This listicle is for everyone who wants to make better choices but doesn’t know where to start.
Done is better than perfect is a good approach. We don’t need a handful of people being perfect vegans. We need millions doing things imperfectly. That means there is no need to research everything you do, a bit of common sense and thinking twice guides perfectly.
A product or shop that produces no waste (e.g. packaging). Zero waste shops try to operate after the closed loop system. E.g. the supplier delivers in a container that gets collected and washed afterwards and filled up and sold again. They may also have a selection of reusable lifestyle products and toiletries. Some have perks like a nut butter machine, where you can grind your own peanut butter! There are more and more zero waste refill shops opening up, here you find a UK directory and here my personal favourite zero waste shop Sugar & Scoop (in Ware)
Organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed in a “farming system that avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives” (BBC Good Food). Every country has its own regulations and there are hundreds of organic labels which adds to the confusion. Also note, organic is not the same as “natural” products.
A diet containing no (or less) animal products.
Vegetarian Nation lists 7 different types of vegetarianism:
- Vegan. diet contains no animal products at all, no meat, fish, eggs, milk, honey, and some vegans try to avoid other animal products like leather, silk and wool as well
- Lacto-ovo vegetarians (most common form): they avoid red or white meat, fish, fowl, but consume dairy and egg products
- Lacto vegetarian: they avoid red or white meat, fish, fowl or eggs, but consume dairy products
- Ovo vegetarian: they avoid red or white meat, fish, fowl or dairy products, but consume egg products
- Pescatarian: they avoid red meat, white meat or fowl, but consume fish, seafood and dairy and egg products
- Pollotarian: they avoid red meat or fish and seafood, but consume poultry, dairy and egg products (not officially considered vegetarian)
- Flexitarian: technically not vegetarian, flexitarians consume mainly a plant based diet with the occasional meat product
No animal testing/Cruelty free
Products that are developed without any animal testing. They are labelled with a leaping bunny.
Read twice! A company claiming “We have not tested on animals” might have contracted someone else to do that. “This product is not tested on animals” might mean some ingredients were.
There are lots of leading brands which are completely cruelty free (Lush, BodyShop, Ecover) and more brands are easy to google.
Products which are completely or partly made of recycled products. There are daily more! A google search “products made from recycled (materials/paper/plastic)” gives a lot of results. Books, bottles, bags, clothes, toilet paper, newspapers are very common items.
The pre owner sells or passes on something that is still intact and good to use, directly or via a charity shop.
Thrift and charity shops have a negative image, but I have found many brand new products (label still on) or toys still in sealed packaging.
So many products we use without thinking once and then they get thrown. Food storage bags. coffee to go cups. Horrendous plastic drink bottles. Q tips. Tampons or sanitary pads. Eye make up remover pads. Jogurt. Nappies. Wet wipes. Kitchen wipes.
There are so many amazing alternatives out there. The initial cost is higher, but it will always pay off and it reduces waste.
We use an ereader, beeswax wraps, silicone baking sheets, refill water bottles, takeaway coffee cup, silicone food storage bags, reusable eye make up removers, make my own jogurt, do popcorn in a pan (instead of microwave bags) and we use reusable nappies and wipes for the baby, reusable for baby.
Easy & effective. Think twice before you buy: How will (the product you are about to buy) add value or make your life better? No one has to become a minimalist, but reflecting on why you want to buy something will be a good guide to end the cycle of consumerism we’re in.
Have I forgotten something important? Please comment below, I would love to hear about it.