How to Reduce your Environmental Impact: Tips for a More Sustainable Lifestyle

Did you know that since 2020, Australian household waste has increased by 20%?

A lot of this is due to our new reliance and preference for shopping online. Yes, some of this was made essential through the pandemic when online shopping skyrocketed. However, as we ease back into normal life, it's worth considering the ‘hidden cost’ of shopping online compared to shopping in person at your local store.

This is just one of many examples when it comes to reducing waste and your environmental footprint. There are lots of other ways we can make small changes that have a huge difference. Oftentimes, it's when we choose the more ‘convenient option’ that the waste starts to stack up against us. That doesn't mean that eco-friendly options are less convenient, they generally just require a little more thought.

For example, think about getting a takeaway coffee from your local cafe. If you do that everyday, that's a whole lot of coffee cups in landfill. If you purchase a keep cup and use that everyday, you’re saving the environment all those disposable cups that your coffee would come in otherwise. Taking your own cup isn't hard, it just requires you to get into the habit. 

Today, we humans produce 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year.  That's nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. 

Often we think that recycling is doing our part in reducing waste, and while it is, it really isnt all that significant when you find out that only 9% percent of all plastic waste ever made has been recycled.  About 12% has been incinerated, while the rest - 79% - has accumulated in landfill or the natural environment. 

If you were to survey the amount of rubbish you accumulate in a week or even a month, you would likely be shocked, especially at how little of it is being recycled or disposed of in a sustainable way. Supermarkets, fast food chains and conscience stores are laden with plastic and waste and it is hard to escape packaging in these types of retail outlets.

However, shopping at a small, independently owned store or a bulk food store offers you infinite more ways to reduce your plastic consumption. 

At Organika we love being able to allow you to bring your own containers and refill these from the bulk food area. If you don’t bring your own, that’s fine too, you can use the paper bags that we have available. 

We also encourage you to bring along your own reusable shopping bags when you shop, or we have plenty of large paper bags or recycled boxes that you can use to carry your goods home with you. 

As an organic and natural store, many of the companies we work with and the products we stock are also mindful about plastic waste and the environment. You may notice as you browse the shelves that many of the products we stock offer better options when it comes to packaging and give helpful tips on how to recycle their packaging when done. 

Climate change is set to be the defining event of this century. So doing what we can do to promote and celebrate a minimal waste lifestyle is key.
So, how can you have less environmental impact?

Here’s an easy tip- think about how your grandparents used to shop. 

Shop Local 

Support your local small businesses in your community. Local shops, like us at Organika, contribute to communities by creating identity. They get involved in local matters. And they invest in the community through donations to local schools and charities. Plus, they create jobs for locals too. Shopping from people you know and people who are passionate about community makes a real difference as opposed to buying from large, faceless corporations that don't have the health of you or the planet at heart. 

Shop small

Buy what you need and no more. Why buy 1 kilo of flour for a recipe only to have 750 grams of it go to the bin 6 months later? Bulk food stores let you buy exactly the amount you need. Furthermore, buying in bulk allows you to try new things. Buy a small amount of a new product before you invest in a larger quantity so you can make sure you like it and will use it. Shopping small also means that your food is likely to be fresher as you just get what you need week to week. 

Buy Australian

Two generations ago, the world economy didn't exist at a household level like it does today.  Imported items back then were  luxuries and most of what your grandparents bought was local.  Items that are locally sourced have traveled much less distances and therefore have less environmental impact. They are often fresher and therefore tastier than imported options. 

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

It's all about plastic and packaging.  

  • Refuse to buy products that are packaged that don't need to be. Think of individually wrapped fruit for example.
  • Reduce waste by choosing the better option. This means if the item needs to be packaged for you to get it home, pick the product with the least packaging. A box of pasta over a brand that's wrapped in plastic for example.
  • Reuse means reusing packaging you already have so you don't have to throw it away.  Use jars and containers you have at home to refill in bulk food stores. If you have something that does come in a plastic bag, wash it out and re-use it. 
  • Recycle anywhere you can. You can obviously recycle your paper and glass in your bins at home, but you can also recycle your soft plastics at your local supermarket too. Or take your e-waste and building waste (like paint) to your local council recycling plant so they can make the most of any valuable materials before disposing of what's useless.
In store, we have plenty of ways to support you on your eco-friendly journey:
  • Buy in bulk from our range of bulk products
  • Use compostable bags when buying produce (where needed)
  • We have a great range of eco-friendly alternatives to plastic when it comes to everything from cleaning utensils to toilet paper to picnic wares to femine hygiene. Come and explore!
  • Take your shopping home in a sturdy cardboard box that can be recycled at home
  • Buy a keep cup from the cafe for your morning coffees
  • Purchase freshly made bread in paper without plastic wrapping
  • Buy some honeybee wraps to avoid using plastic clingwrap
  • Opt for companies that are making a stand for plastic-free packaging
These are little steps that every one of us can do to improve our impact on the environment. Try making small changes where you can and you’ll quickly notice how easy and how rewarding it is too. If you want to know where to start, come by the store and take a look around and our bulk food and our products available. We’re always happy to chat to you if you have any questions too.