When it comes to living a more sustainable lifestyle, you don’t have to move into a small shack and only live off of homegrown produce and livestock that you’ve raised yourself. Unfortunately, there is a slightly negative connotation that comes with the idea of living a more eco-friendly life that in order to do it right, you have to go to the extreme. This simply isn’t true. While committing to reducing your carbon footprint will take a little work, you really don’t have to adapt your lifestyle all that much.
Today we’re focusing on what sustainable living truly means and 13 simple ways you can live a more eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle. Let’s get started!
What it Means to Live Sustainably
As we mentioned, living a sustainable life doesn’t mean you need to swear off all energy use and stitch your own clothing. But, it does mean being more conscious of your energy use, the products, and foods you buy, how you’re disposing of items you own, and your transportation.
Because everyone’s lives are different, living sustainably means something different for each of us. Let’s look at transportation as an example. If someone lives 3 miles from work, they can live more sustainably by biking to work. This will help them cut down on fuel consumption through their car. However, it’s not realistic for someone who lives 30 miles from their office to bike to work.
Another example is the clothing we buy. The market for sustainably made, eco-friendly products is currently filled with more premium brands than accessible, affordable options. Everyone’s budget is different when it comes to clothing. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect everyone to pay for expensive sustainable options.
This is all to say that there is no right or wrong way to live sustainably. As long as you’re making a conscious effort to reduce your carbon footprint in a way that makes sense for your life, then you’re on your way.
What is a Carbon Footprint Anyway?
In its most simple terms, a carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) generated by our actions. For example, but answering questions like the type of car you use, how much traveling you do per year, and how much you pay in electricity each year, you can get a good idea of the size of your carbon footprint.
This is all to say that there are many different areas of our lives that factor into our carbon footprint. So, while some areas of your life may be difficult to change, there are others that everyone can do to ensure they live a more sustainable lifestyle.
To help you create less waste, use less energy, and live a more sustainable life, follow these tips!
8 Things We Can All Do to Live Life Sustainably
Turn off the Lights When We’re Not Using Them
Being aware of when our lights are on and when they don’t need to be is a quick and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. In addition, consider upgrading to more eco-friendly light bulbs to reduce energy use.
Be Aware of Our Water Use
There are many different ways in which we use water in our homes. Make sure you’re turning off the water when brushing your teeth, being conscious of how long you use the shower, and being aware of your use of hot water while washing dishes.
Get a Reusable Grocery and Produce Bag
Trying to live a plastic-free life is extremely tough. But, if you can find ways to use plastic less, it’s a great way to improve your carbon footprint. Avoiding plastic bags by investing in reusable grocery and produce bags is one solution.
Use Public Transportation When Appropriate
As mentioned, using public transportation may not be possible for many people (particularly those who don’t live in cities). However, if using public transportation or biking/walking to work makes sense for you and you are able to, then definitely consider it.
Recycle and Dispose of Waste Properly
Recycling is an extremely easy way to live a more sustainable life. This breakdown courtesy of the EPA tells you exactly how to recycle to make sure that you’re doing so in a sustainable and responsible way. To make sure that you’re not going overboard with your food waste, try and eat all of your food prior to it expiring. Food waste is a massive issue throughout the world, and committing to reducing our food waste is something we all should do.
Hang Dry Wet Clothes
Limiting the use of a dryer while doing your laundry is another way to reduce your carbon footprint. Consider hang drying your items once they are done with the wash cycle. If you need something to hang your clothes on, there are plenty of drying racks available for purchase that can fold nicely under your bed or in a closet.
Opt to Receive Digital Letters and Notices
Going paperless is tough. But, there are some fairly easy ways to ensure you use less paper in your day-to-day life. Opting to receive digital letters and notices from your bank or anyone else who may send you mail is one way to reduce paper waste.
Don’t Buy Bottled Water
Bottled water is a massive contributor to pollution. Don’t buy bottled water. Just don’t. Not buying bottled water will also save you money.
5 Ways to Be More Sustainable (if Your Budget Allows For it)
Shop at Sustainable Clothing Outlets that Offer Post-Purchase Repair Services
One way to invest in more sustainable but premium clothing is to shop brands that allow for free post-purchase repairs. For example, Patagonia has extensive repair services for their customers. In addition, they allow you to trade-in old clothing for store credit.
Become a Member of a Local Food Co-op
Local co-ops are known for being a sustainable and eco-friendly way to get your groceries. Consider signing up for a membership to a local food co-op near you. Not only will you likely eat more healthy, but you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by eating properly sourced foods. Simply Google “food co-ops near me” to get started!
Shop for Fair Trade Groceries, Clothing/Ethically-Sourced Items
Seeking out Fair Trade clothing and groceries (of which you’ll find plenty at your local co-op) should also be done for those looking to live more eco-friendly. To get started on finding your new favorite Fair Trade brand, take a look at the Fair Trade website. Whether you want to shop by the outlet or by type of item, you can find an eco-friendly and clean energy item with ease. While it will take a little more work up front on your part in terms of research, shopping Fair Trade is a great way to be more sustainable.
Buy an Electric Vehicle
If you are looking for a new vehicle, consider your electric vehicle options. We are starting to see more and more car manufacturers create EVs, with some of them starting to offer more affordable options. While there is still a clear barrier to entry in terms of pricing, if an EV fits within your new car budget, it’s a surefire way to live more sustainably.
Use Eco-friendly, Clean, and Sustainable Kitchen Furniture and Appliances
An often overlooked area of our homes that we could all be more sustainable in is the furniture, appliances, and miscellaneous products we use in the kitchen.
To learn more about some of the top sustainable kitchen products to buy, check out our recent “Sustainable Kitchen Products 2021” article.
Investing in sustainable, clean, and eco-friendly kitchen cabinetry is another means of reducing your home’s carbon footprint. That’s where the Miinus Kitchen comes into play.
The Miinus kitchen concept is truly a kitchen re-invented. In an important effort to support sustainable living, Miinus has been built differently from start-to-finish. We’ve established data-driven ecological production methods and chosen the most ecological, healthy, and sustainable materials to ensure our kitchens are safe for your family and the environment.
At Puustelli, we believe that what’s good for your family is good for the environment. Protecting your home’s air quality starts and ends with you. Whether you are building or renovating, it is important to pay attention to the new products you bring into your home. The Miinus kitchen system meets Finland’s highest standard for indoor air quality.
Reach out to us to get started on creating a more healthy, sustainable home for your family.