Most people would agree that helping out the environment is a good thing. After all, most of us want to make sure our children and grandchildren are able to enjoy the places and natural resources that we enjoy today. On the other hand, actually living a more sustainable lifestyle — one that reduces our individual and societal impact on Earth’s resources — is sometimes more difficult. Sustainable living means giving up some of the conveniences of modern society and doing things differently than we’ve already done.
The good news, though, is that sustainable living is not overwhelming or hard to do. It just takes a few simple changes to reduce your impact on the environment. Here are some tips for more sustainable living:
- Just say no to plastic – Plastic has a tendency to end up in landfills, and they are not biodegradable, so it takes 1,000 years or more to break down. Plastic spoils landscapes and waterways. Instead, use containers for food and water that are reusable. Glass or ceramic containers for food as well as metal for water are more eco-friendly. You can also switch to reusable grocery bags and then recycle plastic bags if you end up using them now and then.
- Cut down on water waste – Washing the dishes with a free-flowing faucet wastes a lot of water. Cut down on water waste by filling up two sinks, one to wash and one to rinse. If you only have one sink, try picking up biodegradable metal containers. Fill one with hot, soapy water and the other with clean hot water. After you are done washing and rinsing the dishes, you can use the leftover water to hydrate plants as long as the soap is biodegradable.
- Make your own cleaning products – Cleaning products can be expensive, and the chemical agents in them can be harsh on the environment. Cut down on their environmental impact by making your own cleaning products or purchasing organic cleaners. You can make your own all-purpose cleaner, laundry detergent and hygiene products.
- Cut down on electronic waste – Most electronic devices continue to draw energy even when they are turned off. You can cut down on electronic waste by unplugging your cords when not in use or by plugging the cords into a power strip and turning it off.
Ultimately, sustainable living does take a conscious effort on our part. It means making a few small changes now in order to reduce our larger impact over time.