At the beginning of last year, I was already on my ethical and eco-living journey. But, to be honest, I was kind of half-arsing it. I spent a lot of the year prior writing about all of the things I was going to do (using a safety razor! Going vegetarian! Finding a local farm shop!), whilst not actually committing to those actions (Letting my stainless steel razor sit unused in my cupboard. Still having the occasional Big Mac. Not once stepping foot into a farm shop). I was all talk and no walk.
So I knew that when 2018 rolled around, if I didn’t start practicing what I preached properly, I probably never would.
I guess you could say that it was the year I dedicated myself to the cause.
I made some big life changes that meant I was living in a way that was much more in-line with my ethics. I reduced my unnecessary waste, changed the way I ate and, more than anything else, just became a more conscious consumer. And the surprising thing? It didn’t actually make my life one massive ball ache. Granted, a lot of the shifts I made in 2018 took some getting used to, but now I don’t even think about most of them. Except Big Macs. I definitely still think about Big Macs.
Since I dedicated my last post to predicting the eco and sustainability trends of 2019, I thought I’d take this post as an opportunity to look back at my passed year.
(Not quite) Zero-waste food shopping
Shopping “zero-waste” in a conventional supermarket is more or less impossible. There’s plastic hidden everywhere. It’s in tea bags. It coats cardboard packaging to make it water resistant. And, frustratingly, a load of it isn’t even recyclable.
So, no, I didn’t transition to zero-waste grocery shopping last year. Instead, I made the best of what I had: I tried my hardest to reduce my plastic consumption whilst still shopping at Tesco. I even started buying all of my produce loose regardless of if it meant I’d have to chop my own carrots up before dunking them in hummus. Now that is dedication. To help, I invested in a set of produce bags that I use every single week.
Let’s file that under “getting there”.
Ever since starting uni more than three years ago, my meat consumption has seriously dropped. I was never a fan of cooking meat or eating it (unless it was on a pizza or in a bun), so I just naturally went towards buying Quorn instead.
However, I didn’t fully commit until August this year.
After reading Eating Animals on holiday I decided that, as I expected all along, eating meat just wasn’t for me. It didn’t sit right with my ethical values so I needed to stop putting off the inevitable. In 2018, I became veggie. And I also drastically reduced my dairy and egg consumption, making most of my meals at home vegan.
Natural and CF cleaning products
I’ve spoken a lot about my transition to cruelty-free makeup. And, to be honest, it was probably one of thee easiest ethical lifestyle shifts I’ve ever made. It really ain’t that hard to google if a company tests on animals!
But one thing I didn’t consider at the start of my journey was cleaning products. Companies like Unilever (who produce Comfort and Cif),Proctor and Gamble (Flash, Fairy and Febreze) and SC Johnson (Mr Muscle and Duck) routinely all test on animals. So, whilst choosing “bunny certified” lipstick is all good and well, it certainly isn’t the most I could be doing.
On top of that, whilst some cruelty-free products might not test on animals, that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t harm them at all. Certain cleaning products can be massively dangerous to wildlife and marine life in particular. So, in 2018, I decided to only use natural cleaning products. And, frankly, after using Method’s Wild Rhubarb anti-bac, I don’t know why anyone would use anything else.
Honesty time: I buy all of my clothes second hand, apart from when it comes to holiday shopping. It’s my weakness. I mean, I even got my graduation outfit on Depop, but for some reason I just can’t resist buying 35 bikinis for a 7 day holiday.
Until 2018, that is. Whilst I did buy one new bikini (nobody wants someone else’s used briefs, right?), I bought the vast majority of my summer clothes in charity shops. On occasion I had to force myself off ASOS, but I bloody did it!