No More Excuses! The First Step Towards Sustainability
Updated: May 15
For those of you keeping an eye on my blog and social media, you’ll probably have noticed a slight change! What started off as a pretty-in-pink document of my journey into adulthood has turned into a greener adventure – both figuratively and literally!
Since moving to Milton Keynes, so much has changed in my life. These past two months have been absolutely non-stop as my boyfriend, Dan, and I have started settling into adult-living. We have already taken countless new steps, from starting to pay council tax to learning how to find our way around the myriad of roundabouts that make up the streets of Milton Keynes. As you can probably imagine it is ridiculously stressful, but at the same time it’s also super exciting!
One of the biggest steps we’ve taken so far has to be our first step towards sustainability. Moving into our first ‘proper adult home’ without the constraints we’ve had in the past with shared student accommodation means we are now able to make ALL of our own choices. Our fresh start has given us the perfect opportunity to start living sustainably; there really are no more excuses! In fact, the greatest surprise I have had since starting this journey is just how easy it really is to start making sustainable choices when you’re on a budget. With only one wage coming in at the moment, we’re having to be really careful with how much we spend, but most of the changes we’ve been making have actually saved us money, or, even better, have been completely free!
Up until now I’ve always been hesitant to start making sustainable changes to my daily life as I’ve assumed that it would cost too much, and on a student ‘income’ (if you can really call it that!) it seemed almost impossible. An excuse that, although it seemed reasonable at the time, was just that; an excuse. Sure, I’ve swapped plastic bottles for a reusable one I take everywhere with me, and I now have a responsibly sourced reusable coffee cup that I’ve started taking to coffee shops to use instead of disposable ones, but up until moving they had been the only real investments I’d made towards protecting the planet. But what I didn’t realise was that not all sustainable choices actually had to be an investment!
One of our first steps towards sustainability wasn’t exactly an investment; instead of saving us money in the long run it saved us money there and then. Actually, if I’m being completely honest, we didn’t even really do it with sustainability in mind – not at first anyway! The day Dan and I moved in, we had nothing but duct-taped boxes and various misshapen bags in the apartment, so we began trawling through Gumtree to find some furniture we could pick up that day – neither of us particularly fancied sitting on the floor for any longer than we had to! We managed to find a lovely second-hand brown faux-leather sofa in a matter of minutes, which we picked up from a super helpful guy around the corner not even an hour later. It was only afterwards that I realised that in looking after our bank accounts we had inadvertently made that tiny yet important step towards sustainability. This realisation was a lovely little boost, and since then I’ve started to become more aware of how we can make choices that mean we are doing our bit for the environment, whilst also doing our bit for our wallets.
When shopping second-hand hasn’t been an option, we’ve been actively choosing to buy earth-friendly products, or shopping in ethical shops. Luckily for us, moving to Milton Keynes has been the perfect decision, as it is full of some amazing stores and independent businesses that sell or promote ethical products and sustainable shopping, all at a great price. This has meant that I’ve already been able to start narrowing down what and where I can buy sustainably – not only am I going to be able to look after my bank account and the planet, but I’m also going to be able to support local independent businesses too – it’s a win-win situation! In addition, we’ve also already witnessed Milton Keynes hosting some great eco-friendly events; within our first month of living here we had the wonderful opportunity to check out ‘MK Green Fest’, an entire eco-friendly festival hosted by the Milton Keynes Lush store and held at the beautiful Campbell Park, which introduced us to a multitude of sustainable local businesses and stores. We came across businesses such as the MK Refill Market, an independent zero-waste shopping project funded by OurMK, something Dan and I are definitely going to be checking out soon!
Milton Keynes isn’t the only place that is pushing eco-friendly shopping however, I totally recommend having a look around your local area to see what sustainable shopping is nearby – bonus points if it’s an independent business! Also, don’t be afraid to check out second-hand shopping apps such as Gumtree and Facebook Market, or even going to your local charity shops – you can find some stunning hidden gems that you might not have found in a typical shop!
That first step may seem like the most difficult, but once you take the leap, you’ll find it’s not half as overwhelming, expensive, or difficult as it seems, and the rewarding feeling you get knowing you’re doing your bit for the environment is so worth it! As always, it’s good to remember that it is progress, not perfection, that is the most important thing - even the smallest step in the right direction can make the biggest difference!
It’s only been a couple of months, Dan and I are still settling in, learning how to be independent, and finding our feet. Our journey has only just begun, but we have well and truly left our excuses at the door and taken our first step towards sustainable living – I couldn’t be happier.