Do you want to know how you can be a little bit more sustainable today? Follow these tips to get started immediately!
Note: Some links are Amazon affiliate links that I will make money off of if you purchase something. I have no affiliation with the brands that I have linked, other than I have used their products and love them.
This should come as no surprise to anyone. Single-use plastic clog our waterways, impact loads and load of wildlife every year, and are major contributors to greenhouse gases. Earthday.org has an awesome list detailing the insane facts of single-use plastic. For example, 1,000,000 plastic bottles per MINUTE, 1/2 a million plastic straws every single day, and 335 Million Metric Tons produced per year.
Listen, people. Single Use Plastics are not needed! Don’t grab that plastic bottle, and buy (or “acquire” from the lost and found) a reusable bottle. Bring a reusable bag from the store and get some of these awesome cloth produce bags. Try to use items like silicone baking mats and beeswax wraps in your kitchen. There are loads and loads of different items you can replace, and the creators over at My Plastic Free Life have an awesome guide on how for you to get started.
Now I’m not saying that you need to turn into a tofu wielding, level 5 vegan (If you do, more power to you), but seriously consider participating in Meatless Mondays or just altering your portion size to include more veg and less meat. Aside from the environmental impact, adopting a plant-based diet has some serious health benefits for the long-term. I adopted a plant-based diet due to environmental concerns, and partly for my health. It really wasn’t as hard as you think!
This one can be trickier depending on your location, but this is an awesome step! GoGreen has an awesome post detailing all the benefits, but here’s a quick summary. Not only do you support local employment and involvement in your community, but you are also massively reducing the miles that your food has to travel before it ends up on your plate. Additionally, buying in season means that your produce fresher, but doesn’t have to be transported from who knows where.
If you don’t know what is in season, Seasonal Food Guide is a website dedicated to finding seasonal food near you today!
So I’m guilty about this one. For YEARS, I said I couldn’t do a compost bin, because I live in an apartment, or wouldn’t have a use for it, or any number of reasons. Finally, on an impulse buy at HEB I bought a bucket with a lid and have been composting the past few weeks. I. LOVE. IT! Not only is the process astounding (I swear it’s been full for 2 weeks now but somehow there’s always space) but there is something to be said about seeing how much food you waste every day.
Plus, it’s amazing how once you have this super beneficial soil how its uses just come to you. Planet Natural has an awesome guide on how to use compost and Going Zero Waste has a great post on how to start a compost bin in your apartment.
This is a simple to understand concept. If you don’t absolutely need to buy a product brand spanking new, but it used. That way you save on the environmental cost of producing a new product and you save a bit of money on the side. Check out your local thrift shops, or even better, charity organizations like the Salvation Army, for clothing furniture, kitchen items, or really anything else you need.
Live simply. This is something that I’m still trying to learn how to do, but its an interesting exercise. If I don’t absolutely need something, I try not to buy it. Honestly, I think it’s for the better. It’s easy to get caught up in needing the best and newest thing, but just taking the time before every purchase to ask myself “Is this worth the cost?”, “Will this product actually make my life better in any meaningful way?” and, most importantly, “Can I live without this item?” has really helped me realize how most of the stuff I own, I really dont need.
This one is awesome! I’m a huge fan of education and I really think that it has the potential to create larger impacts than just being sustainable for yourself. Think about it. If you are able to convince everyone that you meet, to give up a plastic bottle just once, you are making a much larger impact than if you gave up plastic bottles for weeks or even months.
And you dont just have to talk to the people you already know! Join a local education organization (I bet you there is one near you), volunteer with a nonprofit, or go to your local schools to teach them about sustainability. Be the change you wish to seek in the world.
Now I know this doesnt work for everyone’s situation, and there are times (rain, sleet, snow or hail. I’m not USPS) when you just have to drive, but its amazing how small my city and my campus turned into once I started to ride my bike more often. I’m at the point now where I bike 6-7 miles every single day between school, work, and home. To be honest, its not as bad as I thought it would be. Find a good bike (bought mine used for $30. Valued at $400), learn some basic maintenance, and get started just biking one day a week. I promise you that the benefits far outweigh the costs.
This is something I really hate doing, but I do so because its important to me. With every new product I look to buy, I research the company. I sit there in the middle of HEB, with my phone out, googling for the 30th time “Are BBQ Chips sustainable?”, “Is Wellness Brand environmentally friendly?”, “Will I feel morally responsible for buying Marshmallows?”. Even if I still buy the product, at least I am more aware of my purchases. The website, RankABrand.org, is pretty damn helpful for these choices.
I registered to vote yesterday. Did you? You have a voice. You have the potential to make a change in the world. Why wouldn’t you? I do not vote on party lines, but rather on environmental ones. This is such an important action that anyone can take, and something dear to my heart. You do not have to be a political activist to be involved in local politics. Go out and vote. Its easy, and incredibly meaningful.