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Be better | 10 sustainable alternatives for your morning routine

Be better | 10 sustainable alternatives for your morning routine

There is no silver bullet to the complex issues facing the planet, but your small contribution can go a long way. As we’ve said before: think progress, not perfection. As the circumstances surrounding climate change continue to worsen, it is more important than ever before to start thinking about the future and working together to put pressure on corporations and governments to be better. The best way to do this is to strengthen the movement towards better environmental practises, and boycott those that aren’t making the much-needed changes to their products, packaging and practices. 

While it may not be possible to completely transform your entire household and lifestyle to an eco-friendly one overnight, there are some small changes you can make to some common household items that you may use every day. Or in this case, every morning… 

Rise ’n shine!

7am: Wake up and get down to business

Based on sky-rocketing sales of toilet paper during the global pandemic, it’s safe to say that… everybody uses it. The good news is, there are a whole host of tree-free alternatives to trusty TP that are not only sustainable, but also look, feel and work the exact same way as regular toilet paper. Many of the alternatives on the market today are made with 100% rapidly renewable bamboo, rather than trees. Why rapidly renewable you might ask? Well, unlike trees that can take up to 30 years to grow, bamboo reaches maturity and is ready to be harvested in just 3 – 4 months. Bamboo has a whole host of uses – the image above illustrates just a few! The fastest growing plant on the planet is also an exceptional CO2 absorber and oxygen producer, so it’s a win-win all the way. 

7:10am: Shower hour

This may be a hard sell, but hear us out. Water is a precious resource, and being mindful of how we conserve it doesn’t have to mean the quality of your glorious morning shower is jeopardised. Switching to a low-flow shower head is an inexpensive way to decrease water consumption by at least 50%. New technology uses a mix of smaller apertures and air to create a stronger pressure (yes, stronger pressure) and an even more pleasant shower that cuts down on water usage dramatically. While you’re at it, why not opt for plastic-free shampoo, conditioner and body wash bars? They’re made from natural ingredients, they’re extremely effective, and they can last up to five times longer than their plastic bottle counterparts. 

7:20am: Beautify yourself

Switching up your skin care regime to something more sustainable does not have to be scary for your skin. There are so many wonderful alternatives that don’t include ingredients you can’t pronounce or that look like complex mathematical equations. There are waste-free, organic, cruelty-free, vegan and completely sustainable products on the market that work just as well to ensure your skin is hydrated, healthy and nourished. Some common ingredients you may find include: sunflower oil, green tea, black tea, coffee bean, hemp seed oil, cocoa butter, mango butter, beeswax, rosemary oil extract and vitamin E.

7:25am: Pearly whites

Did you know that over 1 billion toothbrushes end up in landfills every single year in North America alone?! We don’t even want to get into how frightening this statistic is… we’d rather focus on the alternative! Bamboo reigns supreme again here in the form of the eco-friendly and biodegradable toothbrush – just as effective as its evil plastic equivalent, and with the added benefit of being better for the environment and having more antimicrobial properties. Phew.

7:30am: Get dressed

We’ve covered the horrific effects of fast fashion in a previous article, but can’t stress enough just how badly the fashion industry is affecting the planet. We are consuming 400% more clothing than we did just two decades ago, and the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry on earth. The good news is there are many ways in which you can do your bit to boycott this floundering monopoly of devastation. Whether opting for second-hand, or supporting brands that are putting sustainability at the forefront of their business, there is something for everyone. One of our favourites? Sealand – a lifestyle brand that focuses on responsibly made gear that puts the earth first, with all products either made from waste, or ethically sourced materials. 

7:35am: Pick-me-up

Unlike aluminium and plastic single-use coffee pods that can take 200-500 years to degrade in landfill, compostable coffee pods are made out of 100% compostable materials that have been proven to break down in as little as five weeks. The pods are completely biodegradable and can be disposed of in your garden waste or composting solution. It’s really that simple. 

7:40am: The most important meal of the day

A healthy breakfast is the cornerstone to starting any day on the right foot. Switching to sustainable alternatives when it comes to food may seem easy, but even the most ardent eco-warriors can slip up. Sustainability is a broad term, which not only focuses on environmental factors, it also focuses on the way in which animals are raised and slaughtered, and also how workers are paid and treated. Educate yourself. Find fresh food markets that support local farmers, and ask questions. Knowing where your food comes from is key. Cutting out meat from the equation is always a good start. Opt instead for a bowl of oats, add some of your favourite fruits, and some organic yoghurt and honey and you have a delicious healthy meal. In a rush? Make a smoothie.

7:55am: Clean up after yourself

Nobody likes a messy kitchen. Take 5 minutes to quickly wipe up after yourself and wash the dishes. Regular dishwashing liquid, or dishwasher tablets, have huge amounts of chemicals, including bleach, which are toxic for you and for the environment. Luckily, there are heaps of alternatives on the market that use plant-based ingredients, are biodegradable, and come in recyclable packaging. No mess, no fuss. 

8:00am: One cup wonder 

If your day is going to require you to grab another coffee to go when you leave, buy yourself a reusable coffee cup and carry it with you. The same applies with water bottles. It is estimated that the world uses around 1 million single-use water bottles every minute, and around 90% of those end up in landfills. This is not ok. Buying yourself a cool stainless steel bottle you enjoy using is an investment that benefits the planet, and in turn, benefits you. 

8:00am: Get to work! 

Transportation is one of the most significant contributors to global warming and air pollution. The cars that we depend on every single day emit all kinds of gases, toxins, carbon monoxide and smog that pollute the lungs of both the planet, and ourselves. If you can, opt instead to wake up a little earlier and walk or cycle to work. If you live far away, sharing a ride or hopping on the bus or train is a more sustainable alternative. 

Making these small changes to your everyday morning routine will not only give you peace of mind that you have made a contribution to the world, but it will encourage you to continue making these changes for your own health. The ripple effect of this will be substantial, as you begin to habituate sustainability into your life. 

We have to point something out though… It is important to remember that sustainability is a privilege.

The alternatives mentioned above will never be able to compete with their cheaper, synthetic counterparts because, quite simply, demand drives down the cost of production. If the popularity of sustainable, eco-friendly products goes up, the costs will come down, making them far more accessible to the general public. That is why it is important for those who can make the changes to do so. It is important for those who can be a voice for others to be that voice. And it is important for those who can be better, to be better.

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