This is the only planet we’ve got. Yet every year we dump a massive 2.12 billion tons of waste. This seems pretty overwhelming but with small and fairly economical changes to your lifestyle, you can do your bit to help the environment and be more ecological. It’s a lot easier than you may think. There are some Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Swaps that you can do on an individual basis on a small budget, easy peasy. Whether eating a salad, having a cocktail or brushing your teeth, you can help the environment!


Bamboo Cutlery

Whether you make yourself packed lunches or grab a salad from the coffee shop on your lunch break, you’re likely going to need some cutlery at lunchtime. Plastic cutlery is offered in a number of food establishments, and although it tends to be free and is recyclable, the majority of it will take hundreds of years to decompose. You can buy sets of bamboo cutlery which come with a travel pouch or if you're super short of space, a bamboo spork, and they can be washed in exactly the same way as metal cutlery. 

Beeswax Wraps

A reusable alternative to plastic or aluminium wraps. Beeswax is a vital component of the wraps, which also contain cotton, pine resin and jojoba oil. You use the warmth of your hands to mould the Beeswax Wrap over either food or food receptacles. They are easily washed, with washing up liquid, and come in a variety of colours and patterns, making your lunchbox a little more colourful. They are also biodegradable, so when they reach the end of their life, you can just chuck them in a compost bin or on a compost heap, simple as that. 


Reusable Straws

You’re very likely to have heard of these what with the discussion about plastic straws recently. You can get reusable straws in a variety of materials such as stainless steel, glass and bamboo. Stainless Steel are likely to be the most durable. They come with cleaning materials such as a miniature nylon brush, so there’s no need to worry about hygiene, they also tend to be dishwasher safe. If they do eventually reach a point where they are no longer useable, they are able to be put into the compost or recycled.

Reusable Cups

Coffee is often an essential part of student lifestyle, with takeaway options being the most convenient. However, the cardboard cups we use tend to have a plastic lining in order to make them waterproof making them incredibly difficult to recycle, with such a fleeting lifespan, this really isn’t sustainable. Buying reusable cups therefore reduces waste and saves resources. There is a huge range of options, meaning you can choose a design you like that suits your needs. Reusable cups also tend to be more insulated, keeping your drink cooler or warmer for longer. In terms of financial perks, these cups give you the option to make your own hot drinks at home to take out with you. If you just can’t beat the barista blend, a number of stores offer discounts if you bring your reusable cup. Pret a Manger and Patisserie Valerie offer the best discount, with 50 pence off your drink. Costa and Starbucks also offer a 25 pence discount. Who doesn’t want to save money and help the environment at the same time? 

Hygiene and Toiletries

Solid Deodorant

The Summer is upon us, and whether we like it or not, it is inevitable that this means plenty of days where we break a sweat. Deodorant is essential, but chemicals in traditional brands have possible links to skin disorders. Additionally, many people use antiperspirants, which limit the flow of perspiration. Companies such as Lush believe in a more natural approach to deodorising, letting your body do its job. Solid deodorant products use natural powders such as lycopodium powder and sodium bicarbonate, which can blot up any excess moisture you release through the day. They bear a more natural smell, using ingredients such as lemongrass and tea tree oil. You can buy bottles of deodorant powder but choosing solid bars saves on packaging and therefore has more of a positive impact on the environment.

Toothy Tabs

Squeezable toothpaste tubes are difficult to recycle, and often aren’t part of recycling collection. However there are alternatives with more natural ingredients, recycled and recyclable packaging, such as Lush’s Toothy Tabs. You crush the tablet between your teeth and brush it around your mouth as you would with a regular toothpaste. They come in a variety of flavours such as the peppermint ‘Miles of Smiles’ and citrus ‘Limelight’ and as with the ethos of the company, contain natural and safer synthetic ingredients such as Sodium Bicarbonate, Peppermint Oil and Lemon Oil. Additionally as they don’t come in liquid form they are also a lot more travel friendly. 

Menstrual Products

Here’s one for all you period-having humans out there. Disposable Menstrual Products hugely contribute to waste, materials and chemicals used render them non biodegradable, with the plastics in a pad taking hundreds of years to decompose. There are a number of reusable alternatives (or RUMPS) available. These include Cloth pads, Menstrual cups and Period Underwear.

Cloth pads are washable and use moisture wicking fabrics and breathable materials. They come in a variety of patterns and sizes, can be adjusted with popper buttons and are made to last up to 10 years . There are a huge range of menstrual cups on the market, an example being the DivaCup.

A menstrual cup is a small flexible cup made of silicone or latex rubber, that collects rather than absorbs, which can be used for up to 12 hours. They are easily washable, come with travel bags and they can last up to a decade.

Period underwear is similar to normal underwear but has characteristics of a cloth pad, with multiple layers of fabric including moisture-wicking cotton, anti-microbial lining, super-absorbent fabric and a leak-resistant barrier. All of these products are not only reusable but do not contain plastics, artificial fragrances, adhesives, and chemical gels, and therefore are much better for your body.

So there you have it! There are so many ways you can be more eco-friendly, form new habits and start today!