In today’s day and age, it has become increasingly unavoidable to acknowledge that the world is changing rapidly due to human influence. Natural-unrenewable resources that we are dependent on are being depleted at an unprecedented rate. It is important that we seek out alternatives and cut back on our wasteful spending of resources. Sustainable living is an excellent way for you to do your part in slowing down wasteful consumption and there isn’t a better time to start than right now.
Here are a few ways to start living a more sustainable lifestyle and an explanation of what it actually is.
What Is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable living is a philosophy that encourages the prioritizing of the use of natural and renewable resources instead of creating excess waste and depleting environmental resources so that future generations may still be able to enjoy them.
Although there has been a call for increased sustainable practices for years, sustainability has only become quite a buzzword relatively recently. Today we see this concept encouraged and endorsed by global organizations, influencers, celebrities, artisans, bloggers, and environmental activists alike. It is understood as more than just a buzzword and fleeting concept and seen as the philosophy it is to greatly benefit the larger public.
What Can You Do?
Sustainable living is about creating less waste overall as well as less harmful waste. This means using fewer resources, eliminating harmful chemicals from your home, simplifying your lifestyle, increasing personal skills/knowledge around sustainability, all of which can even save you money.
Create less waste
When you buy less and make more of your own products there is far less packaging involved. Companies tend to go overboard with attractive and eye-catching “protective” packaging. Use what you have until it can’t be used anymore, recycle what you can, and purchase used products where sanitarily possible. Also, consider sustainable plant-based alternatives to your current meal prep options. A plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily mean vegan. It aims to limit and/or eliminate animal products in everyday cooking and embraces produce that is locally farmed, organic, and non-GMO. Fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, etc. are all ingredients that make up the majority of the food that one should consume each day. You could plant your own vegetable garden and reuse old food to fertilize the soil, thus reducing your food waste and your packaging waste.
Use fewer resources
If your environmental concern is saving trees, using less energy, and saving water are sustainable habits that will directly, as well as inadvertently, support these causes and many others.
Eliminate harmful chemicals in your home
When you begin your “green” journey or are considering making your own products at home, you reduce the harmful chemicals that will be present in things you and your family use. Chemical products require very specific disposal and are often just dumped into unsustainable landfills, or our oceans.
Simplify your lifestyle
Sustainability is about seeing the bigger picture. Ask yourself questions such as do you need a big house, or the latest fast fashion trends, or even if your kids need the latest toys? These questions quickly come into perspective when your goal is sustainability and you realize that you don’t need excessive amounts of consumer goods to feel good.
Increasing personal skills/knowledge
Living sustainably is something that you can always improve and learn more about. Your personal skills and knowledge base grow each time you take steps in sustainability and aid in bettering your green journey.
You can’t do everything at once, so start small and simple and work your way up to bigger things. Challenge yourself to tackle one of these at a time, making them a comfortable habit.
1. Bring Your Own Water Bottle (Preferably Glass)
The easiest way to create less waste and to save money is to stop buying plastic bottled water. Get into the habit of treating your water bottle like your wallet. Make sure it goes everywhere you do.
2. Bring your own shopping bags
The beauty of reusable grocery bags is that you can take them anywhere and the likelihood of them breaking is very slim. It is such a small investment and will last several years.
3. Reusable cloths instead of paper towel
Paper towel is incredibly wasteful. Unnecessary packaging drives the price up… Only for all of it to be thrown away. Switch to reusable cloths such as microfiber towels, cotton dishrags, or even old cut-up t-shirts.
4. Bring your own to-go containers and cutlery
Take your own container for leftovers while dining out. Have a set of reusable cutlery on hand so that you do not have to use disposable. This creates less waste and you are able to control the material your food is placed into.
5. Make your own cleaners
Large companies have deceived us into believing that we need a separate cleaner for every job in the house. You don’t need to fill your home with cupboards full of harsh chemical cleaners when making your own cleaners can be so incredibly simple and, dare I say, fun. Natural ingredients are typically quite inexpensive and can be used for a multitude of purposes around the house. Family members with allergies, asthma, or other health conditions can benefit from chemical-free homemade cleaning products as they will not cause a flare-up of these allergies and conditions.
6. Grow your own food
The more food you grow, the more you can cook at home, which significantly cuts down on grocery bills, increasing your sustainability, and cultivating a wonderful sense of accomplishment at harvest time. Growing your own food doesn’t mean you have to become a little farm. You can grow a few herbs on your windowsill and discover the convenience of picking your own, fresh ingredients. Start small and work your way up to a bigger produce garden.
7. Become a one-car family
With many now working from home, you do not need multiple cars to commute. You save on gas, eliminate operational costs for another vehicle, and learning to plan ahead and run all errands during one trip, rather than making several and wasting time and money. Consider biking, walking, and public transport as more sustainable travel habits.
So, in a nutshell, a sustainable lifestyle is one that practices eco-friendly principles to reduce the use of nonrenewable resources. Sustainability is not only about using less, but also replacing what you use with sustainable alternatives. Choose to make the smallest carbon footprint you can and live a greener life.