Naturally, as someone who loves the outdoors, you want to make sure our planet stays happy and healthy. But how? In partnership with Icebreaker, we’ve dug deeper for seven less-obvious ways to do your bit for the planet.
Sometimes the state of the world can be a little overwhelming, in the face of certain political leadership, global-scale disasters and environmental destruction. But there’s plenty of things everyone can do to reduce their footprint. So here’s a little life hack list to help get you motivated with easy solutions. Some simple places to start, and some strange ones, to help keep our oceans clean and mountains magical.
1. Buy Natural Fibres Not Synthetic
Just one piece of clothing can shed up to 700,000 plastic fibres in a single wash. These aren’t caught by wastewater treatment plants and flush straight out into the sea where they’re eaten by everything from whales to deep-sea worms. These fibres are the most common form of plastic pollution in the sea, and introduce harmful pollutants into our food chain. Choosing wool, cotton or hemp over nylon, acrylic, recycled plastic or polyester is an easy way to help save the sea (and ourselves).
Level up: Get your hands on some plastic-free tees, like Icebreaker’s T-shirts for Good.
2. BYO Box
Takeaway food containers are a classic example of single-use plastics – made of a material which lasts forever, but usually used for about five minutes. This means instant trash, which doesn’t go away (and maybe also leach harmful pollutants into your food). Hobart is banning takeaway containers in 2020 and it’s easy to take your own lunchbox (ideally a reusable metal one) for your takeaway Thai food.
Level up: Reusable cups for takeaway coffee, buying in bulk, carrying a refillable drink bottle, switch what you can and avoid what you can’t.
3. Meat Free Mondays
The emissions that come from livestock farming are more than all transportation put together (which is over 14% of all human-produced greenhouse gas). And it’s not just carbon emissions– meat production uses huge amounts of water and land – about 15,000L of water to produce a kilo of beef and around 30% of the earth’s surface. Moving towards a plant-based diet is one of the biggest things we can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Start with Monday, work up to weeknights.
Level up: An entirely plant-based diet.
4. Wash Your Clothes Less
We’re not advocating being a smelly human, but there are ways you can wash your clothes less. Why? Because this means shedding fewer plastic microfibres, using less harmful detergents and saving water. Spot clean, hand wash smaller items, wash with a full machine load and choose your clothes wisely. Natural fabrics, like Icebreaker’s woollen outdoor gear, are comfortable and breathable, meaning they don’t get as stinky as synthetic fabrics so they can be worn more often without washing.
Level up: Don’t wear clothes at all! Alternatively, showering with a friend is also a good way to conserve water.
5. Drink Organic Beer
Hop farming relies on a large amount of pesticides, so next time you grab a cold one try to choose one which reduces our reliance on chemicals. Organic farming helps keep soil healthy, saves the bees, and stops chemical runoff into the ocean. Organic farms are generally smaller scale, so choosing organic also means supporting small farmers.
Level up: Eat organic, in-season, local food. Get the rest at a bulk store.
6. Wabi Sabi – Embrace Life With Less
Roughly translated, this Japanese concept is all about embracing simplicity and taking pleasure in the imperfect. In sustainability terms, this means consuming less, repairing what you have, enjoying experiences and not stuff, decluttering, choosing quality over quantity, forgoing fashion in favour of comfort, using what you already own and pausing to reflect on just how amazing this planet is.
7. Track Your Trash
The amount of food wasted every year would easily feed the billion hungry people on our planet, but instead it’s ending up in landfill (and releasing climate-warming methane gas). Nearly 4 million tonnes of edible food is thrown out annually in Australia. Watch what you’re throwing away each week and tweak your shopping list accordingly. Also, write a shopping list – don’t shop hungry and plan your meals, both proven ways to reduce waste.