The Most Simple Ways TTC Readers Are Saving The Planet

17.11.19

This article is powered by SodaStream New Zealand

As our news cycle becomes increasingly crowded with stories about the devastating effects of climate change, from the wildfires in California and Australia to a decreasing global food supply and rising sea levels that risk making entire coastal communities uninhabitable, it’s easy to feel like we’re living in some dystopian horror film. It’s also easy to forget that often the best way to effect real change is to simply start by changing the small bit of world around you. To start small. The challenges that lie ahead of us are huge and undeniable, but it is those little, intentional changes made by individuals that will lead to significant changes in our collective communities and ultimately the world at large.

With that in mind, I wanted to hear from the TTC community about some of the small changes you’ve made to your daily lives in an effort to save and protect our oceans, wildlife, human and planetary health. Not the people that have sold off all of their belongings to go and live “off the grid” in a solar-powered cabin (although that does sound increasingly appealing), I’m talking about those simply wanting to live more mindfully and sustainably; those wanting to be advocates for themselves, their future and their children’s future. Now, full disclosure: I find it quite nerve-wracking talking about my own sustainability efforts. Mostly because I’m scared that people will use it as an opportunity to point out all of the things I’m doing wrong, everything I’m not doing, and all the things I should be doing more of. But courage is the currency here, so with that being said – I’ll go first! Owning a Keep Cup always felt like a good place to start, but it’s taken me over a year of trial and error with various options (that, ironically, didn’t actually “keep” much coffee in the “cup”) before finding a brand that was odour-resistant and wouldn’t leak throughout my car. It’s called Frank Green and it’s the best I’ve found. New Zealand company Two Islands Co. collaborated with them recently. I switched from tampons to a Moon Cup six months ago and have not only saved so much money but over the span of ten years I’ll have prevented over 2,000 tampons entering landfills and waterways. The key is to find a brand that uses high quality, medical-grade TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) free of silicone, rubber, latex, and BPAs. This is the brand I use. The paper bags I receive with PR deliveries get a second life as rubbish bin liners in my house, and my family have owned SodaStream machines for over 15 years. See, I didn’t even realise that owning a SodaStream counted as a positive contribution to the fight against climate change until a recent trip to Sydney where I was fortunate enough to learn about this company’s 100-plus year commitment to the plastic crisis. SodaStream have been saying since its inception that “recycling is not enough.” They know, as we all do, that a huge amount of plastic waste is simply not being recycled – everyday, eight million pieces of micro-plastic are entering our oceans – therefore recycling is not going to cut it. One SodaStream canister will save the average person over 2,000 plastic bottles a year and this company is committed to changing people’s mindsets on beverage-buying.

But what about the rest of the TTC community? The responses I received from readers about their best, most simple, life hacks for a cleaner planet were endless. They ranged from the mainstream, like Keep Cups, reusable shopping bags and metal straws, to ideas I’d never even considered, like using the paper bags provided for mushrooms at the supermarket in the pick ‘n’ mix aisle. Literally why have I never thought of this. There were mothers who had committed themselves to reusable breast pads and cloth nappies for their babies, and a reader who offsets the carbon emissions of every flight she takes by donating to a non-profit energy-based scheme that studies clean energy solutions. Countless readers raved about their reusable metal razors, like this chic option by Aesop, which stops them disposing of dozens of plastic razors each year, not to mention beeswax food covers instead of cling-wrap, period-proof underwear by AWWA and Thinx, turning the tap off while brushing their teeth, taking tupperware to their local butcher and sushi spots to skip the plastic carrier options (plus a Keep Cup for their miso soup – hello genius), carpooling to work, switching to a bamboo toothbrush (I’ve bought this one by Grin at the supermarket), lining rubbish bins with newspaper instead of plastic bags, not buying any clothes made with polyester or polyamide, and supporting local farmer’s markets by purchasing local, in-season produce which keeps farms in business and prevents them from being sold to developers.

And the list just went on and on and on. 

I hope these suggestions inspire you. But I also hope they serve as a reminder that despite discussions around sustainability often being delivered with a “lack” mindset – this idea that we have to give up everything we love – there’s also so many positives that can be added to our lives. You could add beeswax wraps to your kitchen. A shiny metal straw. Locally-grown fruits and vegetables. A SodaStream machine. That Aesop razor I can’t stop thinking about. Just start somewhere. Participate. Because we don’t need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly. Just like us.


Header image by Ashleigh Brooksbank for The Twenties Club