Going Green in 2021

By Danielle Barnes

 

We reckon it’s about time for new year’s resolutions to turn away from demanding diet fads and far-reaching goals that we end up ditching by mid-February. Why not rather turn your attention to Mother Earth, and resolve to adopt individual responsibility and decisive action-based solutions towards climate change?

 

Now don’t go rolling your eyes thinking we’re going to spew some hippie jargon, or resort to leaning on the old excuse of “I’m only one person”. History has proven that just one person can do quite a bit (think Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai, if you’re in need of inspiration).

 

That said, many of us just don’t know where to start. We break down some easy-to-implement green resolutions that you can use to start making small changes for a big difference in 2021 and beyond…

 

Bag it better

 

Keep a selection of reusable shopping bags at hand, and don’t accept the plastic bags at the till. Keep your reusable bags at the front door or in the boot of your car so you don’t forget them on your next shopping trip.

 

Did you know? It takes between 100 and 400 years for plastic to break down in a landfill. And even when this happens, what’s left are the microscopic pieces of plastic that are still non-biodegradable.

 

De-plastic your life

 

By now, we’ve all heard of reusable straws and bamboo toothbrushes (which are both must-haves, by the way), but it’s time to take it a step further. Ditch the cling wrap and invest in material or biodegradable solutions. Try out shampoo bars and other pure personal care products, and clean your house with earth-friendly solutions. 

 

Share what you wear

 

Setting up a clothes swapping system with friends and family not only lessens the load on textile mass production, but also instils an appreciation for extending each garment’s life span. By doing this, we can also encourage brands to shift focus away from quantity and towards quality. 

 

Did you know? The global textile industry emits 1,2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses a year!

 

Veg it up

 

Around the world, the plant-based eating trend continues to grow in popularity as more people reduce or eliminate meat from their diets. Grocery stores are finally acknowledging this movement by offering more vegan, plant-based, meat-free and dairy-free options. 

 

While going 100% meat-free is the way forward for some, it doesn’t work for us all - and that’s ok. You can start small, by introducing Meat-free Mondays and working your way towards cooking veggie dishes three nights a week. There are plenty of recipes out there, and food inspiration is just a quick online search away!

 

Travel lighter

 

With its heavy offset of carbon emissions, air travel can really take its toll on the planet. The last few years have seen a rising travel trend of swapping the plane for the train. The Swedes call this love of land-based travel ‘tagskryt’, and it’s a great way to explore a new country or region in your geographical backyard. All aboard! 

 

Don’t be trashy

 

Bear with us on this one. Although it may sound obvious, many people find the effort of putting something in the bin far too taxing. This is especially evident on our country’s beautiful beaches and hiking trails. Engage with your community and organise monthly clean-up missions – it’s also the perfect opportunity for the entire family to get involved!

 

Did you know? 94% of all beach litter in South Africa is made of plastic (of which 77% is from packaging)

 

We get it - going all-out green is easier said than done. But starting by implementing even just one of these new habits can get you going in the right direction.