My Journey Towards a More Sustainable Lifestyle
Since working at Helistrat I have most definitely changed the way I think about things. Subconsciously, I would hear conversations around me about the route that waste takes and the impact that poor, or uninformed decisions can have on the environment. And with that, I naturally started to think more about my lifestyle choices and the effect they were having.
I recently completed an online quiz on WWF http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/carbon/footprint which assesses your carbon footprint. As a non-driver, I assumed I would come out quite low. The test reviewed areas such as food, home life and travel and concluded with a percentage that showed if everyone were to live the same lifestyle as me how many earths it would require to survive. 100% shows maximum capacity for one single planet and my result was 134%. Coupled with the media coverage on plastic pollution, my mind and attitude became focused towards wanting to do more. Despite being just one individual, I am still able to positively change what I am doing and influence change in others. I noticed a major barrier for people I spoke to was the difference that one individual could make. For me I think if a million people could change something the impact would be phenomenal.
With my new attitude came better decision making. I started to consciously think about my carbon footprint and how I could reduce it. Online shopping was a big one for me. I didn’t realise how much I ordered from countries like China that required carbon hungry logistics. I also started to buy more locally and second hand rather than defaulting to buy new all the time. When I assessed my home environment I realised just how many disposable, single use items I used. The bathroom was particularly bad, so I tried out a few alternatives such as shampoo bars to replace the regularly bought bottles and an electric toothbrush in place of a manual one with a shorter life. I must admit some of the alternatives are simply gimmicks and aren’t a suitable replacement. The kitchen is another area where a lot of plastic is consumed, particularly in the form of sandwich bags for wrapping food items for the freezer. I am still on the search for a more sustainable replacement but for me I consider the reduction in food waste from freezing leftovers and taking food into work a reasonable balance for now.
Outside of my home environment I joined Helistrat’s Sustainability Champion Team. This forum provides a great place for likeminded employees to discuss ideas and opportunities for our company and the people working within it to become more environmentally aware and conscious. The shift in culture over the past few months since the team started has been amazing. The amount of single use bottles and coffee cups have dropped dramatically, and we are now on track to becoming single use plastic free. This has been predominantly down to small initiatives plus an attitude change that negatively associates the use of single use items in our environment.
The next step for me is continuing my search for better ways to do things as more products become available on the market. I also now see myself as an ambassador for sustainability and plan to educate the next generation and raise awareness of people around me. It is important for future generations to be taught how to make better, more sustainable, decisions and I think this alone could be very powerful.
I hope as you read this you feel personally inspired to make a change in your life, no matter how small, and help me and others to drive positive change that protects the planet that so kindly provides a safe place for us to live.