5 Easy Ways You Can Live Sustainably
Many of us are becoming aware of the harmful ways that humans have been living their lives. Where we source food from, our clothes and our fast food and fast fashion tendencies. It has become normal to have instant gratification, not having to wait or be mindful about how we acquire our goods. A lot of us are beginning to realise how detrimental this is to ourselves and our planet. Take a moment to think about how many rubbish bins you’ve filled up in your life. It’s scary to think that almost everything you’ve chucked out is still sitting around somewhere on the earth.
This is a reason why so many people are moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle. If you’re interested in living sustainably but are unsure where or how to start, these next 5 tips are for you.
Reuse, reuse and reuse. If you’re wanting to minimise how much rubbish you’re producing the best way to do this is to purchase reusable utilities. Takeaway cups, containers, straws, you name it! Almost every non-reusable item can be replaced by its reusable counterpart. If you’re an avid coffee drinker and grab a caramelised cappuccino every morning, that’s almost 400 plastic cups that you’re contributing to the mass rubbish production each year. But it’s not just you drinking coffee. 75% of the entire population of Australia have stated that they drink coffee. That’s 19 million people! Imagine how much of a difference we could make if we all bought our own reusable coffee cups instead of taking their one-use plastic alternative.
It may take a couple of weeks to have this habit stick, but once you do, you’ll never look back. If you struggle to remember your cups and containers, try buying a few and have one that you put near the door and one you keep in your car (or another mode of transport). This way, you’ll never be disappointed when you arrive at the café and are in the mood for a double shot mocha.
Grow Your Own Food
The vegetable patch you’ve always dreamed of! Some of you might roll your eyes at this idea and think it takes far too much effort. We get it, planting and looking after your garden can be time-consuming. But once you get into the swing of things, you’ll be grateful when you don’t have to put your pants on to go to the shop for some tomatoes.
Not only does this make things convenient for you, but this will help you avoid the unnecessary packaging and waste that you would usually get from the store. So many vegetables and fruits are wrapped in one-use plastic wrap and have no purpose other than to make things look clean and organised. You’ll find that at the end of the week, your bin won’t be so full of plastic packaging and harmful rubbish. Instead, you’ll have more decomposable and environmentally friendly waste that could actually be beneficial to the planet by composting!
To start your garden, maybe experiment with some herbs and spices. Followed by a tomato plant and a strawberry patch. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have an instant green thumb, the fact that you’re giving it your best shot is a great first step.
Avoid Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is an environmental and humanitarian issue that may have flown under your radar. It refers to the highly profitable businesses model of producing average quality clothes at an extremely low production cost. What's the problem with this? Well, the low cost of the clothes is due to the costs that these businesses are saving in labour. People within underdeveloped countries are being exploited for their hard work and labour. We understand this kind of fashion can be tempting as it's low in price and looks seemingly fine. But behind the industry lies a harmful process that is impacting both the environment and peoples lives.
So, what's the alternative? If you’re trying to save money, but are still wanting to purchase some clothes, try thrifting! Not only are reusing something, but you’re saving yourself money as well. You’d be surprised how many gems you’ll find when you buy from second-hand stores. If you’ve got some cash in the bank, invest in high-quality sustainable clothing. Some of these brands include:
- Seek Collective
There are many applications people are using such as depop and Facebook marketplace, to sell their pre-loved clothing. There's no doubt you’ll find something you like, and you’ll love it even more when you realised you didn’t contribute to the exploitation of anything or anyone.
Cut Down on Driving
Driving is easy and quick, but it’s definitely not the most environmentally friendly mode of transport. Driving is responsible for a huge percentage of pollution in our atmosphere. More people are coming onto the roads each year. Not only is the traffic getting worse, but our contribution to air pollution is worsening too. Walking or riding a bike might feel out of your comfort zone initially, but once you try it you’ll never look back.
On a nice afternoon, walking can be extremely therapeutic and relaxing. It’s also a great form of exercise and will get your mind and body feeling good. If you’re in need of a car to get to work, try carpooling with some friends or colleagues. This will make your morning a little bit more exciting and you’ll feel at ease knowing that you’re doing everything you can to help have a positive impact on the environment.
Now that you’ve got a solid understanding of what it means to live sustainably, what are some things you could do today? Here is a list of things you could do immediately, to live a more sustainable life:
- Open the blinds instead of turning on the lights. Enjoy the sunshine for as long as you can!
- Put up a NO JUNK sign outside of your house. This will limit paper waste (and the annoying pamphlets)
- Take your own bags to the grocery store
- Buy your produce in bulk at farmers markets
- Turn off lights when you leave the room
- Use cloths instead of paper towels
Don’t be so hard on yourself if you feel like you’re not doing enough. Take one step at a time and be proud of yourself for living consciously!