A sustainable lifestyle is a way of living that meets our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We need to be able to afford to live the way we want in the future, and a sustainable lifestyle is one that will allow us to do that while also having an impact on our environment.
Following are the tips to live a sustainable lifestyle:
- Buy local produce. By buying your seasonal fruit and vegetables from a farmers market or farm shop you are reducing food miles, supporting local businesses, and having minimal impact on the environment.
- Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk directly from the grower means there is no packaging; just ask them if they will give you a discount for bringing your own bags or boxes!
- Buy dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian food as much as possible – it’s better for the environment and animal welfare!
- Buy organic produce where possible – organic farming uses natural methods that help protect the environment by working with nature rather than using chemical artificial fertilizers (and isn’t GM!). Try growing your own vegetables too!
- Buy unpackaged foods, such as breads, cakes, and rolls without plastic wrapping; fruit and veg without plastic bags; cereals without cardboard boxes – cards can be recycled but it still takes energy to do so! Try using less cling film too!
- Avoid foods that have been processed with chemicals or additives – these contribute to greenhouse gases because of their lengthy manufacturing processes (your body doesn’t need them either!). Eat local, seasonal food wherever possible so that it hasn’t had to travel very far before reaching your plate. This will also save you money on air-freighted goods such as strawberries in wintertime!
Grow your own
There’s no better thing to do for the planet than growing your own food, and it’s one of the easiest adjustments you can make to reduce waste.
There are plenty of other benefits too: nothing beats homegrown tomatoes when it comes to taste, and it’ll save money in the long term.
Before you get started, be sure you have a suitable place for your plants. Some herbs and vegetables thrive indoors, but others will need regular access to sunlight.
If you don’t know what would grow best in your garden or on your windowsill, refer to a guide like this one from BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine so you can start with something easy.
The last thing you want is to invest time into something that could fail before it begins! Herbs are usually a good starting point as they require minimal maintenance — parsley is particularly easy for beginners and it’s great for cooking.
Buy products with less packaging
When shopping, you can opt for products with less packaging, or choose items in recyclable packaging. Buying second-hand or vintage is also an excellent way to reduce your waste.
On the other hand, some products are bulky and difficult to buy without packaging. For those items (like bathroom tissue), look for brands with recycled materials and minimal plastic wrapping.
And remember that all of this is a process. I’m not perfect at it yet myself, but I’m working on it! Just do what you can, when you can, and be open when you don’t know or want to learn more!
Eat less meat
As you know, the manufacturing and distribution of meat are not environmentally friendly. From factory farms to refrigerated trucks and forests being cleared for cattle grazing, it takes a lot of resources to put a piece of steak on your plate. But that doesn’t mean you need to give up meat completely!
Start small by cutting out one meal a week. Not only does this reduce your carbon footprint, but it will also teach you some new things about cooking with non-meat products. Plus, who doesn’t love an excuse to have pizza or tacos once a week?
When making meals without meat, it’s important to find healthy sources of protein that will give you the same benefits as eating beef or chicken. Consider adding legumes like chickpeas or lentils into your meal instead — they are high in protein as well as low fat, meaning you won’t feel like you are missing out on anything!
Reuse and Recycle
The main goal here is to refrain from throwing items away by finding alternative uses for them. For example, if you need a new container, use a plastic bottle or jar instead of buying one.
If you can’t reuse it, recycle it! Recycling is another great way to reduce waste, and can even conserve natural resources like wood and metal. By recycling an aluminum can instead of throwing it in the trash, you could save enough energy to power your computer for three hours!
Reusing items before they make their way to the trash can be a great way to reduce waste.
Reuse containers and packaging? If you’ve bought a new item, can you reuse the container or packaging it came in? A recycled glass jar from your salsa could make a great container for your own homemade fruit jam.
What can you do to reduce waste?
Are there any items that would work just as well as multi-purpose products?
For example, instead of using multiple cleaners for different surfaces around the home, use vinegar and water for almost everything.
Do you really need those plastic sandwich bags?
Consider using reusable cloth bags or waxed paper instead.
Make your own cleaning products
To make your own cleaning products, you will need:
- A spray bottle
- An old toothbrush
- Vinegar or lemon juice
To clean particularly grimy spots, combine 1 tsp vinegar with 1/4 tsp essential oil.
Spray the solution onto the spot and let it sit for 15 minutes.
Afterward, scrub with an old toothbrush and wipe away with a damp cloth.
If you don’t have vinegar on hand, substitute with lemon juice instead.
Avoid buying bottled water
It’s really important to use a reusable water bottle.
Even though it may be easier or more convenient to buy bottled water, it’s very bad for the environment.
Bottled water is bad because of the plastic bottles they come in (not recycling them) and also using so much of our natural resources such as water and oil.
Power down your electronics
There are many ways to live more sustainably. Just changing one habit in your everyday life will make a huge difference. In this section, we’ll focus on how to use less energy and power down electronics.
