Cultivate a More Sustainable Life
Simple day-to-day habits that make a big impact.
Choosing to live more sustainably or more “green” is something that each of us should be making a effort to do. Many people don’t choose to do so because they perceive it to be a big undertaking or a disruption to their lives, when it doesn’t have to be at all! Small habits made throughout our daily lives can have big impacts, especially when it comes to sustainable living.
Sustainability comes in many forms. Whether it’s making your household consumption less wasteful, or supporting the community around you. Perhaps even helping to improve the overall sustainability of the environment, which at the end of the day, we all have to live in and future generations will have to deal with.
These are a few easy changes I’ve made in my own day-to-day, to live a more sustainable life.
What You Buy: is it recyclable, compostable or a long-term investment?
Make it a mission to buy things that won’t end up in a landfill, it’s as simple as that. Look at the packaging or the item itself. Can it be recycled? Can it be composted? Is it something you’ll end up throwing away in a few months? Buy things that are a long-term investment OR something you know won’t simply be thrown in your trash can (more on this later btw). Consumerism doesn’t have as negative of an impact when we take into account the materials we buy, how reusable they are and how long we’ll have them for. Be more conscious of these things and you’ll notice your garbage can rarely fills up… I fill mine WAY less than I fill my recycling and green bin, so I know that I’m eliminating in a mostly renewable way, rather than simply creating more waste (yay)!
As for items you purchase to use, wear or decorate with – they should all be more carefully thought out rather than being purchased on impulse or to simply follow a trend. My goal is to purchase items that are as timeless and as high quality as possible (while still working within a budget). This way, I know I’ll have them for a long time and won’t be tempted to just throw them out and get something new a year later. Intentional style (personal & home) should be a priority for this reason (stay tuned for future posts about this). Pictured below are a few pieces purchased off of Etsy & from a local home goods store that I know I’ll have for a long time as they are handmade and great quality.
On that note, old items shouldn’t just be thrown out! Try to sell them on Kijiji or eBay or simply donate them to local second-hand stores. There is always someone that will find a use for it and reuse it (probably an obvious point to make, but hey, sometimes a reminder doesn’t hurt).
Where You Buy From: Support Local Businesses and/or Sustainable Brands
By making an effort to buy from local shops, markets and makers, you are helping to create a more sustainable community. Most of the time, these items are themselves made in a more sustainable and natural way when compared to their big-box counterparts. Also, you are supporting the local economy and keeping the goodness flowing where you live. The more you support, the more awesome small-batch items you’ll have to choose from over time. You can do this by buying your food & necessities from local grocers, farmers markets or right from surrounding farms. Check out local boutiques/shops that carry clothing, health/beauty products, home goods, etc. Visit restaurants, cafés and bakeries that are locally owned and operated (chances are good what you purchase will be way more delicious too). If you need to buy something that you can’t find locally, do a little research into the brand and their practices (can usually be found on their website). There are great brands worldwide who make small batch items or practice sustainability in their material sourcing, creation/manufacturing processes and/or day-to-day operations. Do a little digging, it’s worth it!
How You Go About Your Day-to-Day: Implement Sustainable Living Habits
The biggest impact can come from the smallest decisions around how you live, work & travel. Here are a few easy habits I’ve implemented beyond what’s been mentioned above.
1. Use the heck out of your recycling & compost bins. If your city offers these programs, take full advantage! Not all do, so if yours does you have a responsibility as a citizen of your community and of this world to make an effort and recycle/compost your waste. I cannot tell you how upset it makes me to see perfectly recyclable or compostable items just thrown into the trash can, because I know they will sit in a landfill for years instead of being recycled into new items or biodegrading back into the earth where they came from. Let’s not be lazy! I hardly use my garbage bin because the majority of my uneaten food goes into the compost, and almost everything else gets recycled. On a related note, making an effort to only buy what food you’ll actually consume is so important, even if it means going to the store a couple of times a week to restock – something that’s necessary anyway if you buy a ton of fresh produce and/or fresh fish/meat (can’t keep that sitting around very long without it going bad).
2. Be mindful of your energy/water consumption. Just the basics – turn off the lights when you are not in a room and turn off the water when you are not actively using it (washing dishes, washing your face, etc). Other things you can do: use a programmable thermostat and keep it at a reasonable temp (not too warm in the winter, not too cool in the summer). This will only turn your heating/AC on when it’s necessary. I normally don’t use my heating/AC at all. Instead I open windows, put on a thick sweater, or at least turn it off for the night (this saves a ton of money too). I also use candles in the evenings – which provides some good vibes as a bonus.
3. Leave the car at home and walk/bike whenever possible. This is logical and speaks for itself of course, but it makes a big impact and can be forgotten when thinking about being more sustainable, as it impacts the sustainability of the environment. It’s also way better for you from a wellness perspective (both to stay fit and through the connection to your surroundings/nature), so that’s an added bonus. I personally feel WAY more invigorated and happy after a walk/bike ride rather than sitting in traffic in a car (obvi) and I feel like my bicycle is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I think everyone should own one and use it to get around more often. There’s a reason why Denmark ranks as the happiest nation (if you don’t know what I mean, google cycling in Copenhagen)!
That’s it! Not so hard, right?! Trust me, incorporating these changes into your life is NOT a big deal. Odds are you are already doing some of these things already.
Try some (or even just one) of my sustainable living suggestions out and let me know how it goes! Are there other things you do in your day-to-day to be more sustainable? I’d love to hear about them – comment down below or via Instagram! 🙂