With 2019 presenting us with new opportunities to make a better life for ourselves.We at Uzwelo are passionate about conservation and wanted to use the typical “new year, new me” trend to present some tips on how we can all introduce small changes in our lives that will make a big, positive impact on our environment.
1. Raise your hand up if you just love yourself a good home cooked meal, I know I do. The only thing that’s bad about take away other than our uninvited friend who invites himself anyway, is the plastic cutlery that comes with our meal. Ever asked yourself if the fast food industry separates plastic products for recycling after they have all gone into the same bin as a left-over Burger or half eaten chicken wing? I highly doubt it. Let’s save the earth and have a healthier meal at home, yes it might take longer however it has better long-term effects for yourself and the earth.
2. Everything is a schlep until it becomes a habit, just like separating your waste. In the beginning it might be a rash however once you get used to it, it will give you a sense of fulfilment every time, then it will become a part of your lifestyle.
3. Now this is a habit that needs to be dropped, plastic water bottles. They are so easily accessible, you can buy water for as little as R6 at any food store. The water is cheap we agree however, how expensive are the effects of that water bottle when it finds its way to the nearest storm drain and eventually to the sea? Let’s rather get a reusable water bottle that you will carry everywhere you go, to keep you hydrated and using less plastic.
4. Four, skip the straw. Not only did that rhyme, it also is something that we should really consider. Single-use straws should become a thing of the past. We don’t need any more of them polluting our beautiful rivers, lakes and sea. So next time you buy a drink, just say “skip the straw”.
5. Plastic produce bags are sneaky little buggers. One moment you’re shopping, the next thing you find yourself with three to four of them in your trolley. They might seem harmless because they are flimsier than their bigger brother the plastic bag however, they have the same effect. If you are wondering how you can replace them especially if you going to be buying nuts, fruits and veggies in bulk, you can get yourself reusable muslin bags. it might add a gram here and there however, they are well worth it.
6. Leftovers in my glass jar…what? Don’t knock it until you try it. There are few things better than to pull that delicious left-over steak and veggies you had last night out of the fridge and have a feast at lunch time. What could be better than that? Well since we love left overs so much, let’s try replacing our plastic containers with glass jars. This will reduce our plastic foot-print in our homes considerably and be sure to recycle those plastic containers when throwing them away.
7. We all know how much of a pain load shedding is. We ask ourselves the question, “what can we actually do”? Seems like any effort we make is like a drop in the ocean. One thing we can do, is to swap our normal Incandescent light bulbs to a more energy saving fluorescent or LED light bulb. You will be surprised as to how much energy this change saves.
8. You might not know this, but you can take your own re-usable coffee cup to any coffee shop around your area. Some coffee shops even offer discounts for this noble act which is really cool. We could all do with an extra buck here and there.
9. One only has to look at the extensive damage plastic makes on the earth, more especially to the sea life – the images are heart-breaking. Plastic kills more than 1.1 million sea birds and animals in one year and to think that the average use of a plastic bag is 12 minutes and can take up to a thousand years to decompose. We have to do something about this. One tip, get yourself a pocket-sized reusable shopping bag that you will not forget. You are more likely to forget a big shopping bag than a small one that can fit into your handbag.
10. Share your sustainability resolutions with us, we would love to hear the changes you plan on making in this new year.