Living sustainably doesn’t have to be hard. With these simple suggestions, you can make small changes in your daily life that will help you transition to a more sustainable lifestyle without being overwhelmed. Incorporate these new habits when you’re cooking, recycling, and running errands
1. Learn About What You Can Recycle and Compost
Brush up on your local recycling and compost rules and then watch as you single-handedly reduce the garbage accumulation in your home. As many of us are now cooking more often at home, it is inevitable that we’ll produce more organic waste. However, you can check your city’s website to learn about recycling and composting guidelines. You will find that many things that were being thrown into the garbage are actually recyclable including plastic packaging, paper cups, glass bottles, and much more. Did you know paper napkins, tissues, coffee filters, fruit and vegetable peels are all compostable?
2. Practice Your Cooking in the Kitchen
Instead of ordering take-out, challenge yourself and friends by using what is available at home. Test your culinary skills and be creative with what you find in the fridge. Make it a competition! A couple of times a week, you can video conference with friends and family to see what they have cooked while you enjoy each other’s company as you eat. Here is when having a home garden will give you the upper hand and you will be able to hone you cooking skills in no time.
3. Reuse, Reuse, Reuse
Cut down on plastics by having a reusable water bottle for each member of the family. Having a water bottle with you means you will never go thirsty and can use it for all kinds of drinks including water, coffee (iced or warm), and juices. Another place to save plastic? Grocery stores! Grocery shopping will become easier and cheaper when you can avoid the 5-cent charge for plastic bags by using your own reusable grocery bag. Eliminating plastic bags will reduce our carbon footprint dramatically and you will feel better knowing you have saved money as well. Finally, you can switch-out paper towels in your kitchen with fabric towels when cleaning up nasty spills. This way, they can be washed and reused. Watch as your annual paper towel expenses decline.
4. Discover your Neighborhood by Biking and Walking More
Do you love fresh air? If so, then change up your cardio routine by getting on that bike and going for a spin around the block. Not only is it refreshing to feel the wind in your hair, but you can also be happy with the knowledge that you will be toning your muscles along the way. Buy an affordable bike or, if your bike is in your garage check its tires and wipe it down and you are all set to go! If walking is preferable to you, grab a friend or neighbour and go for a stroll. Walking is known to calm nerves and the fresh, cool air will be rewarding.
5. Upcycle Furniture
Got an old end table that could use a makeover? Get inspiration and upcycle! Give it a new coat of paint, change the hardware to silver or brass or, if you really want to create something fresh, strip down the wood and stain it. There are tons of ways to upcycle your furniture right at home to make it look beautiful and new. Don’t worry, you can watch online tutorials to get you started and remember, there are no mistakes when it comes to upcycling.
6. Combine Errands
With restrictions on non-essential travel it is better to plan out your trips in your car so you can save on gas and be more efficient when shopping. ‘Trip chaining’ is a way to plan your route so you hit all the essential spots in one go. Instead of getting a couple of items each week, make a list of the items you need for the month and get it all at once.
By trying out even a few of these suggestions, we can begin to live more sustainably. And keep in mind too that living more susstainably also means living more affordably; by reducing what we buy, changing how we decorate, diversifying our modes of transportation and more, we’re actually cutting our spending.
Living sustainably is a win-win for people and the planet!
Written by Maham Khan – Summer 2020 Marketing Student