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9 simple ways to be more sustainability-aware all year round

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Because our future, obvs.

Summer is a great time to sit back and enjoy the simple life. Long days without full-faced makeup routines, meal prepping or work commutes.
It’s a time of lazying it up on the deck, soaking in the rays and reflecting on the year that was. It’s drool-inducing bliss just thinking about it.
And while it’s great you’re finally going to get around to finishing that book on being a #girlboss, locking down a new summer romance and getting that morning walk in that you’ve been harping on about, might we remind you of one of the more woke activities that’s more fetching for both your to-do list and your street cred… being sustainable.
FYI, being sustainable is a social responsibility that practically comes naturally (pun intended) to us millennials. If we realistically want to see a positive change in our world and secure our future, it’s going to require a collective effort.
So take note of our list of ideas and initiatives to get underway this summer:

Reduce emissions, ride a bike

Save yourself the drive in the car with the blistering hot steering wheel and pedal push your way into town. Nothing says “I’m positively carefree and loving my time out of the office” like rocking up to brunch and dismounting with a flick of the hair. Très chic.

Ditch the plastic straws

In fact, ditch ALL plastic. Plastic bags, bottles and straws have such a short lifespan before we toss them in the bin – or worse, they’re cast into the ocean where they remain non-biodegradable and threatening the lives of our marine life. Ever seen that video of a diver extracting a straw from the nasal passage of a sea turtle? Not cool. Opt for paper straws or a salt-rimmed martini instead.

Reduce your food waste

Reducing your food waste is such an easy thing to introduce into your everyday habits. Make the most of meal prepping, serving smaller portions and freezing leftovers. Otherwise, get the gang together and host a ‘bits and pieces’ night to breathe new life into your remaining ingredients.

Start a compost bin

As for your perishables, starting a compost bin keeps produce out of landfills and creates an organic, chemical-free fertiliser for your garden and house plants. There are so many different techniques and systems to suit every lifestyle or available space, so there’s no excuse why this can’t be a viable option for everyone. Hello composting fruit, veges, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds…

Buy local and organically-grown foods

It’s super beneficial to keep your fruit and vege intake up, but hitting up your local farmer’s market hosts a whole other array of advantages, too. Not only are you supporting local businesses but you’re supporting sustainable growth that has a lower impact on our environment. High fives all round.

Choose organic cotton

Cotton is synonymous with summer separates. It’s light, easy-wearing and breathable. But what many people don’t realise is the high levels of potent chemicals that are exposed to the plant and the farmer throughout its life cycle which wreaks havoc on our environment. Shop for garments that have used recycled fabrics and organic cotton. Websites such as Well Made Clothes play home to an extensive list of designers that offer epic pieces for your wardrobe that are totally ethical and eco.

Hand wash and hang dry your clothing

Make the most of sunshine and ditch the electronics in favour of hand washing and line drying your garments. Not only will your clothes love you for it, prolonging their lifespan and all, but you’ll be saving vast amounts of water and electricity consumed by traditional washing machine and dryers.

Thrift shop

We know having new items in your wardrobe is totally addictive, but the garments themselves don’t have to be new to deliver the thrill. Enter, op shopping. Score yourself a totally unique vintage find and save the planet the energy and resource required to pump out new products in addition to the emissions clocked up just to land in little ol’ New Zealand. Oh, and it goes both ways. Make someone’s day by donating clothing and products you no longer use.

Go packaging free

Having recently entered the transition into this way of life, we can tell you that it’s super rewarding. Start by acquiring jars and containers and hit up your local bulk bins to source your grains, lentils, nuts, baking ingredients, superfoods, tea, coffee, spices, pastas, laundry powders, detergents, you name it. You’re scoring all these ingredients and getting charged at bulk price for smaller weights. Which, btw, is waaaay cheaper in the long run. Not to mention, your pantry looks cooler, you’re heavily reducing your packaging waste and preparing meals is way more fun.
Nail this art and you’ll be on your way to Gwyneth Paltrow levels of eco-esteem in no time.

Photos: Getty Images

WATCH: How to store your food more sustainably

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