13 Easy Ways to Be More Sustainable at Home
Lots of small changes add up to a big difference
Every single person can contribute to positive change and help fight pollution by implementing easy actions and making simple sustainable swaps to their lifestyle. When first learning about the topic, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and lost on how to get started. That’s why we’ve put together a list of things you can do to take action too. Lots of small changes add up to a big difference.
REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, ROT (COMPOST)
Always keep the 5R’s in mind, a notion introduced to us by Bea Johnson, author of the book Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste.
– Refuse what you don’t need
– Reduce what you do need
– Reuse what you consume
– Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse
– Rot (compost) the rest.
SAY A BIG FAT NO TO STRAWS AND PLASTIC BAGS
500 billion plastic bags get used every year — on average, the working life of these bags is 15 minutes. Every year, we discard 1 trillion plastic bags worldwide — if we joined them, they would circle the planet 4200 times! Straws have a short working life too: one drink, a few minutes and you’re done. But plastic takes hundreds of years to breakdown and when it eventually does, it breaks into micro pieces and spreads all over, harming and killing our wildlife. Take your own bags when you shop, and always refuse plastic straws: carry your own, or just sip directly out of your glass.
BUY A KEEP-CUP AND USE IT PROUDLY
The whooping amount of 16 billion paper cups are used for coffee every single year, leading to 6.5 million trees cut down. How can you make a difference if you’re a huge coffee lover and just can’t imagine starting the day without a barista-made coffee? Easy. Buy a keep-cup and take it everywhere with you. Not only many coffee shops offer you a discount if you bring your reusable coffee cup, but it contributes so much to a more sustainable life. We absolutely love our keep-cups from Pottery From The Planet, beautifully hand-made in Australia.
DITCH THE PLASTIC WRAP
We have so many options nowadays — from glass Tupperware, reusable bowl covers, beeswax or hemp bowl wraps, or even just popping a plate on top of the dish. Storing food in a sustainable way has never been this easy.
BUY YOUR FOOD IN BULK
By shopping in bulk and bringing your reused glass jars or recycled containers, not only can you buy as much or as little as you want leading to reducing food wastage, but you’re also avoiding the use of unnecessary packaging. Your local farmers market is a wonderful place to stock up on produce too: it’s free from stickers, from plastic, and you can also take your own bags, jars, and egg cartons. It’s a no brainer — you’re making your wallet, your tummy, and the planet happier.
DON’T WASTE FOOD
Don’t toss out sad-looking or stodgy veggies. Instead, boil them with a few spices or herbs, add a splash of coconut cream and blend in a food processor to make a simple (yet so yummy) soup. The same goes for your fruit. Have your bananas turned brown or black? Use them to bake our 2020 fav: the good old banana bread, or throw some in the blender with some milk and seeds to make a sweet — and healthy — milkshake.
EAT LESS MEAT
Industrial livestock production is one of the hugest contributors to climate change, soil, air, and water pollution. By shifting to more plant-based foods, you’ll make a positive impact on the planet’s health, as well as your own health.
QUIT THE BOTTLED-WATER
Invest in a steel water bottle and in a water filter to stay hydrated whilst waving adios to plastic bottled water. The entire life cycle of bottled water uses fossil fuels, contributes to global warming, causes pollution, and unlike the common belief — there is no assurance that bottled water is cleaner or safer than tap.
Double gain: saving trees and reducing the paper clutter in your house. Nowadays, almost everything can be viewed on-line: bills, invoices, statements, etc. Make sure you’ve contacted all your banks and service providers to go paperless. Imagine the impact if we all did this!
DITCH YOUR CAR (AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE)
If the commute is short, consider using the power of your legs to walk it or bike it. Use public transportation — buses or trains — when possible. And when you have no other choice, try and use your vehicle responsibly: organise your outings into one trip and consider carpooling with friends, co-workers, or family members.
Leaving the TV on whilst you’re not even watching it needs to be a thing of the past. It’s a pure waste of needless energy and also increases your bills. Follow this easy-peasy rule: if it’s not being used, switch it off! This goes for heating, A/C, lights, and any appliances.
MAKE SUSTAINABLE LIFE CHANGES
Just a few ideas… the list is limitless.
Cut down where you can: take shorter showers, boil just the right amount of water for your cup of coffee/tea, recycle your trash. Go second-hand shopping, resell pre-loved clothes, donate them. Go green in your bathroom too. Think solid soaps and shampoos, switch from toothpaste to homemade tooth powder, use a wooden compostable toothbrush. Choose plastic-free-packaging for cosmetics (think Lush) or try out making your own cosmetics at home (better for the planet and for your skin), use safety razors over disposable ones, chose reusable pads. Make sure you use reef-safe sunscreens to protect your skin and the ocean.
SPREAD THE WORD
Talk about it, spread the word, share your thoughts and actions. Setting an example is the way to go, especially in this digital era where influencers, shares, and likes have such a powerful impact.
Living a completely sustainable lifestyle, in harmony with the earth is not without its challenges, however, implementing any of the above suggestions is a (big) step towards less waste and cleaner living. One step at a time and things will just become natural to you and inspire you to go even further!