Beginner Steps to Sustainable Living
Beginner Steps to Sustainable Living
We’ve all heard about sustainable living, but sometimes it seems really hard.
Do you really have to overhaul your whole life, move into a tiny house, make everything from scratch, and only eat what you can grow?
No. I’m not knocking those things; they’re great in their own right! But they’re not necessarily for everybody, especially a beginner just starting their journey to a simpler, more sustainable life.
So today I’m offering you simpler steps you can start today!
USE UP WHAT YOU HAVE
One of the easiest places to start is to simply use up what you have.
Many people think that in order to begin using more sustainable products or “clean” products, we need to throw out all the old stuff we’ve accumulated.
But most of the time (if there aren’t allergies or strong reactions involved, for instance), it’s better to actually finish up what we have first. It alleviates some of the financial strain of buying all new products at once and it gives us some space to grow into this new kind of lifestyle. We have more time that way to look into more sustainable and clean products to choose going forward.
It’s also better for the environment because we’re not wasting things by just throwing them away.
So before you go crazy cleaning out your stuff, consider whether you can first use it up.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
You’ve probably heard this before, but for good reason!
Another easy way you can live more sustainably is simply to reduce the amount of stuff you buy by consciously shopping and not buying impulse buys or things you don’t need.
You can also reuse things you do buy, like old glass jars, using old t-shirts for rags, or simply using gift bags and tissue paper you receive as gift wrap when you give a gift!
Of course, you can also recycle! You’ll have to check the recycling guidelines where you live because they’re not all alike, but you can likely recycle plastics, aluminum, paper, cardboard, and the like. You can also recycle electronics and batteries in specific targeted recycling drop-off centers.
BRING YOUR OWN
You can also waste less by simply bringing your own items like straws, tote bags, water bottles, mugs, or utensils.
This way, fewer paper cups, plastic straws, plastic and paper bags, and plastic utensils are getting used and then thrown away. It’s a small change that makes a big difference in the long run, especially if more of us do it!
It might take a little bit of time to get used to packing these kinds of items, but you could leave them in your car, your purse, or your desk to make it easier!
Some stores even give you a small discount if you bring reusable shopping bags for your purchases, which is like a double bonus!
If you have a coworker who lives near you, you could consider carpooling to work. Or you could ride with friends to your next concert, farmers market run, or grocery shopping trip. It might take some coordination, but you’ll save gas, save a little mileage, contribute less toxic emissions into the environment, and get the bonus of time with a friend!
One thing you could also think about is walking or biking to your destination— or taking public transportation! I understand these options (including carpooling) are not always available depending on where you’re headed, what kinds of transportation are available in your area, who you have in your circle, and your schedule. But even if you can opt for one of these some of the time, you can make a difference you can feel good about!
Shopping local helps in a few different ways. Most importantly, it supports local farmers and companies. It helps them keep doing what they’re doing, which is so vital!
It also reduces the amount of packaging you consume because most local buys (like produce) don’t come in packaging when you buy straight from the source. And if there is some packaging involved, it’s far less than you would find when shopping at the store.
Buying local items also means the food and products you’re buying didn’t have to travel as far to reach you, so the transportation and emissions were less, and you can feel great about that!
And to save money, waste less food, and save time in the kitchen, get your free printable Meal Planning Toolkit!
What steps are you going to implement to start living more sustainably? Let me know in the comments!