Eco-Friendly Living: Reducing Waste

The average Australian produces nearly 650kg of waste per year. In order to reduce this amount, we need to think about specific ways to combat mindless wastage. I started to cut down on unnecessary plastic around a year ago; I realised that my laziness and ignorance was excruciatingly damaging to the environment.

So, who generates the most waste?

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Not surprisingly, highly developed nations account for 44% of the Earth’s waste. The United States, China, Brazil, Japan and Germany are the leading trash generators.

Thankfully, Australia isn’t in trouble. The U.S, however, produced about 228 million tonnes of waste in 2006; a figure that climbed to 254 tons by 2013. China (with a population around four times larger than that of the U.S.) is close behind, with 190 million tonnes of waste per year.

It comes down to the awareness of the individual and the small changes that can make the biggest difference. Here are some tips that you can implement into your daily life:

Number One – Reduce your daily waste.

One of the easiest ways to reduce waste is to use reusable bagswater bottles and coffee cups. This step requires little to no effort.

  • Reusable Bags: Woolworths is currently giving out 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags per year. Keeping reusable bags in the back of your car can ultimately reduce a massive amount of waste in the form of plastic bags. These reusable produce bags are also super convenient for fruits and veggies.
  • Reusable Drink Bottles: Worldwide, nearly 3 million tonnes of plastic are used to bottle water every year. Simply buying a stainless steel drink bottle allows you to refill and wash your bottle regularly – think of all the plastic bottles you’re saving from going to landfill!
  • Reusable Coffee Cups: Believe it or not, paper coffee cups can’t be recycled properly. 500 billion disposable coffee cups are produced globally each year. Australia uses 1 billion of these, and 90% end up in landfill. These KeepCups are the best way to reduce the waste from your morning coffee.
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@sustainabilityoverselfies – Onya Reusable Produce Bags

Number Two – Avoid buying for convenience.

According to Food Wise, Australians discard up to TWENTY PERCENT of the food they purchase. Crazy, right? On a slightly larger scale, Australians waste FOUR MILLION tonnes of food per year.

  • Cooking at home: Our food waste is rising at a rapid rate. One of the best ways to reduce waste is by sourcing whole, local ingredients to make your daily meals. Wherever possible, buy in large quantities to avoid excess waste.
  • Avoiding single-use items: Disposable utensils, individually wrapped items and single-serve containers are simply crafted for a quick fix or convenience. Take five extra minutes in the morning to pre-pack your lunch – you’ll save money in the long run.

Number Three – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

We’ve all heard it. Sometimes we forget, and that’s okay.

  • Reduce: Avoid unnecessary purchases! Buy only what you need.
  • Reuse: My pantry has changed drastically since I started reusing glass jars. Start with pasta, grains, nuts etc. – over time you’ll put anything and everything into cute jars. Trust me.
  • Recycle: The big one – and by far the easiest to follow. Recycling is an important factor in conserving natural resources and greatly contributes towards improving the environment.  Many materials can be recycled, such as paper, plastic, metal and glass. Did you know that around 66 percent of energy can be saved by producing plastic products from recycled plastics instead of virgin materials? Think twice before you throw out that tub of yoghurt.

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The reality is that we, as individuals, truly have the power to make a change. Through being mindful of what we consume/purchase, each one of us can play a part in saving our planet.

Thanks for reading,

Liv x

Putting Stress Into Perspective.

After a super stressful end to the uni year, It’s been wonderful to relax and ease into the summer break.

[STRESS] – Now, I must admit, I’m not one to preach on this topic. At least a few times a year, I’ll have a complete breakdown due to various obstacles in life. Luckily, most of the stress in my life has been work/study related. During my first year of uni, I’ve only had a couple major breakdowns. These have occurred at the end of both semesters (due to a mountain of unfinished work, oops).

For me, in year 11 and 12, these breakdowns occurred quite often. At the beginning of year 11, transitioning from a public high school to an all-girls private school was definitely hard. On top of this, I had to ease myself into boarding life, which was a lot to deal with at once.

Despite this, I still got comments from teachers and classmates commenting on my ‘chilled’ demeanour. This was mainly because I decided to enjoy year 12, not despise it. I also tried to put the year into perspective; I realised that after a year of gruelling work, it would be over. Ultimately, I ended up graduating with an ATAR in the mid-nineties (which I was super happy with).

Sometimes, we need to put things into perspective. As my mum always says, ‘It’s not the end of the world’. It never is.

So, here are some ways to de-stress and put things into perspective:

1. Breathe.

The first step is gaining control over your breathing. The GIF below is a simple guide to breathing deeply, plus it’s calming to look at. When we’re stressed, hormones like cortisol flood our systems, producing the “fight or flight response” in which our heart rate goes up, we breathe more heavily (requiring more oxygen) and our blood vessels constrict. A couple minutes of deep breathing automatically puts you back in control of your mind and body. It also helps to us to focus on the present, not the worries of the future.

