What is sustainable living? In a nutshell, it means reducing your carbon footprint, using fewer resources and choosing to purchase more sustainable products. It has many benefits like helping the environment, saving money, and it even makes us feel good! Switching to sustainable living can be a gratifying experience, it makes us more mindful and adds to our happiness. The best way to start is by making simple and small changes, here we will share some of the best tips to get started.
1. Stop Using Plastic
We know you have heard this one many times, but plastic piles up and has an irreversible, negative impact on our oceans. Even though the U.S only represents 4% of the world’s population, it is one of the leading countries in plastic waste. This issue gets worse by the year, and it is time for us to do our part and reduce our plastic usage. Here are a few products you can use as alternatives:
2. Dress More Sustainably
Dressing sustainably is very achievable and it shouldn’t feel like a compromise. There are many good options out there to start. Here are a few tips to have a sustainable wardrobe:
- Consider buying second-hand items in person or online. There are many great options online like Depop, Facebook Marketplace, or Poshmark.
- Avoid fast fashion. They are the second- largest industrial polluter and they are also known to be unethical.
- Extend your clothing’s lifespan by upcycling. Turn your old clothes into new pieces, or even reuse them for cleaning cloths.
- Prioritize quality over quantity. If you buy better quality clothes, they are likely to last longer, and it reduces the need to buy new ones.
- Rent your clothes! There are services online, like Rent the Runway or HURR, where you can rent clothes for special occasions or try new styles without committing. Instead of buying an expensive dress for a wedding, consider renting one instead. This can save you money and reduce your waste.
- Learn how to repair your clothes, or find a good tailor.
3. Eat Less Meat
You do not have to go full vegan or vegetarian to do your part. Just lowering your meat consumption by half can make a big impact. It is also good for your health. The climate impact of plan-based foods is 10 to 50 times smaller than that of animal products. Consider adding vegetarian meals to your diet. You can even add a few meatless days to your week i.e. “Meatless Monday”. You will feel better about your health, and about helping the environment.
4. Grow your Own Sustainable Food
The food industry is most likely the cause of 1/4 of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. This is due to the pesticides, fertilizers and machinery needed to produce the food we eat on a daily basis. A great way to help the environment and be more self-sufficient is by growing your food at home. Start small with an herb garden which is easier to take care of. If you live in an apartment don’t worry you have tons of options to grow your veggies at home!
And if you want a beginner’s guide here’s an article with the 10 most useful tips to start gardening.
5. Reuse & Recycle
The best and cheapest way to reduce your waste is by reusing items you already have! Before you decide it’s time to recycle, think of ways to reuse and repurpose those items. When you buy an item pay attention to the packaging and think of ways to reuse it. Instead of purchasing new food containers or mason jars, reuse glass food containers that you buy from the grocery store. Run it under warm water to remove the label and use it instead. You’d be surprised how much money this will save you, and how useful these jars can be!
Recycling helps conserve our natural resources, uses less energy and water, cuts back on emissions, and reduces the number of landfills we need. A few of the most common materials you can start recycling are plastic, paper, glass, batteries, electronics, and metals.
Here are a few tips to get you started on recycling at home:
- Have a designated area for your recycling materials. Consider buying recycling bins and placing them around your house in places you use the most.
- Clean your recyclables! If these materials are dirty they will be directed to a landfill and all your efforts will be wasted.
- Try to avoid single-use products like paper cups, plastic utensils, paper plates, etc. This will make recycling a lot easier and keep you on top of it.
- Buy recycled goods. These products bring the recycling process full circle. Most of these will have labels stating if they have been made from recycled materials, so look out for those.
Here’s one of the biggest nation databases to find the closest place you can recycle.
6. Save on Water
Water is a finite commodity that could result in shortages in the future if we do not manage it properly. Conserving water also means saving energy, which leads to reducing your carbon footprint. Here are a few tips that can help limit your water usage:
- Take a shower instead of a bath. And try shortening your shower time, this will save you money on your water and electricity bills.
- Install a low-flow showerhead. This will reduce the water flow by 40-60% without compromising its performance, and it can save you more than 28,000 liters of water in a year.
- Only run your dishwasher when it’s full. Also don’t pre-rinse your dishes, you’ll save 20 gallons of water if you just run them as is.
- Put bricks in your toilet tank. Yes! This will save you money and water. This will reduce the amount of water needed to flush each time. If you don’t have bricks, you can fill a soda bottle.
7. Be More Energy Efficient
There are a few changes you can make around the house that will cut down your electric bill, and are more eco-friendly:
- Change your traditional light bulbs with LED light bulbs. These last 15-25 times longer, use 75-80% less energy, and are better for the environment.
- Unplug appliances that you don’t use every day. A smart and quick solution is using Smart Power Strips, they automatically sense the energy demand and cut off the power supply of fully charged devices or that are not in use.
- Consider adding some green technology at home. You can start by using energy-efficient appliances like Energy Star appliances.
- Replace your air filter. This will help your HVAC system to run more efficiently, which will save you money in the long term.
8. Use Sustainable Companies
This can be an extra step that can be very important and help the environment. Many companies are slowly becoming more eco-friendly, and are always trying to do better for their customers and the environment. Make sure that your money is going to a good cause, one that aligns with your values. You have the power to choose services and products that are not harming the planet and are actively being environmentally responsible.
Besides buying environmentally sustainable products, also consider changing the services you use daily. These services may come as an afterthought, but if you want to truly make the change to be more sustainable you shouldn’t forget about these.
You may not be aware, but utility companies that you use every day can also play a role in helping the environment. Your energy, water, and gas companies also have a responsibility to do their part. Here at Renaissance Power & Gas, we care about providing cleaner energy choices that can help preserve our environment, while saving you money. We offset 100% of the carbon output generated by the power we supply through purchasing carbon credits, and contributions to various green projects. Make sure that the utility companies you use align with your values. It’s as easy as just changing your provider, and they do the rest of the work.
We’re all aware of the negative impacts of climate change on our environment and our health. We can choose to be part of the problem or do our part to help. Living a low waste life can seem like a foreign concept at first, but if you implement just one of these sustainable tips then you’re already taking steps to help the Earth. You can help to spread awareness by sharing this blog with your friends and family to remind them to be a little more sustainable every day. Let’s leave the earth better than we found it for our future generations.