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5 Excellent Easy Eco Decision Tips

5 Excellent Easy Eco Decision Tips

Navigating the maze of eco tips and purchase options doesn't have to do your head in

Here are 5 brilliant tips (even if I do say so myself) on how to be more eco in a flash and not have to think about it at all. 

THE FIRST THING TO KNOW ABOUT BEING MORE ECO IS TO JUST GO FOR IT. DON'T OVER THINK IT. MAKING NO DECISION IS FAR WORSE THAN MAKING A DECISION. IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE, LEARN FROM IT &  TRY AGAIN NEXT TIME.

The best lazy man, no fuss option to make the biggest eco difference in your life quickly is to go for the lowest common denominator. And frankly, 9 times out of 10, you'll be as close to the best decision as the most researched person in the greenest shirt on your block or at work.

The Least Worst Option

So, you've vowed to give up single use plastic bags, are online looking for a Reusable Bag and find yourself paralysed at the keyboard because suddenly the alternatives look as bad as the thing you are giving up.

  • Cotton bags uses a crap load of water, including the organic ones
  • Bamboo fabric uses a crap load of chemicals
  • Synthetic bags don't break down
  • Recycled bags made of ex plastic bottles use a crap load of chemicals

Here's the thing. They are all bad-ish, but none of the options are worse than single use plastic bags. Every plastic bag is a problem. You are choosing to use only one or a few. It's simple maths. 

So choose bags you love because they make you feel good and don't worry about their comparative credentials. 



Know that you are never accepting another single use plastic bag ever again and that puts you miles ahead, not matter which type you choose.

Just a word - your reusable bag replaces any single use bag. Now you have it, there's no reason to accept any kind of single use bag again - plastic, paper, seaweed, recycled, upcycled, whale saving, orphanage building - none of them. They all use unnecessary resources. (If you want to save a whale, donate.)

Use your reusable when you buy your next Gucci dress and just smile sweetly if the shop attendant sniffs when you say, "No tissue paper please and can you put the dress in my bag."  Your new dress will get home just fine.


The Least Said Option

How do you know if a body care product or a garment or food is ethically made? 

Multi national companies are spending millions on what motivates consumers to buy their products and they know that increasingly people are buying consumer goods because the brand is committed to social and/or environmental values. 

And that is the only clue you need. Product sellers know that buyers are motivated by social and environmental values so if a seller has good environmental credentials, believe me, they will make it very clear to you.

They will tell you on the label, they will give you the back story on the website and certifications. If they are genuine, they'll make sure you know it. (These are some of the many traders on ekko.world selling genuine eco fashion. IndecisiveUncle May, Keegan. Check out how they tell their stories.) 

SO IF THERE IS NO STORY, NO CERTIFICATION, NO LINKS, DON'T BUY IT. CHANCES ARE IT'S ENVIRONMENTALLY OR SOCIALLY UNFRIENDLY. IT'S THAT SIMPLE. 

And don't get sucked in by how friendly the packaging or contents look or feel either. It doesn't matter how beautiful, brown bag, green print, hand written - if the eco story isn't clearly spelt out, assume it's not eco. (When a brand works appearances to deceive you instead of actions to please you, you know they don't give a toss about anyone. Especially you. Don't support them.)


Buy Local Food

Buying local is an easy eco option for a heap of reasons, but the highlights are:

  • Low transport = limited emissions
  • Locally grown is more likely to be fresher. This is firstly because a local producer is likely to drop off and secondly because it is unlikely to have not been stored.
  • If something hasn't been stored, transported or handled several times, it has less requirement to be sanitised & preserved. (Read, less chemicals / altered state).
  • Local produce usually means you are buying in season, so it is the most nutritious. 


Choose anything that isn't plastic

Whenever you have a choice between plastic anything and any alternative, choose the alternative. 

Buy Organic

It's pretty hard to go past this one and frankly, it's the default position for even the most seasoned eco-sters. If a product is organic, it's ingredients have to be organic and that means no chemicals, pesticides - and usually the maker actually cares about how the product was created.  


If it's super cheap, don't buy it

Anyone who can routinely sell shirts, skirts, pants, shoes for less than the price of a dozen apples (sometimes just one apple) is using cheap labour somewhere. The only way something gets to be that cheap is by cutting employment or housing costs. So unless they have a bloody good, straight forward explanation, don't buy it. 

Only buy the amount  you need

Don't be upsold - if it's one item for $5 and two items for $7, don't buy the two. I know it's very tempting, but unless you really need it or have someone to give that 2nd item to, it's really going to cost you $7 for one item and a little piece of the planet is going to be sitting in the corner of your cupboard or trashed in the future. 

GOING ECO IS LIKE GOING TO AA. EVERY DAY IS ABOUT GETTING OUT OF BED AND SAYING, "TODAY I AM GOING TO DO ONE ECO THING." AS LONG AS YOUR HEART IS IN THE RIGHT PLACE, AND YOU HAVE A GOAL, YOU WILL GET WHEREVER YOU WANT TO GO. THE OCCASIONAL MISSTEP ISN'T FAILURE, IT'S LEARNING HOW TO BE BETTER TOMORROW.

​So tuck yourself into the most eco bed and linen you can find, happy in the knowledge that whatever happened today, tomorrow is a new day and there will be many more opportunities to be healthier and save your own little part of the planet. 

Last Word

Don't sweat it. Just do something and make the best decision you can. Every small decision informs the next. Some little things matter a lot (like cutting out as much plastic as you can or at least diligently recycling) and somethings don't matter (like the fact there are more than 5 tips here....)



​Images: Unsplash - Nick Fewings & Katy Belcher | Trader Images  IndecisiveUncle MayKeeganJasper & Eve
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Simone N
Member

I LOVE this article! Today I asked for my coffee in a real cup - while the default was takeaway cups (doubled up??) even for people sitting down. I tried to find somewhere in the Qantas terminal to fill my water bottle but they only had a bubbler. I asked on the flight if they could fill my water bottle - I was offered a plastic bottle of water to fill my bottle with or I could wait until she could get to the kitchen area - I waited. It's not at all common place yet and you get that little wide eyed look momentarily but then I've always enjoyed being a little big (or a lot) maverick - and I love the idea that people over hear me and it gets them thinking. The guy behind me in the coffee line asked for a cup too ;-) Thursday, 30 August 2018

Science Notes
There is a good reason for a lazy man's solution set to going eco. It's because habits are processed by your brain much faster than something you have to think about so habits are hard to change.
The only sure fire way to change a habit is to replace is with a new one. And you do that by taking just one these suggested eco changes and making it into a new habit:
  1. Imagine yourself in the position you will be when you are going to need to be the new habit.
  2. Devise your new routine for what you are going to do.
  3. Give yourself a reward everytime you get it right (no more than 9 times for the reward!)
Don't stress about set backs. Try again tomorrow. You'll get there. 
Related Tip

There are a zillion cool ways to wrap gifts that doesn't involve wasting paper, but here's one a brilliant way of wrapping your gifts is to wrap them in a reusable bag like an Envirosax. Anything pretty and flexible.