Living Zero Waste & Eco- Friendly in a Big City

I live in Glasgow – the biggest city in Scotland and in my opinion one of the most interesting & vibrant. There are so many things to see and do, many of them free. From musesums, to shows and literally any kind of restaurant or cafĂ© you can think of (including many vegan ones) it is the ideal place to base yourself in Scotland. There are even some zero-waste shops here (which I am going to write a post on shortly!) and there is usually always some sort of vegan festival or event happening here. But coming from a suburb in the outskirts of Aberdeen where it seems to be a lot easier to recycle things I’m going to go through some main points here on how we can do better to live zero-waste in bigger cities.

green trash bin on green grass field
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Go out of your way to find zero-waste products

This is definitely easier said than done and I completely acknowledge that, however it’s kind of what comes with going zero-waste and trying to buy more responsibly. It’s just a fact that supermarkets don’t have a huge range of unpackaged food yet so it’s inevitable that going out of your way to do shopping is going to happen.

A quick Google search (or Ecosia if you want to plant trees each time you search!) can lead you to many interesting shops, farmers markets and events where you can buy zero-waste produce. In Glasgow there are loads of farmers markets, mostly on weekends, where you can go and buy in season fruit & veg plus loads of other things. I bet every big city has one so have a browse on the internet to see if you can find anything!

brown and green mountain view photo
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Going out of your way to recycle…

Yep, this is a sad but true fact! Who would of thought it would be sooo difficult to recycle when you live in a city centre? I have lived in 2 flats where recycle bins weren’t even available anywhere near us and would have required a car to take the recycling to the nearest bin. We spent over 2 years not really recycling and felt sooo guilty about it, we even got onto the council a few times but nothing was done. I can’t believe that in one of the busiest cities in the UK that recycling would be so hard. Although the flat I’m in now does accept recycling, they don’t accept glass bottles or jars and there’s no way for us to get those to a recycling bin without a car. So I’ve planned to buy as little glass as possible and reuse any glass I do have, it’ll be challenging but life is all about adapting to new situations!

Making others aware of the options that we have for zero-waste and eco-friendly shopping!

Because I’m really into the environmentally friendly/zero-waste lifestyle I sometimes forget that other people haven’t really been exposed to it. Remember to be kind when you’re reminding someone of how they can live in a way where they’re minimising their impact on the environment. Leading by example is definitely an effective way to do things, when people see you doing new things they often ask questions which can bring up the subject and allow you to educate others on important issues in a friendly way. There is no need to be condescending about things!

Ditch the car if you can!

photography of roadway during dusk
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I decided not to take a car with me to Glasgow… the pollution is already prominent enough that I don’t think it needs another diesel car contributing to it. There’s really no need for a car unless you’re work is in an awkward location or you go away a lot (which I do, but I have friends who can usually take me). If you can’t entirely ditch your car at least try to car share when possible! It’s also fun to take the train and bus to new places as you often get to see a new landscape… aaaaand you don’t have to worry about having a drink when you’re out!

That’s all my tips done for just now, but I’ll probably think of more later! Check out my other sustainability posts such as reducing your carbon footprint & 5 affordable things to know before living a sustainable lifestyle! Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions for other ways to live more eco-friendly or zero waste in the city or if you can help me with my recycling problem!

Ailsa xxx

 

5 Things You Should Know Before Living A Sustainable Lifestyle…

 

“Climate change is the single biggest thing that humans have ever done on this planet. The one thing that needs to be bigger is our movement to stop it.” Bill McKibben

I’ve learnt a lot on my journey to becoming more environmentally aware/conscious… It started from a place of desperation- realising I wasn’t doing enough to help the planet and I wanted to change immediately. I think a lot of people can relate to this, so please let me know in the comments if this is something that sounds familiar to you?

houses under white clouds
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However, 2 years in and some things have come to light which I wish I’d known before starting and I’m going to write them here to hopefully help others who are looking to make drastic changes in life to help both the environment and themselves.

1. Think POSITIVE

This is literally so important, I started off my journey from a place of depression & sadness. This mindset thing was not good, it sort of made me spiral into a black hole of realising there was so much more to be done and that I still wasn’t doing enough. Add that with all of the negative headlines we see in the news regarding “climate crisis” “environmental emergency” etc and you can actually end up feeling really quite helpless and depressed if you’re prone to those sorts of thoughts anyway. It’s taken a few years, a year of travelling and lots of motivational videos on YouTube etc for me to realise this is just not the right way to go about making a fundamental lifestyle change.

You need to go in with a positive mindset, of course there’s always more to be done, but even just starting out is amazing. That first tiny decision you make e.g. buying the organic version of something, choosing a plant based meal over a meat one or anything is SO important and you should be proud of yourself. Think positive and don’t let people tell you you aren’t doing enough, which leads me onto the next point.

2. Stay in your own lane

What I mean by this is that don’t take any notice of what others might say about you. Yes, look to others for inspiration and motivation but remember you’re not where they are on their journey, and they’re not where you are. When I first started out I was constantly comparing myself to others and this just isn’t the way to go about things. Stay on your on path, and whenever you feel yourself drifting away remember why you started in the first place (see point 3 for an expansion on that).

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