Sustainable living has become somewhat of a buzzword and a polarizing topic in recent years. With both sides of the climate control fence being vocal on what is best for the world, what they do and don’t believe, and what they precise to be the best way forward, it can be hard to remove the chatter and see past all the drama and find the truth.
The truth is the weather and climate have changed in recent years. We are undoubtedly experiencing more severe and complex weather systems than ever before. We can also agree that the world, in general, is using up too many resources, has an overreliance on single-use products, fast fashion, and is generally wasteful.
With this in mind, the concept of sustainable living can become something you are more in tune with and open to learning more about. After all, living a life of excess with disposable items comes at a cost. And with the economy being extremely unforgiving on people’s finances in recent years, trimming the fat from your budget and lifestyle can only be a good thing.
Can You Really Live Sustainably?
It depends on your point of view and how far you are willing to go. There are many realistic and achievable sustainable changes you can make in your life to help you stop wasting resources and money. But complete sustainable living is a complex concept to live by and keep up with, and it can be a full-time job in itself to achieve.
But just because you cannot realistically achieve complete sustainability doesn’t mean any other effort is wasted. Even the most minor changes can impact your personal carbon footprint and reduce how you affect the world around you.
Sustainable living in a way that suits modern lifestyles isn’t actually too difficult. It can take time and practice to get there, but with patience, you can make the permanent changes stick and be confident you are doing the right things.
Here are some choices you can think about making.
Stop Fast Fashion
Fast fashion and mass-produced plastic accessories are killing the environment. Not only from the material used and the lack of longevity of the item but from the resources it takes to produce them and the waste it inevitably produces at the end, including discarded products. 85% of all textiles used in fast fashion end up being dumped each year, and the equivalent of 50 million plastic bottles are released into the world’s water systems thanks to washing clothing of this kind. When shopping, avoid cheap clothing that is designed to last one season; choose pieces that have been ethically made or are made of natural materials such as cotton and will stand the test of time.
While electric bikes and fully electric vehicles are very eco-friendly, produce zero harmful emissions, and reduce your carbon footprint massively, they still rely on using the electric grid to power them. While they are a much better alternative to gas-fueled motors, they are still impacting the environment. But that doesn’t mean they are bad, and you need to revert to using push bikes or walking, but you should if you can, as these are even better alternatives.
If you can do this, it means that they are a better choice for people who need these means to get around; it is unrealistic to say you should walk everywhere or cycle. Not everyone is able to, and it isn’t practical, nor is everyone within reach of accessible public transport options. So swapping a fully electric motor or purchasing Bakcou e-bikes instead of driving can be a great compromise and a way to make good sustainable swaps that support your lifestyle.
It is not always about how much you use and the waste you produce. It’s about what you do with said waste. If you send everything to a landfill, then you are contributing to a vast global problem as demand is putting increased pressure on the already full sections of land designed to house waste. Not only this, but some types of waste are damaging to the environment. Plastic can take over 50 years even to start to decompose, and then these materials seep into our soil and waterways, causing more damage.
So look at what you are using and see how you can recycle it to reduce the need for more rubbish to sit in landfills. Committing to recycling more is an easier option than reducing your usage altogether and is much simpler to do. This applies to any cans and tins you use for food and drinks, the wrapping on new purchases and delivery boxes, old furniture that you no longer need and can be repurposed, and so on. If there is the possibility it can be recycled, make sure you choose that option first.
Energy Star Products
Energy Star Products are household items that have been deemed to be more energy saving, therefore, better for the environment and your bank account too. They consume less energy to run, making them more efficient and less likely to use high amounts of resources to operate them. If you are making big-ticket purchases, look for products such as dishwashers, laundry machines, refrigerators, and more that carry the best ratings and have the energy star label to be confident they are energy efficient and better for the environment.
BYO or Bring Your Own can be a good motto to live by when it comes to shopping and purchases. Carrying reusable bags for your groceries can limit how many paper and plastic bags are going into circulation. Bringing your own water bottle with you can reduce how many plastic bottles of water you buy, reduce the amount of plastic ending up in the world, and bringing your own coffee cup to your favorite barista can reduce the need for disposable cups. They might seem like small changes and habits to put into place, but these are ones you can make consistently and are relatively minor but have a significant impact. For example, if you grab 3 coffees per week on your way to work, over the year, that is over 105 cups being thrown away to sit in the landfill while they decompose as they cannot be recycled fully. If you apply this figure to how many people purchase coffee each week worldwide, the number can be eye-opening. So doing your part, no matter how small it is, matters.
This option may take a little bit more planning and forethought sometimes, but avoiding buying anything that comes in plastic wrapping can be a small but impactful one too. If the consumers collectively stopped buying items wrapped in plastic, suppliers would need to find a more sustainable option or remove it altogether. While this isn’t likely to happen in the near future, the more people who avoid buying plastic items or plastic-wrapped items, the better. For example, purchase your fruit and veg individually that aren’t wrapped up or prepared where you can; farmers markets can be ideal for this, and take your own paper bags if required. Choose a recyclable glass bottle when buying drinks, and choose wooden toys for children over plastic ones.
Making sustainable changes needn’t be grand or dramatic. The smaller constant changes you make will add up over time and help you consume less, reduce your outgoing, and help you feel content you are doing your bit to help the environment. Start small, be consistant, work your way up to more considerable changes, and you will be well on your way to living a more realistic but sustainable lifestyle.