Your eight week plan of simple steps to sustainability

If you’re struggling with the paralysis of options for taking the leap into a more sustainable lifestyle, print this page out, says EMILY WESTBROOKS, and stick it to your fridge. This is your blueprint to start making small changes that matter today.

WEEK 1
Get a reusable coffee cup that suits your lifestyle. Commit to washing it every night so that it’s ready for the morning.
Our recommendation Stojo or KeepCup – both are barista size, which helps when you want to ensure your flat white is just right. The Stojo suits commuters, as it folds flat for toting on a train or bus.

WEEK 2
Get a reusable water bottle – the less plastic, the better.
Our recommendation Order a stainless steel bottle from Reuzi in a vibrant colour that will remind you to fill it up before grabbing another one-use plastic bottle from the shops.

WEEK 3
Finished a bottle of shampoo lately? Buy a shampoo bar instead of another plastic bottle. Three Hill Soap founder Zuzana Ilavska reassures us that the learning curve with solid shampoo is short: “You don’t need to be scared of switching from bottled shampoo.” A few swipes over your head should create a rich lather. You might have to try a few to find the right fit, but sure, you’d do the same with the liquid variety that comes in plastic packaging.
Our recommendation Order a bar of solid shampoo for normal hair in amla and sweet marjoram from Three Hills Soap.

WEEK 4
Bring your own container to the butcher or fishmonger and avoid the Styrofoam or plastic single- use containers. Jennie Jacques de Cisneros relays a funny story about her first attempt to bring sustainability to her local butcher: “The first time I went
to the butchers, I was psyching myself up. I’m just going to say, blah blah, practising in the mirror. The woman next to me was looking at me skeptically, but the butcher was like, ‘Sure, yeah’. Then the lady was like, ‘Hey, that’s a great idea!’” Practise in the mirror, bring your motley Tupperware, and muster the bravery to ask the first time. You won’t look back. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’re ready for a more advanced level of sustainable changes.

WEEK 5
Replace kitchen sponges with bamboo scrubbers; sponges are simply not recyclable, and will sit in landfills for decades.

WEEK 6
Invest in an Eco-Egg, a fascinating product that replaces laundry detergent and, for €30, can give you three years’ worth of washing powder.

WEEK 7
Check your pantry and make a meal plan that saves food waste, then order your dry ingredients from Minimal Waste Grocery to save
packaging waste.

WEEK 8
Reward yourself with a new clothing purchase – the sustainable variety – from Irish brand Grown that not only uses organic material for their shirts and sweatshirts but also plants a tree for every purchase.

Read about four dynamic Irish women determined to make a difference and turn the tide on climate change in the June issue of IMAGE Magazine, on sale now.  

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