A fresh new year - 2020
A new year, a new start, new aspirations, new challenges, new lessons to learn, new changes to make.
As owner of The Unwrapped Co, I would firstly like to thank everybody who journeyed with us in 2019. From a soft launch at the beginning of the year, our first meager sale, expanding our offering to include pantry foods, to standing at markets, becoming stockists for The Nest Space and finally ending the year with some panic stops at Consol to purchase more jars…the year definitely exceeded expectations! We also welcomed our newest little team member, Joel, into the world in May. Yes, I’m still trying to figure out how balancing life with two ‘babies’ works, but for now, I’ll just place all the blame for being less ambitious squarely on his little shoulders :-)
What makes me hopeful for 2020 is an increasing awareness of the plastic crisis and a positive response towards it. It makes me immensely excited every time I see someone new to the zero-waste concept jump onboard! Consciousness about the environment, climate change, the effect of consumerism and our wastefulness is on a sharp rise thanks to these issues becoming hot topics in the media. That is amazing!
At The Unwrapped Co our goal for 2020 remains to educate people about zero-waste living and to encourage and help people along their own zero-waste journey. We are not the eco-police - never mind that - the honest truth is that we were probably the biggest fail in carbon footprint reduction this past year! If you take a look at the four lifestyle choices that most reduce your carbon footprint (link) we got a full 0% right. We are simply a family of five that care about our planet and are therefore attempting to live a more frugal and waste free existence. And let me tell you, that road is bumpy.
For those of you with new years resolutions for 2020, there’s a myriad of ways to become more eco-friendly. Being in this space, I want a finger in every pie, but a lesson I’ve learnt (thanks to my family) is that one person has limited time and resources. My advice would be to choose wisely as to how you can make a change in 2020, and do it well.
Some eco-friendly suggestions for 2020:
Buy more waste-free
Although infinitely far from becoming mainstream, shopping zero-waste in 2020 is definitely more achievable than say, 2 years ago, with retailers offering more unpackaged items and the rise of several zero waste stores. Become more conscious of the amount of plastic you buy and discover alternatives to it, plus remember to take along produce bags for fruit, vegetables and bread.
Plant a tree
Research has shown that planting trees is one of the best and cheapest ways of taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere (link). Sure, the article received its fair amount of criticism, but the fact remains that trees are the best absorbers of carbon the Earth has to offer, and sadly, we have seen a devastating amount of forests destroyed by fire in the past few months. Plant an indigenous tree, or fruit tree, more spekboom, nurture it and let it grow!
Raise awareness or become involved
I’m not saying you have to join every strike there is (go for it though, if you want to!) but consider every conversation you have when you shop, talk to the managers of retail outlets, write letters to corporates, sign petitions to government, assist in spruit/river/beach cleanups, assist at a charity organisation. Collectively, these conversations and actions should be a driver for change.
Buy second-hand/clothing swops/make do
Fast fashion isn’t exactly known to care much about the environment or good labour ethics. Some people are getting pretty creative to avoid buying new by upcycling the clothes they have, pop-up clothing swops and buying second hand online. Also consider buying locally and ethically made clothing, with more natural materials.
Eat more plant-based
I have noted that many zero-wasters are vegan, and it is small wonder, as both lifestyles attempt to reduce an individual’s carbon footprint. This month is Veganuary, so if you ever thought of giving it a bash, now would be a good time. There’s so many local vegans on social media that help you along the way - if you’re a horrid cook like me, their tips and recipes are vital to get your kids to lick their plates clean.
Let the year begin!