Sustainable Lifestyle 101 - Where Do I Start?
A few tips on how to make your life a bit more eco-friendly
Let’s share some facts. The world is facing problems derived from climate change. A big part of the world’s pollution is caused by single used plastic, but also industries such as food and fashion are big contributors to the problem. According to National Geographic, around 18 billion pounds of plastic waste enter the world’s ocean each year.
“That’s equivalent to five grocery bags, full of plastic trash, sitting on every foot of coastline.”
You are now probably thinking: ‘I want to make a change’, which is good, but now you have to ask yourself: ‘how?’. Most people simply don’t know where to start, but don’t panic, changing your lifestyle into a more sustainable one is like going onto a healthy diet: It's all about making smart substitutions, good habits, and not having to say ‘no’ to your favorite dessert. 😉 Do you want to improve your own lifestyle and also contribute to positive environmental change? Here is a short guide on how to start.
BYOS - CARRY YOUR OWN STRAW, BAG, AND ANYTHING ELSE YOU CAN BRING WITH YOU
Nowadays, the number of places actually banning single-use plastic is growing bigger and bigger. However, better to be safe than sorry, right?
Single-use straws have been marked as the main evil in the past few years since they seem to have taken over the world. The USA alone was using over 500 million straws every day in 2016. That’s a lot of trash, isn’t it?
Can’t picture it?
That’s enough straws to make a circle around the Earth 2.5 times. Thankfully, a year later the number was reduced to 390 million straws per day due to Freedonia Group. That’s a massive change, but, is it enough?
One way to contribute is by carrying our own reusable straws made out of bamboo or stainless steel. You can get them on Amazon or eBay for even as little as $4 for a set of 10 straws. Even better, you can look for them in the local store to support small businesses and reduce the carbon footprint caused by transportation.
Another easy change is to always carry a reusable cloth bag, or a few, in your purse, so whenever you decide to go shopping, you’re ready and don’t need to ask for a single-use plastic bag.
SUSTAINABLE FASHION OR SLOW FASHION
The fashion industry is actually one of the major polluting industries in the world. What can you do?
1.- Shop locally and look for good quality products that will stay with you for a long time.
2.- Buy clothes and accessories made from ecological and sustainable fabrics.
3.- Swap items. You can take part in local clothes swap where you can exchange the items you don’t want to wear anymore for new items. Don’t tell me it’s not a win-win situation. 😉 Getting rid of all the stuff that clutters your closet and getting some new pieces in.
There are a few aspects to consider in order to be gentle to the environment. The first one to consider in regards to sustainability is slow fashion. It focuses on choosing garments made of sustainable materials and with higher quality so that they will last longer so there won’t be a need to keep buying more. If you missed our blog post explaining the slow fashion movement in detail, you can still find it here.
If you worry about fashion accessories that are both beautiful but also good for the environment, you can check my brand Shop Jenn Lee. We make amazing bags made out of natural renewable resources such as ata grass, which will last you a lifetime. 😉
FOOD AND GROCERIES HABITS
You can help the planet by reducing meat and dairy, as well as by shopping locally, not in the big supermarket chains.
While shopping, try not to pick items packed in the single-use plastic wrapping. Yes, we’re going back to the #1 point. Did you know that 40% of plastic packaging is used only once and then goes straight to the landfill? By shopping with your own bags and avoiding plastic packaging you can make a positive change.
Try going to Starbucks with a reusable cup. Again, you can keep it in your car and whenever you feel like stopping for coffee, bring it with you! Try it once, twice, and it will get into your habit and become your best friend. 💁
GET ON THAT ZERO WASTE HYPE
Zero waste doesn’t have to mean literal zero. It’s all about trying to produce as minimal waste as possible. Any contribution helps. Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. It doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect zero waste right away. All kinds of change in your habits are awesome.
SHAMPOO BARS, HOMEMADE CLEANING SOLUTIONS, AND BAMBOO CUTLERY.
It can actually have a positive influence on your wallet and your health. Reuse anything you can and get creative. You can literally use vinegar and water to make your own all-purpose cleaning solution and put it in a reusable bottle. Cheap, zero waste, and handy.
IF YOU CAN’T GO ZERO WASTE, RECYCLE
If you’re considering going zero waste but find it difficult with your lifestyle - r e c y c l e. That’s such a little step that can make such a big difference. You gotta start somewhere.
TURN IT OFF FOR MOTHER EARTH
Try to reduce the use of electricity. Middle of the day? No need to have all the lights on, right?. Open up the blinds and enjoy what yo momma earth gave ya. No need to charge your phone overnight. You can do it in an hour in the morning while you’re getting ready. Or even better just before going to sleep. There’s no excuse for having it plugged during those 6, 7, 8, or even more (lucky you) hours of sleep at night.
All in all, it’s not about being perfect, but about having a good cause in your mind. It is also all about trying. No habit was created overnight. Let yourself make mistakes. But also try, because if you won’t try you won’t know how easy it is to change your lifestyle and help the planet. And we have only one planet. Let’s appreciate it.