Living more sustainably doesn’t have to be a huge deal. There are many ways to lean into this lifestyle that take a side step rather than a big leap. I’ve been doing my best to follow these 10 suggestions over the last few months and ease into a more sustainable lifestyle. As much as we hope big corporations will improve their practices and move to eco-friendly and sustainable systems, taking a stand for your own personal carbon footprint gives a sense of empowerment over a sometimes overwhelming problem.
Here’s 10 Ways to Live More Sustainably.
1. Line dry the washing.
Dryers in the US consume 60 billion kilowatt-hours of energy per year; to help you get your head around that statistic 1 kilowatt hour is equal to 1000 watts sustained for 1 hour.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden (and it doesn’t need to be big) string up a washing line and give the tumble dryer a rest. If space for a washing line is not feasible try putting the dryer on for less time and then finish drying them on a clothes rack. If that’s not feasible look into purchasing the most efficient, energy saving machine you can find, click HERE for info.
2. Take your own grocery bags to the supermarket.
It’s just a question of remembering to take them into the store with you! How many times have you stood at the checkout only to remember you’ve left the bags in the car. Perhaps if they’re more on the fun side it will be easier to remember to take them with you. When our local supermarket started charging for plastic bags it was a great motivator to bring my own. The Zero Waste Store has plenty of great bag options, including a fabulous Farmers Market Kit!
I recently went a step further and purchased these reusable produce bags after reading Bea Johnson’s blog Zero Waste Home. They’re used for produce and bulk items in the supermarket (as well as storage) and have the tate weight label attached so the checkout clerk can weigh them correctly. They’re really nicely made with an efficient drawstring to keep everything nicely enclosed.
3. Take your own bags to the Farmer’s Market.
Visiting your local farmers market with your own bags cuts down on the plastic even further, there are no processed package foods to tempt you. Remember the food in every box, package and jar as been “enhanced” or should I say tampered with. Buying and eating food that is not packaged means it’s REAL food, as in pulled from the earth or picked from a bush which is so much better for you and the environment. Local farmers very often use more sustainable practices and grow organic produce cutting out the scary toxins used by many large corporations. For more information on farmers markets click The Farmers Market Coalition.
4. Make your own household cleaners.
There is absolutely no need to have a cleaning cupboard full of toxic cleaners that make you cough or give you a headache every time you use one. The basic ingredients in homemade cleaners are:
- Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap
- Baking Soda
- Citrus zest
- White vinegar
- Essential oils – nice but optional
There are plenty of “recipes” for homemade cleaners on the internet Farmhouse on Boone is one of my favorite resources for them.
5. Cook Whole Food Plant Based meals.
Eating Whole Food Plant Based will not only drastically reduce your carbon footprint, it will benefit your healthy exponentially as well as saving untold misery to many animals. It truly is a win, win, win. If you would like to learn more about embarking on a Whole Food Plant Based diet click HERE. For great WFPB recipes, click HERE.
6. Own your own portable Water Bottle, Coffee Cup and Straw.
There is simply no need to use all the plastic and paper from countless water bottles, coffee cups and straws. Pick a pretty reusable cup, Swell have a great selection. Don’t forget the straw – there are so many glass options available, click HERE to take a look. Not only will you ease the burden on the planet, you’ll ease the burden on your wallet too.
7. Shop at Thrift Stores!
Don’t be put off by this. There is a great movement towards “thrifting” and it’s really fun! So often we impulse buy and end up with items we don’t really need or want. So much better to be aware of what you need and go on a hunt. Reusing and repurposing furniture, household items and clothes is the way to go. Why buy new when something very special is already out there waiting for you at half the price!
8. Plant seeds!
If you have a garden – grow your own food. If you don’t, maybe there is a community garden you could get involved with or an allotment. If you have a patio or windowsill you can absolutely grow herbs and depending on the space available try your hand at some tomatoes, squash and peppers. Homegrown vegetables taste amazing, they’re way cheaper, it’s fun and you reduce your carbon footprint by not buying items that have been trucked across the country or imported from faraway lands.
9. Use a Bamboo Toothbrush.
Did you know a plastic toothbrush takes 400 years to decompose – makes you think doesn’t it. These Bamboo Toothbrushes work just as well and they’re biodegradable. What an easy switch!
10. Use cloth napkins and cleaning clothes instead of paper.
No more paper napkins or paper towels. There’s just no need. Use cotton or linen napkins which you will in all likely hood never have to replace. Yes you need to wash them but it’s not as arduous as it sounds if tossed in with regular wash. As far as cleaning cloths are concerned use eco-friendly biodegradable sponges, microfiber dusters and old tea towels that have seen better days. Using recycled paper products is helpful but using non at all is better for our planet.
Image: The Pale Blue Dot Shop Instagram
I would love to hear your suggestions for living more sustainably so please do leave a comment and let me know:)