Conscious Consumerism – 2019 is the Time for Change

2018 has seen increased plastic attacks on supermarkets, leaving all unnecessary packaging behind in trolleys, consumers refusing the straw and raising awareness of the harm single use plastics are doing to our seas and planet. It’s hard to forget the image of the straw being pulled from the sea turtles nose, or the peeled orange re-packaged in a container to keep it fresh… if only mother nature had come up with a solution…crazy!

Governments and big brands are feeling the change and pledging to ban single use plastics all over the world. The Ocean Cleanup has also started this year with Boyan Slat and team embarking on the largest clean up of the sea the world has ever seen. Whilst there are still teething problems as the system is tested this process and others are the start of actual sustainable change happening.

It feels a little like humankind has been having a 50 year unsustainable ‘plastic party’ with supposed ‘single use’ products even though plastic was promoted as ‘lasting for forever’. But, having woken up realising that forever means ‘you cannot ever really throw it away’ we are ready to reverse the damage. It’s not a short process and there is still a long way to go in terms of making companies accountable for the packaging they use and ensuring that we are taking responsibility for each and every purchase we make. Because, whilst we can continue to keep on blaming the companies, the truth is change starts with each and everyone of us. If we vote with our feet and shop sustainably the manufacturers and companies have to listen or lose profits.

So what can we do to go beyond sustainability and help be part of the solution instead of the problem? Ideally we would all follow in the footsteps of the inspiring people like Lauren Singer who live a zero waste lifestyle if she can make it work then surely we all can? But, with busy lives and limited finance here’s my top five tips to commit to doing this New Year that will help to impact change.

  1. Get out of the gym and exercise outside – All those workout machines, vending machines and strip lights are bad for the environment. Join a local running club or sports team or try yoga or pilates and exercise without contributing to your carbon footprint

  2. Reduce the meat you are eating – more and more people are going vegan or vegetarian, but if that feels to much for you and your family, why not just do Veganuary or join the Flexitarian movement and pledge to reduce the meat you eat by just two/three meals a week

  3. Shop plastic free – take your own re-usable bags and packaging to the supermarket and use those to select your produce over pre-packaged. Certain stores such as Morrisons now offer reward points for bringing your own packaging. Better still, shop local!

  4. Buy second hand – or fix rather than throw away. The clothing industry is the second biggest pollutant on the planet. Try having clothes swapping parties with friends, shopping at second hand stores or buying up-cycled or revamped clothing and accessories

  5. Shop sustainable – If you must buy something, make sure it is ethical and sustainably sourced. That it is cruelty free and wont cause more harm to the planet. You will find a selection of incredible sellers on our homepage

We have a duty of care to this planet to leave it in the very best state for the next generation so let’s all make a New Years Resolution to make 2019 the time for change.

Tanith Harding

Head of International Projects, RoundTable Global

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