Dec. 23, 2016
12 Tips For Living A Sustainable Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
Scientists are unanimous on the state of crisis our planet is in. Global carbon dioxide rates – the gas responsible for global warming –reached an all-time high in September, and is expected to get even worse in the coming months. Water levels are rising at a pace that will make you want to visit the Maldives while you still can. After 25 million years of life, the Great Barrier Reef finds itself under threat of death. Making the switch to sustainable living is no longer just a fad or a lifestyle choice, but an imperative.
Living sustainably isn’t running off into the wilderness, abandoning civilization to live in a tent in the Outback, or even taking a dump without wiping to save paper. No, there are a lot of sensible, hardly noticeable changes you can make in your everyday life to make an impact that matters in the long run. Here are some.
1. Forget disposable, go reusable
We produce over 2 trillion pounds of trash a year, with the average person contributing 4.3 pounds to that figure everyday. Replacing disposables like shopping bags, table napkins, plastic cups and the like would create a considerable impact on our waste problem.
Instead of using the standard paper or plastic shopping bag all shops issue their customers, bring your own reusable shopping bags. Plastic bags take forever and a day to decompose, while paper bags are particularly easy to break. Environmental bags, on the other hand, tend to come in pretty durable, washable, and decomposable materials like canvas and calico. Your reusable bagscan even be more appealing and better-looking than their plain counterparts as there are online sources of custom printed bags – guaranteeing an eco bag for every taste.
2. Ditch paper
Forests are speedily dwindling, making the use of as few tree-sourced products possible one of the main goals of eco-friendly change. Instead of paper table napkins, go for cloth. Getting an e-book in place of a paper back also has freeing up space in your bag as a side effect. Replace disposable diapers with cloth ones (if you can take cleaning them). You could even consider using a whiteboard in lieu of sticky notes. There are so many uses for paper in our daily lives, but there are just as many ways to go paperless.
3. Think before you shop
Stacks and piles of unused items aren’t an unfamiliar sight in homes, and impulsive purchasing is hardly an uncommon weakness. Admit it – there are things in your immediate surroundings at this very moment that you regret having bought on impulse. The problem is that most of these things will just end up being garbage in a landfill somewhere once you decide to clean them out. If you’ve yet to find the drive to refrain from this unhealthy and wasteful spending habit, let saving the planet motivate you
You may have heard of the cliché “don’t fix what’s not broken”, but you likely have never heard of the line “don’t replace what can be fixed”. Why? Because hardly anyone thinks that way nowadays (even when it comes to relationships). If you have an old, no-longer-functional microwave you’re itching to replace, for example, reconsider. That it doesn’t work anymore doesn’t immediately count it as waste. If it still has a chance of working again, pursue it. A quitter has no place in a green world. Besides, repair tends to cost less than purchasing a brand new unit.
5. Reuse your lawn grass
Many make the mistake of underappreciating leftover grass clippings from lawn moving. These tend to be bagged up, and disposed of. Don’t. Grass clippings are great for fertilizing the soil, and really have no place in a landfill. You could choose to either leave the clippings where they are and as they are, mulch them for compost, or include them in your own compost pile.
6. Grow your own food
Countless gallons of gasoline and pesticide go into growing, refrigerating, delivering, and keeping bugs away from your farm-grown food. Not every lawn is conducive for a backyard farm, and not everyone has a lawn to speak of. To add, rarely anyone has the free time to plant, grow, maintain, prepare, cook, and eat their own food. In that case, you can keep it small and simple by planting at least your own herbs, chili, small fruits and vegetables in pots.
7. Visit your local cafés
Every place that serves brewed coffee produces considerable amounts of coffee ground waste every day. So much so that plenty of mainstream coffee shops offer their used grounds for their customers to use as fertilizer. Used coffee grounds may not be tasty, but pack a nutrient punch great for direct use on your home garden or indirectly through your compost pile. If you still entirely reject the thought of gardening, these can be used on your skin as a smoothening scrub.
8. Cook your own food
Ordering take-out involves a lot of disposables – spoons, forks, chopsticks, the container itself. Cooking at home, on the other hand, seldom involves any as kitchen tools and cutlery tend to be things we use every day. Cooking your own food even gives you the added benefit of knowing exactly what goes into your meals, developing your culinary finesse, bonding with your loved ones (if none, love yourself) in the process.
9. Use residual heat when cooking
An extra, eco-friendly cooking tip is to make use of residual heat when cooking. Keep the lid on when boiling or steaming food, and shut the gas 3 minutes before you expect the ingredients to be cooked. Shutting the gas doesn’t make the pot immediately go cold, and the lingering heat can continue to cook your ingredients – making it a waste to keep the gas on all the way.
10. Repair leaky faucets
A few drops of water every couple seconds seem completely harmless. That’s just it – they only seem that way. These build up. Imagine the amount of water you’d have wasted after a week of “just a few drops every couple seconds” and its impact on both the environment and your utility bills. Seek repair for faulty faucets as soon as possible.
11. Switch to LED
LED light bulbs are more expensive than other bulb types, it’s true. But, these use a lot less electricity for the same amount of light, aren’t affected by the number of times you switch them on and off, and emit tangibly less heat than its rivals. LED technology is a fatal weapon against climate change.
12. Chameleon home
Quick color fact: darker shades absorb light while lighter tints reflect them. This explains the relationship of color with heat. If you live in a cool area, consider coloring your home’s walls with darker colors like navy blue, dark grey, or deep forest green. This would introduce a little more heat into your home, reducing the need to turn on the heater. If you live in a warm area, paint your walls in lighter colors like white, powder yellow, or sky blue. This likewise decreases the indoor temperature as well as the need to turn on the AC.
Sustainability demands changes in every part of our lives from the largest of things to the most trivial of habits. It is for this reason that we all have no excuse not to make at least some of those changes in our everyday lives. Something as simple as changing your light bulbs or unplugging unused appliances can have a lasting impact on our environment. These things add up, ultimately, as we hope for a brighter, cooler, greener future.
Kristopher McKeller is an Australian professional creative writer whose works incorporate a great deal of enthusiasm and love for his craft. He currently enjoys writing for all sorts of genre. You can find most of his material at smartbags.com.au. He loves Indian food and everything spicy.