Living Sustainably in the island community of Abaco
Updated: Feb 1
If you've had the opportunity to live on any island in The Bahamas, you know the perks that comes with it. Slow lifestyle, beautiful views, tight-knit communities and that good "down home" cookin'. It's likely that at some point in your life, you've experienced the beauty of the beach, the mangroves or a coral reef and been fishing, crabbing or conchin'. The dependency on your environment for food, hobbies, and overall peace is the norm. It's truly a blessing to be able to call an island your home. But ... as an environmental warrior, you might meet some challenges that come with living sustainably. There may not be as many readily available products at your feet, and it takes a little extra creativity to live a life that is supportive of sustainability. Being sustainable basically means we are meeting our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. So, living in a way that would not be detrimental for the next generation of Bahamians - protecting our resources, limiting our carbon footprint and more.
Being sustainable means we are meeting our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Begin your journey on the road to sustainability within your own home!
While we may think that living sustainably can be costly, there are so many ways we can get creative and use what we already have in our own homes. Before you throw something away, think about whether it might have another use. Reducing our waste, and repurposing and reusing items are some of the greatest ways we can live a sustainable life. Here are some tips:
Have a stained t-shirt or towel that you were thinking of tossing out? Cut it up to use as a rag around the house.
Washing plastic ziplock bags. Reusing these bags can go a long way! Hanging them to dry on the cup holder of your drying rack is a good way to dry them. There is also a special ziplock bag drying rack on Amazon that you can check out listed below.
Wash out any plastic or glass container (milk jugs, pickle jars, coffee creamer bottles etc) and repurpose it as a snack storage container, a toy holder, a watering can, and more.
There are hundreds of ways you can reuse, repurpose and reduce your waste at little to no cost. When we follow these practices, it is helpful for the environment as it requires less raw materials, less shipping (which means consuming less fossil fuels) and more. Take a look at some other ways to reuse/repurpose everyday home items here before you throw something else away!
Local vendors / companies in Abaco with reusable products:
Hope Town Zero Waste (Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Abaco) - Choose from a variety of reusable products including reusable ziplock bags, beeswax food wraps, reusable paper towels, reusable diapers, reusable makeup remover pads and more! These are unique products not found in many places locally. If you're a fan of takeout, check out their reusable takeout containers that you can take with you to avoid plastic packaging.
Maxwell's - Reusable straws, bags, water bottles, compostable plates and more! Check out these products in their home section.
Abaco Groceries - Insulated grocery bags, biodegradable paper products, metal straws, reusable k-cups for your Keurig and more.
Support local farmers to purchase your fruits, vegetables and sometimes eggs!
Most local farmers don't use plastic packaging which also helps eliminate waste.
Abaco Big Bird - Locally grown vegetables, fruits and chicken products. Open Monday-Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm on Earnest Dean Highway (heading south, on the right hand side before the turn to Little Harbour/Cherokee).
Driftwood Food Company - Hydroponic vegetable farm that sells fresh produce, free-range eggs, guava products and native plants. Located in South Abaco on Earnest Dean Highway. "Like" their Facebook page to see when they are harvesting to sell products (usually a South Abaco stand on Wednesdays and a Marsh Harbour stand on Thursdays at the Paint Place).
Gedeon's Farm Abaco - Fresh produce like goat peppers, eggplants, lima beans and more! Sales are based on harvesting times. Contact them at (242) 554-8968.
While there are many vendors and businesses that we can support now to help with sustainable living, there are other ways we can get creative too!
What can we do in our personal lives?
Invest in environmentally friendly cleaning products, as simple as buying reusable Swiffer pads instead of disposable ones helps to limit our waste. These are available in Maxwell's and sometimes Abaco Groceries.
Creating your own cleaning solution for your kitchen, bathroom, floors etc can be simple! Spray container bottles can be found at Maxwell's in the home section (or you can reuse an old windex spray bottle, just make sure to rinse it first). Check out some ideas for cleaning solutions here - these ingredients can be found in Maxwell's and you probably have most of them already in your cupboard!
Always have a reusable straw, utensil kit and cup / water bottle with you when you leave your house. Keep reusable bags in your car for when you go grocery shopping. You can use any bag or box that you already own for grocery shopping (e.g. backpack, canvas tote, rubbermaid container) it doesn't have to be a special "reusable shopping bag". All of these items can be found in Maxwell's or in your own home!
Invest in glass storage containers for your home. Choosing glass containers over plastic ones is a safer food option and better for the environment. You can re-heat food in glass containers without having to worry about toxins being released from the plastic containers. Plus, they're easy to clean, and leave no stains! These can be found in Maxwell's and Abaco Groceries.
Keep an eye out for yard sales, or buy second-hand items from local shops like Finder's Keepers. Second-hand items mean a smaller carbon footprint as the products don't have to be newly made.
Wash plastic ziplock bags and reuse them! Check out our Amazon list below for handy drying racks.
Buy in bulk! Abaco Groceries is a great option to buy your items in bulk. This usually means less packaging being used over time.
Love Amazon? Check out these must-have products for your home for a sustainable lifestyle.*
Kitchen countertop compost bin - tired of your garbage smelling so quickly from all the vegetable and fruit rinds? Take on the sustainable habit of composting - great for gardening too!
Bamboo utensil set - always have it with you when you leave your house!
Biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes - where does that plastic toothbrush end up once you throw it out? Maybe a landfill...eventually could be the ocean. Worry less about where it goes with biodegradable toothbrushes!
Reusable produce bags - ditch the plastic produce bags in the foodstore and bring these with you instead!
Love sparkling water? Ditch the cans and invest in a SodaStream - make your own right at home!
Reusable K-cups for Keurig - If you can't find them in Abaco Groceries, order them online! Choose from a variety of colors (and be sure it's compatible with the model of Keurig you have).
Reusable sanitary items - Ladies, go green with these products!
This is just a minor list of some suggestions from us. We hope to expand this list as we learn more from you guys! Have more suggestions?! Let us know in the comments below!