We all want to be sustainable in our day-to-day lives, but sometimes it feels like we have to choose between being eco-friendly or our convenience. As with any lifestyle, we can’t just make a sudden shift into fully becoming sustainable – we have to start at the beginning first, and make our way to an environmentally conscious lifestyle.
Start small, and take a step each day towards sustainable living. Suddenly changing all your habits and practices is not a long-term solution, as you may be tempted to go back to your old ways. Take it one step at a time, and you’ll soon work your way to become environmentally friendly!
Here are 6 ways you can start living sustainably with small changes you can easily make in your everyday life. From using reusable utensils to growing your own food, these are small ways you can surely make a habit out of, and still make a difference for the benefit of the environment.
1. Reusable Utensils
Reusable utensils can replace the disposable ones you get in fast food joints and restaurants. When ordering takeout, opt to forego disposable cutlery whenever possible, and use your own reusable containers instead. Take a set of utensils with you, as well as your own food container and reusable bottled water, when you go out to work, hike, or picnic.
Keep a set of reusable containers in your office, at school, or anywhere else you go that you have a private storage space to keep your belongings. This will make the shift easier and more convenient for you as you don’t need to lug around your entire lunch set throughout the day. Plus, some restaurants may offer discounts for using reusable containers, too!
2. Switch to Bulk Buying
A lot of our packaging waste comes from the single-use, single serve packaged items we purchase. Whenever you can, buy in bulk to minimize the amount of packaging used in our essentials. Choose to purchase non-perishable foods, like pasta and other dry goods, in bulk. Use your own containers whenever possible, and freeze any leftover food items to store them.
For non-food items, consider looking for bulk options where you can reuse the containers you already have. Some grocery stores offer refills for essentials like soap, shampoo, cleaning solutions, and more to save up on packaging. You already have the bottles, might as well use them to decrease your carbon footprint!
3. Lessen Plastic Use
You don’t really need to use a plastic bag to pick up a bunch of bananas or oranges at the grocery store. You don’t eat the peel, and you would wash fruits and vegetables before eating them anyway. Opt out of plastic usage that you can avoid, such as plastic bags for grocery items, zip pouches for sandwiches, and cling wrap.
Make it a conscious effort to avoid these plastics, and you’ll be able to form a habit of using alternatives like eco-bags instead of plastic. You will also eventually feel the excessiveness of using plastic bags for these purposes. Work on lessening as much plastic as you can when going through your daily activities.
4. Grow Your Own Herbs and Vegetables
Consider growing your own herbs and vegetables when you can. You may not see it, but the product you purchase from fruit and vegetable stalls may come from far away, which uses a ton of transportation energy and costs. Growing your own produce, or purchasing from a local farmer, lessens these gas-guzzling transportation expenses.
You will also be assured of the quality of your produce. You can grow your own produce organically, and there are plenty of product options that you can easily grow at home without high maintenance care.
5. Go Package-free
Picking up some items from a store? Opt out of plastic or paper bags and another packaging to keep your purchase eco-friendly. Look for package-free solutions for your daily items. Opt for dry shampoo powder or bars that don’t need packaging, or go for items with natural packaging.
Consider opting out of using plastic or paper bags when shopping for yourself. You’ll be using these items anyway, and you’ll just end up throwing these bags away. Carry your own bags with you, and consider buying package-free goods consciously.
6. Opt for Eco-friendly Materials
If you must use packaging, either for your own self-consumption or for the products in your business, opt for eco-friendly packaging materials like recycled paper, plant-based plastics, and aluminum bottles instead. These ease the load on the environment, and are easily biodegradable at the end of their useful life.
Go for undyed, minimalist packaging that uses up less water and energy to produce. Plus, the natural look is trendy nowadays, and packaging has toned down from bold and bright colors, to muted, natural colors. Incorporate natural, sustainable packaging into your business!