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What does living more sustainably look like realistically?
We read about climate change and know it’s time to protect our Earth. But many people think moving to a sustainable lifestyle must be challenging. Change can be incredibly daunting.
When I asked myself what the changes would realistically look like in my life, my whole world shifted. A sustainable lifestyle is the easiest way to start caring for the environment, and it doesn’t require drastic life changes.
These four little tricks move us toward sustainability with ease:
1. Grow Cheap and Easy Foods at Home
Gardening at home cuts down on grocery store shopping, which saves money and reduces plastic. Stores are infamous for using plastic shopping bags and wrapping produce in plastic. Growing our food instead creates a powerful sense of accomplishment.
Don’t worry about gearing up for a small-scale farm. Sustainable gardening is about starting where we are right now. Grow an herb garden in a sunny kitchen window, plant a small veggie bed, set a few potted plants on the porch or balcony.
Start small. Pick the foods your family consumes the most. Find cheap seeds to plant from a local garden store or swap with plant groups in your neighborhood. Select the herbs and vegetables appealing to the environment regarding sunlight and watering.
Already have a garden? Consider adding more vegan meals. Vegan diets combat climate change by reducing our CO2 footprint. Grow veggies to replace any meat consumption, like chickpeas or cauliflower.
2. Make Natural Necessities
Why DIY? When we make our products from natural ingredients, we have more control over our necessities’ effect on the environment.
Eliminate harmful chemicals from your home (and the environment), go green, and live more sustainably by learning how to make products at home. Simplify products down to what is necessary. Many things, like DIY cleaning and beauty products, are easy to make.
The natural ingredients in these products are often inexpensive and come with multiple uses around the home. Making necessities cuts back on packaging waste too.
Take ingredients from the garden for DIY purposes. Find new zero-waste tips to create something from nothing. We can make many of our necessities at home. Make laundry detergent, condiments, infused vinegar all-purpose cleaning spray, sugar scrub, deodorant, and shampoo.
3. Switch to Reusable Products for Every Room
Modern houses and landfills are full of plastic today. Ditch single-use plastics wherever possible.
Say goodbye to plastic straws, Q-tips, disposable coffee cups, plastic cutlery and food containers, shower liners, disposable razors, vinyl flooring, trash bags, toothpaste tubes, and anything that comes in a plastic bottle.
Welcome in things like steel straws, cloth shopping bags, biodegradable food containers, stainless steel travel mugs, recyclable wrapping paper, metal safety razors, bar soaps, reusable makeup wipes, newspaper trash liners, natural cleaning cloths and scrubbers, and so on.
Tackle one room at a time. I started by focusing on bathroom swaps. Why? This room is full of plastic! The small changes I initiated were inexpensive, and the room responsible for most of our waste quickly became more sustainable.
4. Find New Ways to Upcycle Things
Another huge part of sustainable living is reducing the amount of waste we produce. So when switching to reusable products, don’t toss old things in the trash. There might be another use for them.
Use the entire paper towel roll before switching to cloths, get in the last wash with the kitchen sponge, and let the shampoo bottle run empty before opening a new bar shampoo.
Next, figure out how to get more use from them. The empty plastic shampoo bottle could become a handy garden shovel. Old cardboard rolls become cheap craft materials. Worn sponges are reusable as a soap dish, a houseplant helper to prevent unexpected spills.
Clothing is another example, as the fashion industry is a massive polluter. Shopping less and buying from thrift stores saves the environment. But so does mending holes in shirts and patching old jeans.
Nearly everything we have is repurposeful. When there are no more options to upcycle something, donate or recycle what’s left.
Breaking It Down
Every little bit counts. Break sustainable living down to small steps, and the process becomes much more manageable. Each little win reminds us of the power we have over our environmental footprint. We can help mother nature one step at a time.