5 Ideas for More Sustainable Living (Part 2)
This post follows up Part I with 5 additional ways to lead a lower impact life. Please share in the comments if you do any of these ideas already or decide to try them out!
6) Support sustainably minded businesses through your purchases.
Even if we open a product in a recyclable and lovely minimalistic package, if it is produced in a factory that does not care about energy use, waste streams and pollution, we missed the boat. Researching ethical and sustainable business is a time consuming journey, but once you know where to source your necessities, it becomes easier. Another tip is to find businesses that are Certified B Corps (businesses that meet a high standards of social and environmental accountability) or those that have joined the 1% for the Planet network.
Consider Sourcing Your Daily Living Needs from Companies like these:
Beauty and Personal Care
Plaine Products (refillable body care products)
Seventh Generation (paper goods and personal care items)
100% Pure (makeup and beauty products)
The Wild Minimalist (beauty and household items)
Package Free Shop (beauty and household items and biodegradable phone cases)
(I buy mainly used clothes- but there are MANY awesome articles on eco friendly clothing companies if you are wanting to invest in a certain piece.)
7) Get Reusables and Actually Reuse Them
Did you know that from a carbon emissions standpoint, plastic grocery bags are lower impact option than reusable cotton totes? According to a study from the United Kingdom Environmental Agency, you would have to use a cotton tote around 327 times for its footprint to equal that of a plastic bag. I’m not saying this so we all use plastic bags, but rather to emphasize the point that we should try to wear out the reusable bags we have. If you are anything like me, you get new totes at every event in the world. Just tuck in the back of your mind that it requires emissions to create those new bags and try and gather only the ones you will use. So, when we have a “reusable” version of travel mugs, bags, Tupperware, etc. we have to try our best to actually reuse them and make the resources that go into their production worth it.
8) Recycle ♻️ and Help Make It Easier for Others To
Recycling comes naturally for some and is an unnatural exertion of extra effort when cleaning for others. So, if you are a natural recycler, carry on and try to make it easier for others. For example, if you are in a office, put a recycling bin where people are throwing away paper- make it obvious and make it easy.
Also, if you are in recycling quandaries over items like chip bags and toothpaste containers, check out Terracycle’s recycling program. They have different “programs” which you can view through this link and see if your house, school or office uses any of the items frequently. You can them collect items and send them to Terracycle and earn points- and who doesn’t like a point competition.
9) Eat More Sustainably
Infringing on people’s dietary preferences never fares well. We have our creature comforts and our routines and food is often the cornerstone of them. Therefore, my recommendation isn’t to rip burgers away from adoring hands, but focus on cutting down on food waste. Food waste is responsible for a huge amount of excess greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, if its were a country, its carbon emissions would be third globally behind the US and China.
So 2 thoughts to cut back on waste on a household scale:
Don’t Overbuy: Check your fridge frequently and utilize the ingredients you have before buying more. In a rut? Email me at email@example.com and I will be more than happy to give you recipe ideas- I am a master of creating meals from bizarre leftovers.
Buy Ugly: Either pick out the solo banana or ugly tomatoes at the store that no one else is likely to buy or sign up for a produce delivery service that cuts down on food waste in your area. I live in Chicago and use Imperfect Produce which is also available in the Bay Area, LA, Orange County, San Diego, Indianapolis, Austin , San Antonio, Portland, Seattle, and Milwaukee.
If you can also eat more at home, eat less meat, and buy local foods, absolutely go for it as these are all key factors in sustainable eating!
10) Vacation Closer to Home
This is the kicker for me. This year, I have been on planes way too many times, including one trip overseas. Travel is such a treasured part of many people’s lives, but emissions from plane fuel is TERRIBLE for the environment. So I am speaking just as much to myself as to anyone else when I say, traveling locally is a much lower impact option than an international vacation. If we can cut the distance we cover on flights or take a train or car to a more local spot, emissions are cut. And if you do fly, flying economy is a lower impact than first class and you can purchase offsets for your flight as well.