Climate change is becoming an ever-present issue in our lives, and while political/industry leaders play a big role in this, there are ways you and I can decrease our ecological footprint too and lead more sustainable lives. Sustainability is definitely becoming popular and “trendy”, and being environmentally friendly isn’t as hard as you think!
It’s all about changing your habits bit by bit, and being a bit more mindful in your everyday life. There are so many ways to be more eco-friendly and sustainable – without breaking the bank. And you don’t need to do too much of a lifestyle shift either!
1. Take shorter showers
You’ve probably already seen this one. We all have it in the back of our minds while we’re standing there letting the water run over us (as we have our deep shower thoughts).
But did you know the average American’s shower is around 8 minutes long, which amounts to over SEVENTEEN gallons of water (according to Home Water Works)? Ahem. Mine are currently longer than that. So. We have improvement to do here!!
Try half that, and you’re already saving so much water. Another way of saving water when showering is to shave your legs out of the shower, or turn the water off in between washing your hair. It all counts!
2. Start being sustainable by living a simpler life
Okay, this one kind of seems broad at first and kind of like no–duh, but essentially it means decluttering. Now this isn’t to say you need to get rid of all your “things” and become a complete minimalist. However, industries like fast fashion are extremely harmful to the environment and our world, and by simply buying LESS products, we contribute less to the waste from those industries.
Instead of buying large amounts of cheap clothing, appliances etc. that very quickly break, invest in really good quality pieces!
Do you really need another cheap white t-shirt? Why not invest in a beautiful organic cotton one that will last you 3 times as long, plus looks nicer, is sustainably made, and is better quality! This isn’t to say that you can’t get good deals either. Remember, all stores have sales at some point in the year, so go in during those times!
3. Take public transportation or ride a bike
Cars emit CO2 into the atmosphere, so more cars on the road = more CO2 . It really isn’t a sustainable method of transportation anymore. With all the resources at our fingertips these days, taking public transport is easier than ever.
If catching a bus isn’t your thing, get out in nature and ride your bike! And if this isn’t an option either, plan a carpool. There are tons of rideshare apps that allow you to share a ride with strangers, and therefore lower the amount of cars on the road! Even if you do this during the warm months only, as long as you’re actively pursuing other transportation options when you can, you’re making an impact!
Not only is this option environmentally friendly, but it also ends up so much cheaper for you.
Of course, one of the best and most sustainable methods of transportation is walking. If it takes 10 minutes or so to walk somewhere, consider doing that! It also gets your daily dose of exercise in.
4. Buy your fruit and veg from a Farmer’s Market
This is a great way to support local farmers! Farmers also use less plastic to package their fruit and veg – win win win! Plus their products are probably organic, so they make you feel good when you eat them, and they taste really good too.
Plus who doesn’t want to go to a cute farmer’s market on the weekend with your little mesh produce bags and basket?
5. Bring your own utensils
We all know about bringing your own keep cup, but why not take it a step further and bring your own reusable containers, cutlery, and straws? That way, you can buy takeaway food without all the single use packaging and cutlery!
Alternatively, if you are buying takeout, if the packaging is the reusable kind (like the plastic microwaveable containers from Boston Pizza and such), then you can save those containers and reuse them later on! This saves you money too since you can use those instead of buying separate containers.
Or even better – if you’re in no rush, slow down and just have your coffee and breakfast in the cafe. We can all afford to slow down and enjoy our food more, so just spare an extra half hour of your time and eat in!
6. Use less plastic in the kitchen
Probably the easiest and most common eco-friendly swap is to bring your own bags to the grocery store. It’s super easy, it makes carrying your groceries much easier, and a lot of places give you a discount for bringing your own bags!
Instead of buying your fruit and veg wrapped in plastic, put them in produce bags! Produce bags also double as nut milk bags if you like to make your own plant milks.
Buy more whole foods as opposed to packaged, processed foods. Not only will the planet love you for it, but your body will as well.
Use beeswax wraps or containers in place of plastic wrap! Beeswax wraps are just as effective, or just put your food in an airtight container to keep it fresh for later.
7. Use less plastic in the bathroom
Use less plastic in your bathroom by minimising your hair and skin care routine, and using plastic free products.
Let’s admit it, most of us have that cupboard in our bathroom filled with products that we bought and have never used, or used once. You don’t need hundreds of products for your skin and hair, and it certainly isn’t very sustainable if your products just sit there. Try to cut down and give the products you don’t use to family or friends, and then commit to not buying more.
You can get amazing shampoo and conditioner bars that work just like the packaged stuff you’re used to. Bonus – they last longer, are more natural, and are cheaper!
If you do buy packaged things, try to find products that are in biodegradable or recycled packaging, or buy in bulk.
Get a compost bin for your fruit and veg scraps, and paper. Even though these things break down, composting them is a much better alternative than sending them to landfill. There are mini compost bins you can get if you’re tight on space. Composting is also amazingggg for your soil if you’re into gardening. Your vegetables and flowers, and even the earthworms love your composted soil more and grow even better because of the extra nutrients.
If you live in an apartment building or somewhere you can’t have a compost bin, a lot of community gardens have composting programs that you can join in with.
The less waste going to the landfill, the better!
9. Conserve energy and heat
Instead of having the lights on all day, open your blinds and let the natural light in. If you have to have the lights on, only turn on the ones in the room you’re in – lights on in empty rooms wastes so much energy, and it’s really as simple as turning off the light to be more sustainable.
Heaters and air conditioners chew up massive amounts of energy. Before turning the heat on, put on some layers and blankets, and cool off at the beach on hot days.
Also look to more sustainable sources of energy to power your consumption choices. Whether it’s solar powered calculators, or supporting companies that run off green energy, this can make an impact too!
10. Plant trees, or support brands that plant trees when you make a purchase
If just heading into your backyard and planting a tree isn’t feasible for you, check out local community events and see if there’s any tree-planting happening – and if not, start an event yourself!
There’s also tons of brands that will plant a tree when you make a purchase, such as Woodchuck USA, tentree, Trinity Oaks, and Pacific Shaving Company. If you don’t need anything, there’s heaps of organisations that you can donate to such as One Tree Planted!
Being sustainable isn’t hard.
These tips will not only lighten your footprint on Mother Earth, but also lighten the load on your bank account in the long run! Helping our earth in any way you possibly can is also helping us as humans to have a cleaner and healthier planet. Just think of the beauty in nature: the blue sky, clear rivers, pretty ravines, and chirping birds. Even the smallest actions will help make your living more sustainable!