7 Easy Ways To Be More Sustainable
One of today’s major concerns is the impact we as humans are having on the environment, animals, and even the air we breathe- not to mention on ourselves.
We seem to have unintentionally created lifestyles that cause pollution, put toxic chemicals out into the world (and into our bodies), and use up natural resources faster than they are being renewed.
The good news is that we’re starting to figure this out. At least, I hope so. There’s been something of an awakening as more and more people realize we need to live more sustainable lifestyles.
I, for one, am all for living more sustainably. I love animals, nature, and breathing, so I think it makes sense to live in a way that protects all those things. And as I’ve made lifestyle changes, I’ve noticed that sustainable living is better for me, too.
But the real question for a lot of people is: how do I actually make the right kind of changes? How can I change my lifestyle to live in a more sustainable way?
It feels overwhelming to listen to all the things we should be doing and all the things we shouldn’t be doing and try to make it work in real life.
However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and stressful, and you don’t have to change everything overnight. Here are seven simple ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle today.
#1- Buy 5 Everyday Items Locally
We live now in a world of online shopping where boxes (mostly from Amazon) magically show up on the doorstep. I actually really like online shopping because I’ve always hated going to the store.
I do like that Amazon, in particular, offers a lot of products from small businesses. But all the packaging and shipping involved is not really a good thing for sustainability.
Try coming up with 5 everyday items that you could buy from a local business owner instead of online or from a big chain store.
Maybe that means finding a local person who makes soap or candles. Or maybe you can buy produce during the summer from a local farmer’s market.
Cutting down on the miles your products travel to get to you is a simple way to live a more sustainable and mindful lifestyle. And you get to support other people in your community, too.
#2- Buy A Reusable Water Bottle
Do you know how many plastic water bottles are thrown out each day and end up in landfills or the ocean? I know it’s a lot. According to a UK site called Surfers Against Sewage, about 8 million pieces of plastic pollution end up in our oceans every day. (1) That’s crazy!
A few years ago, I decided to buy a reusable water bottle and take it with me whenever I go somewhere. It was actually pretty easy to get into a new routine of refilling my bottle instead of buying disposable ones. Places like airports now even have water bottle filling stations.
When looking for a reusable water bottle, I really think it’s better to avoid plastic altogether. The two other main options are glass or stainless steel.
Klean Kanteen is a popular brand that sells water bottles made of stainless steel. They are lighter weight than glass bottles, and you can get one that’s insulated. I like glass better, and went with a Lifefactory water bottle.
#3- Switch Out 5 Processed Foods For Real Food
This one is not just about the environment. Eating real food is more sustainable for our health as well as the world around us. And we want to support farmers more than we support factories that process food.
The easiest way to make this change is to start switching out one thing at a time. You don’t have to change your whole diet overnight (unless you want to). Pick one processed food to start with and exchange it for a whole food or something less processed with real ingredients.
Then, once you’ve made that transition, go on to the next.
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#4- Grow Some Plants
Plants are wonderful. They support human life, animal life, and even microscopic life. Pollinators need certain flowering plants to survive (and we need pollinators to survive). Trees give us oxygen, and some plants can even help to remove toxins from the environment.
You can grow herbs, fruit, or vegetables to provide some of your own food during the growing season. Or grow some flowers to help out pollinators and other beneficial insects.
Herbs and container gardens are good options if you have limited space. And if you don’t exactly have a green thumb, buy plants that are native to your area. Native plants are usually the most immune to neglect and the most beneficial for local pollinators.
Growing plants is one of the best ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle- for yourself and the environment.
By now, we’ve all heard a lot about recycling. But according to Ocean Crusaders, only 1 in 5 plastic water bottles are actually recycled. (2) The rest still go to landfills or end up in the ocean.
Get to know your local recycling program, which kind of plastics they take, and how you can recycle other materials like glass, metal, and paper.
Recycling is a fairly easy way to start living more sustainably. It takes just a few extra seconds or minutes to do it (unless you live in the middle of nowhere without a recycling program) and helps out the planet.
#6- Start Composting
Composting is basically a way to recycle plants and certain kinds of food waste that would otherwise just go to a landfill.
If you are a gardener, composting is a great way to get extra fertilizer and nutrients for your garden. If you aren’t a gardener, a compost pile is a great place to send all those plants that died because you forgot to water them.
We keep a small bucket under the sink where we put fruit & vegetable waste, tea bags, coffee grounds, and so on. Every few days the bucket gets dumped in the compost pile, which is a fenced-in area in our backyard.
Some cities (like Seattle) even have composting programs now. It’s worth looking into!
#7- Take More Screen Breaks
I feel like I keep hearing more studies about how many hours a day kids are now spending looking at a screen. But I think adults have just as many hours of screen-time a day, if not more. (After all, there’s no one to take away their phones or send them outside).
Interacting with nature and the real world around us is one way to start caring more about how our lifestyle may be impacting that world. It’s also better for our health (mental and physical) to go outside or talk to a real person instead of only interacting in a digital world.
Take more time to step away from technology and become more connected to the world we want to protect.
Living A More Sustainable Lifestyle Doesn’t Have To Be Hard
Starting to live a more sustainable lifestyle doesn’t mean that you have to go off-grid, grow all your own food, or live by candlelight. Some people like doing all those things, but they aren’t essential to living more simply.
Even if you just pick one thing from this list and start working on it, you’re still moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle. I’m a big fan of baby steps, especially because life is stressful enough already.
Use this list to think of one or more small ways you can live a more sustainable lifestyle- starting right now!
If you want to know more ways to live a simple and sustainable lifestyle, here are some posts to help: How To Slow Down In A Busy World, How To Use Essential Oils To Simplify Natural Living, and What Simple Living Really Means.
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