The zero waste/ tiny house/ ethical vegan movement has been trending for the better parts of the last 3 years. All over social media, we can witness people sharing that they are trying to lessen their negative impact on the environment. Individuals, families and businesses have been taking matters into their own hands without waiting for public policy and legislative coercion to dictate how we treat our planet. It has been a joy for us, as a business that values sustainability, to see this radical change and we wanted to chime in on 5 ways to be a conscious consumer.
The sad truth is that as a planet our environment is severely polluted. Environmental issues like global warming are in fact existence-threatening for small islands like Grenada. Although it is not readily visible around our beautiful island, the effects are being felt by spaces like our reefs which, though still plentiful, are nowhere near their original glory.
How then can you adopt a more sustainable lifestyle? Many have heard of the catchphrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. This has become the mantra for our resort’s Green Team which is responsible for:
- Keeping the resort’s operations as sustainable as possible by influencing anything from the way we build our rooms or power our operations to how we purchase supplies for the resort.
- Educating staff and guests on ways that they can live more sustainably
One of the ways we can live more sustainably is by the way we act as consumers.
Here are our top 5 sustainable consumer hacks
1. Shop local
Every time you purchase something, consider the journey it had to make to get to you. If there were several plain, train and truck rides that were involved consider the carbon emissions from all that transport time- you are actually buying into that. That being said, for some things, there is no alternative- for instance pasta in the Caribbean! However, if there is a viable local alternative for any product that you regularly consume you may want to consider going that route.
2. Bring your own bags to the supermarket
We are not breaking new ground with this tip, but it is worth mentioning again. Our local experience in Grenada is that we get tons of plastic bags whenever we shop. Luckily February 2019 marks the national ban on importing more plastic shopping bags. It does not help that many vegetables are already packaged in a styrofoam tray and covered in plastic cling film at supermarkets. We love the fact that in countries like Germany and the UK plastic bags are no longer used to bag groceries at checkout. We encourage you to plan ahead, stuff a few canvas bags into our handbag or your car and use them whenever you shop. With time it will become second nature to refuse the plastic bags.
3. Bring your own cup to the cafe
Are you a regular tea or coffee drinker? Do you frequent cafes and take your order to go? There are so many cute cups and canisters available now that you can take with you and ask to be filled at your favourite cafe. This way you eliminate a disposable cup from your day to day life and those can genuinely add up. Some places will even give you a discount if you bring your own mug, for instance, House of Chocolate at the St. George’s University Campus at on Young Street in St.George’s gives you a discount whenever you bring your own container for anything you purchase to eat. With this practice, you save money and the environment! (we know that was cheesy).
4. Buy things in no packaging or reusable packaging
The ideal thing to do would be to go to a store where you can fill your own container of whatever you wanted to buy. These places exist here and there in more developed countries but not here in Grenada. The best we can do is to shop at the market square or street side produce stalls where most produce is not pre-packaged and refuse plastic shopping bags that are offered. In instances where you can opt for the packaging that is reusable- for example, tomato sauce in a jar instead of a can that should be the preferred choice. Once you are finished using your jar of tomato sauce, it can be reused around the house to store something. If there is no option for reusable packaging think about what would break down most efficiently in the environment- paper over plastic every time!
5. Support businesses with a sustainable business model
Some businesses do some of the thinking for us as consumers by keeping their operations as low waste as possible. They use solar power, package sustainably, source ethically and give back to the community. This sometimes means that because this business is not cutting corners to maximise their profit margin that their products may be more expensive- but the cost on the environment is minimal. Organic farmers and agro producers like the Grenada Chocolate Company, Crayfish Bay Organic Estate and Belmont Estate come to mind, and their chocolates are absolutely delicious.
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