- Turn off your computer when not in use. This will save you money, help the environment, and prolong the life of your computer’s battery. You can also turn off or adjust the brightness of your monitor when it’s not being used: studies show that dimming screens from 100% brightness to 90% use only 10% as much power!
- Only run full loads of laundry or dishes through their respective machines to maximize efficiency. If you don’t have enough clothes for one load of laundry, wear some dirty ones!
- Unplug all cords for cell phone chargers and other electronics when they’re not in use – these devices still drain power even when they aren’t turned on.
- Also, remember to turn off lights in rooms you’re not using – you don’t have to go running around the house turning off every single light bulb, but if you leave a room and no one else is using it, turn it off! And always use LED light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs – they last much longer and are up to 90% more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs.
- Look for energy-efficient products – things like Energy Star appliances or ENERGY STAR® certified programmable thermostats can help reduce electricity consumption at home by keeping temperatures steady throughout the day.
Get crafty with your wardrobe
The word “sustainable” is thrown around a lot these days in everyday life, but it can be hard to pin down. After all, what’s sustainable might mean something completely different to you than it does to your neighbor. That’s why we think that the best way to look at sustainability is getting crafty with your wardrobe.
For example, if you’re looking for fashionable clothes at an affordable price or want new items that will last longer than their original stint on the rack, try stitching together an outfit yourself!
You’ll find it takes less time than shopping and can save you money in the long run by not needing to pay a designer’s hefty markup or going over budget with a purchase because you were too distracted by how cool it looks on you.
It’ll also let you express yourself creatively instead of having someone else choose what looks good on you.
Another great way to become more sustainable is buying second-hand!
Not only do used items tend to cost less than new ones, but they might have some hidden gems tucked away in the—items that would have otherwise been tossed out because no one knew about them or could afford them when they were new.
If a pair of jeans don’t fit comfortably anymore or a sweater tugs uncomfortably on one side, consider buying like-sized knits from thrift stores and having those seams fixed up (or even better: making those garments anew!).
Switch to cloth nappies, tea towels, and kitchen rolls.
The world is changing, and today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders.
It cares about the environment, so it uses the least possible resources when producing its goods, making sure that the resources it does use are recycled. It also cares about people and their health, so it designs products with ergonomics in mind for you, the end-user.
Lastly, it wants to make sure that we all have access to safe and healthy products made of materials that are easily recyclable or biodegradable
If you think about how you consume things you can make a difference to the environment.
You are what you consume. So, if you try to find ways to be more sustainable in your life and make an effort to buy local, eat less meat, and grow your own produce, you can rest assured that you are doing the right thing for the planet.
These days it seems as though everything is being produced on the other side of the world; even food that can be grown here is being shipped across oceans just so we can buy it. That kind of transportation uses a lot of fossil fuels and adds massively to our carbon footprint. It also means that a lot of food isn’t fresh when it hits our shelves plus air freighting foods from abroad may not be safe or healthy.
The best way to tackle this problem is by buying organic produce from farms near where you live. Many local farmers’ markets are operating year-round these days so there’s no excuse not to know where your food comes from. You could also consider grow-your-own or community gardens; they’re a great way of meeting new people while staying healthy and helping the environment at the same time!
Reduce your food waste.
Have you ever found yourself with a whole bunch of vegetables in the fridge that looks simply delicious but you can’t eat them all? If so, it’s time to learn how to make smart use of your food. Food waste happens when food is left uneaten or becomes spoiled before it can be eaten.
It’s just as bad for the planet as littering or not recycling because it clogs up landfills and creates methane gas (a greenhouse gas) from decaying organic matter that would otherwise be used by living things.
Over 8 percent of global landfill space is dedicated to food waste!
What if you could avoid this problem entirely?
Greenhorns are often surprised at how easy avoiding wasting food really is; once you know what to do, learning becomes instinctive. The next time you’re about to chow down on unwanted produce, try out these tips:
- Buy just what’s needed for your meals.
- Eat leftovers the next day—or freeze them for later.
- Don’t throw away anything unless it has gone bad or looks gross—throwaway foods will rot in landfills anyway and release methane gas into the atmosphere. All gooey things should go in the compost pile instead of the garbage can (except coffee grounds and eggshells).
You do not have to live a boring life in order to live a sustainable one!
We have a couple of children and people often comment that they feel our lives must be quite different from theirs. In some ways, we have made some changes in our lifestyle which means it probably is different, but it is not boring. We still go out to eat and drink, we still go on holidays, we still buy new clothes for the kids (although much less so than before), and we still buy new electronic gadgets!
There is one key difference though: most of the money we spend has a purpose behind it. If you are trying to live sustainably then this might seem like a strange thing to say, but it can be difficult to be prepared to accept the fact you cannot do everything you want all of the time – or perhaps more accurately, that you cannot afford everything that you want all of the time! This does mean there are times when we say no to things that would be fun because either there doesn’t seem to be a point in spending money on them or there is something else we need more at the time.