I’ll be the first one to admit that I haven’t been particularly concerned with the challenges related to the climate, environment, and our planet in the past, but it’s something I”m slowly becoming more aware of. There is a Norwegian saying that goes as follows “Not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something” and I really believe there is something to it. Require everyone to become vegan overnight is not only unattainable, but also unrealistic. If you want to make some changes, start small. The first thing you have to do, is to change your mindset – do what you want and can, not what others ask of you. You’ll never be able to please everyone anyway.
I have personally made some small changes in my life to approach this problem and it’s feel good!
“Going green” is easier than you think and taking care of our planet is not only a responsibility, but a privilege. If you need inspiration to get on track, here are some easy ways to help the environment;
♻️ Walk or ride a bike when possible
If you can walk or ride instead on driving a car, do it. It will not only make a change in terms of the environment, but you’ll also get some fresh air and your daily steps in as well – it’s a win-win for everyone!
♻️ Invest in an electric car
If you depend on a car and drive a lot, I would suggest investing in an electric car.
We invested in a BMW i3 a couple of years ago, which is one of the best investments we’ve made. It doesn’t only make a change in terms of climate, but also saves us money in the long run, respite have a second car loan.. No more gas money or toll road payments!
♻️ Bring reusable shopping bags to the store
When grocery shopping, bag it yourself! Before you head to the store next time, make sure to bring a reusable shopping bag with you (you can buy them almost everywhere). This is one of the best efforts to reduce plastic. A major shout-out to the Norwegian grocery store chain Coop for their initiative to reduce the use of plastic with 25 % by 2025 – they sell reusable shopping bags to it’s customer for 10,- NOK ($1), and every time you bring them to the store, they will refund 1,- NOK ($.10).
♻️ Pick up garbage outside
“Plogging” is a concept combining picking up trash outside while walking/jogging.
Next time you go for a walk outside, bring a bag to pick up trash outside. I’ve made a habit of doing this whenever I go for a walk and I have never had a problem with filling up a bag full of garbage, unfortunately. So people, stop throwing your trash on the ground – not cool!
♻️ Understand expiration dates
Buying products with short expiration dates will definitely save you money in the long run. An important note, is that the “best before date” doesn’t necessarily means “bad after”. However, there are some exceptions where you should be more careful such as meat (products), chicken, and certain dairy products.
♻️ Bring a reusable water bottle
I can’t remember the last time I bought a plastic water bottle/coffee cup.
I invested in a solid reusable water bottle a long time ago and I use it every day, whether it’s at work, going to the gym, it’s filled on my nightstand before I go to bed, or if I’m in my car. The tap water in Norway is so fresh, cold and clean, so there’s no reason to buy bottled water. I also bought a take-away coffee cup that I try to bring with me whenever I’m buying coffee. I always buy iced latte that usually comes in plastic cup, so this is a great way to cut back on plastic.
♻️ Recycle your trash
Sort and recycle your trash is not hard at all, so there is no reason not to do it.
In Norway our recycling and waste system is pretty easy; every home has different colored bins for your waste and it’s divided into bio waste, paper waste, plastic waste, glass & metal waste, and a separate bin for the remaining waste.
Hazardous and electrical waste can be returned for free to recycling stations or shops that sell electrical products. Bottles & cans can be returned in most supermarkets and you can choose if you want to get money back, or donate the money to charity.
♻️ Buy second-hand instead of new when possible
Buying second-hand has never been more popular! While it might be tempting to always buy the newest and latest, a pre-owned version will often offer the same good value (depending on what you buy of course). I will avoid buying certain things used for safety’s sake (e.g. car seats, bike helmets, personal items, etc), but I have found some great items at a flea market for a super cheap cost. Read more about my best flea market finds here. Buying second-hand will not only save you money, but you do something for the environment as well!
♻️ Grow your own food when possible
And we’re not talking about a vegetable garden her (even though you can do that if you have the space and will to put in the effort), but start small. If you have the space for potted plants, a mini herb garden with fresh herbs such as chives, rosemary, thyme, basil and mint are good options. Try growing your own strawberries in a pot or hanging basket, as strawberries are one of the best fruits to grow in a container. You can also plant a fruit tree/bush. While it might take some time to see the final produce, but how nice would it be to pick apples, pears, plums, raspberries, and redcurrant from you own garden?!
♻️ Focus on minimizing food waste
Meal prep, learning to love leftovers, and cooking big portions are all great ways to minimize food waste. Before grocery shopping for the upcoming week, take a look in you fridge to keep track of the ingredients you have. If you have vegetables that are borderline going bad, why not make a stir fry? Or grilled vegetables? Maybe a chicken salad? If apples or bananas are going bad, make a delicious apple cake or a delicious banana bread with chocolate chunks. The options are many!
Few people wants to eat the same thing for dinner five days in a row, but throwing away reminders of last night’s meal just to avoid boredom isn’t the most eco-friendly option. Instead, try getting creative in the kitchen and use your leftovers to cook a new meal.
Have you made any changes in your left to help the environment? If not, it’s time to step up the game! ♻️👏🏼🙂