste Home