Are you like me? Trying so hard to fight the “excess” battle but find old habits creeping in over the holidays, because it is just all in the too hard basket? Here are some of my tips to become sustainable this holiday season.
I think, if anything, this year has taught me to STOP, look around and just take stock of how lucky I am even though I seem often to be surrounded by uncertainty and mayhem. I think my keyword for this year is ‘KIND’. I have no idea what is going on in the lives of people around me, but I can control the small kind things that I do that may in some small way make a difference.
My motto and one we celebrate at Au Natural Skinfood is, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. You may think that we are only about skincare, but in fact our team is focused on ways that we can work together to help our followers make their lives and homes more sustainable every day.
Starting is the hard part! But remember that every little bit makes a difference.
- Reduce Packaging – mindful buying
An important and easy step towards sustainable living is to be mindful about what you buy and from where. Buy from businesses that has sustainability as a core value.
As a business with sustainability at its core, Au Natural Skinfood has reduced its packaging by not wrapping our products in paper or plastic. Rather we use a shopping tote where necessary, to keep our products safe on their journey to you. This shopping tote can be reused for your grocery shopping and help put a stop to single-use plastic bags. We ship our packages in compostable courier bags. You can plant these, use them as tree protectors or even use to grow seedlings.
We have most of our products in refill eco-pouches made of sugar cane. These are carbon negative which means the production cycle absorbs more carbon than they emitted. They are recyclable too. We encourage our customers to buy a refill pouch where they can, when repurchasing the same products and use them to refill the containers they already purchased from us
Be always prepared to say ‘NO’ to unnecessary packaging. I make a point of saying ‘no’ to till receipts and I always have a shopping tote on hand for any shopping. Another handy trick is having a clean casserole dish and cardboard box in the boot of my car. When stopping at my local fish shop or butcher I take in my casserole dish for my purchases, this cuts out the polystyrene trays and plastic packaging that fill my rubbish bin.
Do some research before you head out shopping and choose bulk food and organic stores that allows taking your own containers along. This will save you money and greatly reduce what goes to our landfill.
- Grow Your Own Herbs and Veggies
A great way to step into sustainable living is to grow at least some of your own veggies and herbs. While our children were growing up, we lived on a lifestyle block outside of Christchurch. We developed our own vegetable garden and started to focus on eating food that we grew ourselves. There are so many benefits to this.
- The whole family ends up respecting food so much more because they know the effort it takes to get it to the table.
- There is such joy that comes from watching something grow and nurturing it to the point where it can be picked to eat.
- Food you grow yourself tastes SO much better.
- Giving excess food away as gifts creates community and wellbeing for everyone.
- You only pick what you need, so you reduce waste.
- Growing your own food also reduces harmful gasses produced when processing and transporting food.
When we moved to a smaller property three years ago, we had to part ways with my veggie garden and start all over again! I was shocked at the price a small handful of herbs costs! Many people think you need a lot of space to grow veggies – but it can be as easy as saving a few old tyres from the landfill, filling them with home grown compost (see my final tip below!) and planting some seeds. This will look good, feed your family, and cut costs at home. I grow veggies wherever I can, chillies on the kitchen windowsill, tomato plant on my outdoor table, and herbs in my wee herb planter.
- Sustainable Cleaning
Some years ago, a lovely client of mine gave me a secondhand copy of “Wendyls” Green Goddess, this has become my bible. It is amazing how using simple natural cleaning alternatives such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice can keep your home just as clean as the nasty chemicals we have thought we needed in the past.
If “making your own” cleaning materials is too hard then take time to make sensible choices. It is great to see more choice in local stores and supermarket of natural, plant-based detergents that are using non-toxic and in sustainable packaging. Remember to check out on our Au Natural Skinfood website, for sustainable cleaning instructions for your cosmetic jars and bottles between refills.
- Clever Storage
Storage and organisation are a good start to making your home sustainable. The holidays are a great time to quietly potter. Consider saving yoghurt and similar containers to repurpose as storage solutions
Purchasing and storing bulk ingredients in your kitchen can saves on money, time, and wastage. Keep all used containers/jars and use these when shopping at bulk food stores or for storage in your pantry. By re-using we all help towards reducing single use plastic bottles. Use your containers to upcycle – refashion tins as vases or candle holders or use jars to deliver home grown flowers to friends as gifts.
If you are an Au Natural Skinfood subscriber, you will have two aluminium tins that your trial kit and starter kit arrived in – use these tins for storing home baking, storage of pens or even re-gifting.
A great blog article I recently read outlines Sustainable Homes of the Future. This is a really interesting read, and some of the points made can be easily implemented in your home now through things like energy-efficient lightbulbs and water-efficient appliances. Considering making your home more eco-friendly is a smart move, not only for the earth, but also for your wallet.
This is my personal favourite, often more than half of household garbage is made up of food and garden waste. Composting is easy and something the whole family can get involved in. By composting your food scraps, you drastically reduce your share of greenhouse gases produced in our landfills. I have a bucket in my kitchen where I put all my vegetable waste, ground coffee, tea bags, eggshells etc. There are many composting systems available – I have a turning barrel I also add grass clippings and leaves to. After starting, within weeks, I had beautiful compost to put around my herbs and fruit trees. The great thing about composting is you see a noticeable difference in the volume of household waste, and you know you are making a difference for good.
Another suggestion for our Au Natural Skinfood subscribers is to use your two aluminium tins for collecting your kitchen scraps – practical and attractive at the same time!
Bonus tip: Sustainable Gifting
Home backing especially for people who have allergies is a WONDERFUL gift, we made some cute star shaped cookies – popped them in paper bags and put them into our neighbour’s letterboxes with wee notes, responsibly social distancing and sharing just a little holiday magic.
I am here to help and want to support you on your journey not only towards healthy skin but for sustainable living as well.
Please contact me directly through [email protected] I would love to hear your experience and answer any questions that you might have.
Tracy – Founder
Au Natural Skinfood