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More about breathing here.

2. Create Positive Intentions.

How many times have you woken up in the morning and absolutely dreaded the day ahead? Probably too many times to count. The key is to create a positive mindset before your day actually starts. Lay in bed and repeat the mantra: “Today, I will have a wonderful, happy and productive day”. By doing this, it reinforces the kind of day you want to have. Too often, we start the day with negativity.

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More tips to start your day here.

After I get myself into a positive mindset, I like to plan my day. This leads me on to my next tip.

3. Create Lists.

Something that helps me to de-stress is a visual list of things I need to do + a schedule. Remember: make the list achievable. In regards to school or uni work, it’s pointless to write ‘start and finish International Relations essay’. The key? Break the list down into smaller components. For example:

  1. 10am: Choose essay question and roughly plan each paragraph.
  2. 11am: Research information for each paragraph.
  3. 1pm: Narrow down paragraph ideas – what exactly will I write about?
  4. 2pm: Write concise introduction (with the help of your essay plan).

etc. etc. More about list making here.

Creating a daily schedule helps you to feel in control of your day (without drowning in endless tasks).

4. Go Outside.

This next tip is to put yourself and your problems into a universal perspective. Sometimes when we spend too much time in our own head, our problems seem immensely bigger than they really are. Go for a run. Go to the beach. Simply go outside and look at the stars, the moon; hear the sound of traffic, the birds, and remember that you are not alone.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” – Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994.

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This is not to say that our problems are irrelevant or unimportant. It’s a reminder that life will go on, the world will keep on turning, and you will always make it out the other side.

5.1. Let It Out.

THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP: TALK TO SOMEONE. The most horrible feeling in the world is the twisty, uncomfortable, nervous, gut-wrenching feeling in the stomach when something is wrong. You can’t sleep. You can’t enjoy things. It lingers there until you let it out and talk to someone. I can’t count how many times I’ve rang my mum in a flurry of stress and anxiety. I always hang up feeling settled and balanced (thanks mum).

Remember: a problem shared is a problem halved. When you talk about your source of stress, it feels like a weight has been physically lifted from your shoulders.

5.2. Let It Out (Through Positivity).

However, aim to be a source of positive energy > negative energy. There is a difference between ‘venting’ and ‘complaining’. If you are focussed on the negatives in your life more than the positives, it means that your mindset needs to change.

Try a gratitude journal! An abundance of research has shown the links between gratitude and happiness. Gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

Read more about gratitude journals here.

Remember, you are in the process of becoming the best version of yourself. You are human. It’s okay to cry and let it all out. What’s most important is how you pick yourself up again.

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Thanks for reading,

Liv x

Essential Oils: Nature’s Multitasker.

Today’s blog post is extra special as I’m having a chat with my sister, Charlotte!

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For a while now, she’s been raving about essential oils. She uses them for just about everything! Every time I walk into her house it smells absolutely lovely. Not in a chemical-y way, but in a natural, earthy way. I, myself, sometimes recoil from the smell of strong household cleaners and bleach. Charlotte uses the Young Living Thieves Essential Oil blend (a mixture of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, rosemary and eucalyptus) as a natural alternative to aggressive, shop-bought household cleaners.

How long have you been using essential oils and why did you decide to try them?

I’ve been using essential oils for about 6 months! I wanted to give them a try because of many testimonies of the benefits and power of oils, so I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I also sought them out as natural support for issues relating to sleep, stress and anxiety.

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How can they be used?

After around 6 months of using them, I can definitely say they are a strong part of my everyday life. Good quality essential oils are so versatile. They can be used aromatically (inhaling), topically on different parts of the skin, either neat (straight from the bottle) or diluted with carrier oil, ingested for health support and used in different recipes (depending on the brand. I use Young Living because of their brand integrity, quality and because they are safe to ingest, as per instructions on the bottle.)

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What oils do you use, and for what purpose?

A few of the oils I use everyday are:

Thieves cleaner and oil (a mixture of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, rosemary and eucalyptus) – this is the only cleaner I use around the WHOLE house now and it smells like Christmas, not a hospital! It’s anti bacterial and free from harsh chemicals found in store-bought cleaners.

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Lavender and cedarwood in the diffuser for sleep support, and their calming effect. Also used in the bath.

Peppermint for headache relief and energy support.

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Citrus oils such as grapefruit, lemon, bergamot and orange are amazing to use to feel uplifted, and when diffused throughout the home, they totally override any nasty smells in the house.

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I also use oils to make my own linen sprays, cleaners, air fresheners, body sprays and roll ons. They smell absolutely incredible! When I spray them I’m not worried about breathing them in – because I know I’ll be taking on all the benefits of the oils without putting myself in danger of breathing in chemicals. I’m so glad I started using essential oils, they’re now a part of my everyday life.

They make me see that it’s possible to use natural products and see great results.

Here is a massive list of essential oils and their properties/health benefits!

Thanks for reading,

Liv x