A Beginners Guide To Living Sustainably
We don’t know what a world after the pandemic is going to look like but what we do know is that we collectively have found an appreciation for all the things that we took for granted, especially our planet. We realise that it is not a resource that’s going to give endlessly and we need to make changes to our lifestyle to ensure that we can live in a more sustainable future.
Living sustainably cannot happen overnight. It’s a lifestyle that requires you to continuously make conscious decisions – change the way you think about your personal choices and the impact that it has on the world. It’s best to start by making small changes, this way you are more likely to stick with them and will soon become a way of life.
Here is a guide to help you introduce sustainable strategies into your lives.
Plastic is cheap. Its convenient. But its non-biodegradable, which means it never fully decomposes and remains on our planet forever. This is why a lot of people are adopting a plastic-free life. Here are some simple things you can do to cut out plastic.
Refuse single-use plastic bags, carry a reusable tote bag when going to the market. Collect any plastic bags that you were going to discard and recycle them at specific drop-off points (plastic bags can’t necessarily be recycled at home).
Bring a clean reusable travel coffee mug when you go out on your coffee run and use a metal straw instead of plastic.
Hygiene products need to be disposed off or changed often, so switch to using bio-degradable ones. Buy bamboo toothbrushes, combs and q-tips, sanitary pads made from bamboo and corn.
Make your own cleaning products at home. Most store-bought cleaning products are extremely harmful to the environment as well as your health. Here a simple recipe: 1-part water, 1-part vinegar, lemon rind, rosemary springs. Combine in a reusable bottle. Infuse for a week before use.
Shorten your shower time and turn off the water when lathering up. Install a low-flow shower head, which help reduce your water consumption. The best option is to take a bucket bath.
Use your washing machine and dish washer only once it has a full load.
This one probably goes without saying – turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, washing hands or scrubbing dishes.
Only wash your clothes if you really need to. Most dresses, skirts, jeans with natural fibres have self-cleaning properties and don’t need to be washed often. Air them out instead.
Switch to LED bulbs in your home. They are more energy-efficient and don’t need to be changed as often.
Line-dry your clothes instead of tossing them in the dryer. This also helps give your garments a longer life.
Install energy-efficient appliances – the more stars on the label, the more efficient.
Turn off all your devices at night – including your TV, wi-fi, computer that’s connected to a power source. Also turn off the light when you leave the room!
Opt to receive digital mail and notices. Most banks have green initiative that offer to send you important notices and bills via email instead of mailing them to your house.
Repairing or fixing something is more environmentally friendly than simply throwing things away, even if it is cheaper sometimes. The internet gives you access to the tools and information you need to fix practically anything, and if you still can’t fix it then why not try and turn it into something else?
Donate your old clothes or resell them. Resell clothes through second-hand retailers that donate to non-profits.
The only barrier to recycling is understanding the process. Start by doing your research on your local city regulations. You want to get information like – what container to use? What items are accepted? do you need to schedule pick-ups?
Get a separate bin and bags specifically for all your recycling items. It’s very important that all the material discarded in this bin needs to be empty, clean and dry. One dirty/wet item can contaminate the entire truckload and end up straight in the landfills.
What can you recycle?
Let us know in the comments below if you already do some of these towards living more sustainably or if you have some other practices you would like for us to include in this list!