05 Mar simple ways to live more sustainablyReading Time: 4 minutes
sustainability is often one of the overwhelming thoughts in the backs of our minds. it is the nagging knowledge that our world is going in a dangerous direction that there is something that needs to be done. when I start thinking in this state of overwhelm the conclusion I come to is that all we can do is change our individual actions, and this impact is crucially important, however small.
rather than thinking about all the problems humanity has created for itself my hope is that this post inspires you to focus on the positive changes you can make to your lifestyle.
use less plastic
plastic bottles, plastic bags, plastic packaging, there’s a lot of unnecessary plastic that can be cut out of our lives. sometimes it will take a little more effort or cost a little more to avoid plastic, but once the positive habits are in place it’s not very difficult, the trick is to make plastic avoidance a part of your lifestyle.
always bring a bag
just about anything you need to buy; groceries, beauty products, art supplies, household items, they all tend to come in plastic bags. keeping a reusable bag with you is a great way to eliminate this waste of resources. I love my cloth bag from humans are not cool (bit of a negative name, but actually a really positive brand. they are very environmentally conscious and make sure that their employees are well treated and fairly paid. each bag is even labeled with the name and photo of the individual who made it by hand.
use reusable mesh bags for fruits and vegetables. you can order them online from Net Zero Co. and numerous other sources. once you’re in the habit of bringing them with you you will never need grocery store plastic again.
there are a lot of simple alternatives we can choose to waste less, a lot of the time these changes are simple habits of using products that are reusable.
-always bring your own water bottle, plastic water bottles are completely unnecessary and drinking water in plastic isn’t very healthy either.
-bring a tupperware with for leftovers when you eat out. takes a little bit of time to get in the habit, but it will save a lot of unnecessary to-go containers.
-skip the throw away togo mugs. sit down in a cafe and take a moment to enjoy your coffee. if you’re short on time find somewhere that will let you use your own togo mug, if not make your coffee at home (it’s cheaper too).
recycle what you can
recycling is so important to making sure our waste doesn’t just end up underground. it takes some extra effort and is admittedly confusing but with a little eductaion, it’s not too hard.
I’m not sure where in the world you are but I’m from the US and there is generally a recycle center that you can go to in every town and you can also pay a service fee for your recycle to be collected with your trash every week. now I just moved to barcelona and there are recycling bins on just about every block which is even better.
simple recycle seperation
- e waste
-put your organic waste in compostable bags or hard plastic buckets. that way it can be composted without mixing in plastic.
-things that can’t be recycled:
styrofoam, plastic utensils, hot and cold beverage cups, soft plastic (wrappers and bags) and straws.
-mixed is going to be everything left over after the other categories that can be recycled, and it won’t actually be that much!
there’s a few different options for composting your organic waste and it doesn’t have to be intimidating or difficult.
if you live somewhere with a lot of nature chances are there is a farmer or gardener who would love to use your organic waste. just reach out to people! put it on facebook, call some farms, let your friends know and see what happens. and even if you’re in a city there are still probably gardens that would love to take your compost. here’s an easy home composting guide if you want to learn to make your own compost and if you really feel you don’t have the time just make sure you’re using compostable bags instead of plastic.
supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs is a wonderful way to help your money make an impact. small scale stores are more energy-efficient, as there are no large transportation costs that are involved with large businesses and far less wasteful packaging. handmade goods are also just better, tend to last longer and are made with love.
repurposing old clothes is a lot more sustainable and a great way to cut out fast fashion. spend some time exploring thrift stores, it’s cheap and always interesting. older clothing is generally more quality than fast fashion and a lot more affordable. setting up a clothing exchange with your friends is another great way to reuse old clothes. it’s free and it keeps you from buying unnecessary things that will eventually be thrown away.
eat a plant-based diet
there aren’t rules to sustainability but any steps in the right direction are positive, and consuming fewer animal products is a lot better for our environment. a more sustainable diet looks different for everyone, maybe for you, it means buying your animal products from a small scale farm or cutting back your consumption to only weekends. focus on the positive aspects, look for plant-based foods that can substitute your old favorites. there are so many wonderful vegan recipes out there it just takes a little creativity. if you’re looking for some ideas check out my pinterest board of plant-based recipes. it is also important to learn about plant-based nutrition, but there are great resources out there and the positive part is that eating plant-based is healthier, more humane and more environmentally sustainable.