What does sustainable living actually look like on a daily basis?
We all have a different version, and this is mine.
I started my journey of low-waste living a few years ago. After having been vegan for a while I wanted to take it a step further by cutting down my waste contribution, which in turn, would help to reduce my footprint on the planet. I’ve made quite a few changes to the way I do things and the choices I make, which have started to feel normal now – it can feel strange at first, and something you may need to consciously think about, but it quickly becomes routine once the habit sets in.
I thought I’d share a typical “day in the life” to explain some of the low-waste/zero-waste/sustainable choices I make every day to help reduce my impact on the planet. This is what sustainable living looks like for me.
A Day in My Life
Breakfast always look different each day for me. Sometimes I’ll make eggs – I’ve only recently started having eggs again – which I source from a local farm where you can actually see how the chickens are cared for. I still eat vegan, just with eggs added into the mix. Other days I’ll make a keto bircher, or smashed avo on toast, a smoothie, or sometimes I even skip breakfast altogether as a way to fast. It really depends on what I feel like.
I often make my own plant milk, as I find it’s way creamier and I like how I can make it plastic-free by storing it in a glass jar in my fridge. If you want to go a step further, you can source the nuts or seeds from your local bulk foods store, bring your own container to collect the food items in, and from there the entire process is plastic-free! My favourite plant milk at the moment is macadamia. It’s high in omega-3 fats, lower carb, and is less impactful on the planet – due to monoculture, almond farming has been having its own impact on ecosystems and bee populations.
When it comes to washing dishes, I’ve been researching into making my own dishwashing soaps, and I’m in the process of trying out a few to see which ones work best. The same goes with laundry detergents and bathroom cleaners in our household… The homemade versions are still a work in progress at the moment.
My bathroom routine is pretty simple. Almost all of my personal care products, from skincare to hair care, are made by me. I make my own body soap, natural toothpaste (I use a bamboo toothbrush that I can compost once it’s reached the end of its life), and shampoo, but I’ve since transitioned over to a shampoo bar now that’s plastic-free and made from all-natural ingredients.
I use a bamboo hair brush to comb my hair, and have been collecting old/used hair ties that I find lying around on the ground to use in my own hair, rather than buy new ones (before you say “ew”, I do clean them before using). I’ve made my own hair ties too, so I’m now set for life when it comes to hair ties.
I use a reusable menstrual cup whenever I’m on my period, and recently I’ve started using reusable period underwear as well (they’re so comfy!).
For skin care, I follow the Oil-Cleansing Method, where I use natural oils like hazelnut and olive oil to cleanse my skin.
Dry brushing has become a regular part of my routine to help promote lymphatic flow and detoxification.
For ear-cleaning, I use a reusable metal utensil called a Mimikaki stick to clean my ears, rather than using disposable cotton buds.
For moisturising, I use a homemade body butter, or if I’m in a rush, plain coconut oil works great.
When it comes to deodorant, I purchase a pre-made natural one from a local company called Paudha Healing, who source their ingredients from the Blue Mountains. I reuse the containers and cream jars to store my homemade natural products in. I have made my own natural deodorant in the past, but as I sweat a lot, I find this pre-made one lasts much longer than my homemade version.
This must sound like a lot of effort to make all these things, but to me it’s something I really enjoy doing, so the little extra effort is worth it for me. They’re really easy and simple recipes, and the quantities last a long time so I don’t need to make them often, just every once in a while.
Who Gives a Crap is the toilet paper I use. They’re an Australian Company that donate 50% of their profits towards helping build toilets, and so far they’ve been able to raise $8.3 million to help provide proper sanitation for the 2 billion people in need.
Their toilet paper is either made from 100% recycled post-consumer waste paper – primarily sourced from schools that are local to where they produce; using things like BPA-free text books, work books, office paper, newspaper, etc. They don’t use any chlorine, inks, dyes or weird perfumes in their toilet paper, and also offer “tree-free” bamboo rolls as an eco-friendly alternative.
If I get takeaway, or bring lunch to work, I have a stainless steel container that I bring my food in.
I keep a coconut cutlery set, a stainless steel water bottle, and a reusable coffee cup in my bag at home, ready to take out with me at a moment’s notice.
I’m growing an organic veggie garden out the back of our house, where currently we have kale, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, aloe vera, oregano, thyme, mint, lavender, parsley, sage, viola and more growing in our garden.
I’m experimenting with seed saving at the moment; collecting seeds from a few of my plants like the broccoli, tomatoes and herbs to plant in our garden for the following season.
I also collect used coffee grounds to pop in my compost as a rich source of nitrogen for plants; a nutrient necessary to produce healthy green growth and strong stems.
Minimising Plastic Use
Whenever I do purchase products containing plastic, I try and recycle as much of it as possible in our soft plastics recycling. We have an allocated bag that we collect all our soft plastics in. When it’s full, we take it to our local REDcycle drop-off point, where they turn them into products like benches, decking, signage, etc. Plastics must be washed and dried before they can be recycled.
Any paper I use, I try and recycle as much of it as possible. I’ve heard that it’s a better use of resources to recycle paper rather than compost it, so now that’s what I do.
When it comes to my wardrobe, I try to be as minimalistic as possible. I only own clothes that I wear on a regular basis, any other clothing items are donated to our local charity.
If I’m in need of clothes, I only purchase ethically- and sustainably-made items made from materials like recycled plastics, bamboo, or hemp. I also look on the Company’s website to see what environmental/sustainable practices they have in place. Wolven Threads is one of the clothing companies I occasionally buy from, and what I really love about them is:
- Their clothing is made from recycled materials
- They’re carbon neutral – partnering with the organisation, Climate Neutral
- They use a natural fibre known as beechwood pulp to make their clothing which is twice as soft as cotton, requires no toxic pesticides, no clear-cut farm land to grow, and uses substantially less water than cotton.
Health & Nutrition
I try to only drink water from our tap that’s been filtered through our water jug – although I’m in the process of transitioning over to using charcoal sticks (they can be composted when finished and last up to 6 months).
I buy loose leaf tea, and have a reusable tea bag (made with organic cotton) that I take with me when out and about.
Dinner is always different. I have lots of veggies (using as much produce from our garden as possible), nuts, seeds, lentils, and sometimes eggs.
We never have to worry about leftovers going to waste, as there’s six of us in our family, so any food in the fridge is gone within a few days (if not the next day). In the case of food scraps, we have a compost out the back of our house where we compost almost all of our food scraps. I use this compost as organic fertiliser for our garden.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.
What are some low-waste, sustainable, holistic health practices that you’ve added into your daily life? How did you find transitioning to more of a sustainable lifestyle? Share in the comments below.
Lots of love,