Sustainable living is a lifestyle in which an individual uses natural and renewable resources instead of creating waste and depleting resources. Often called ‘Net Zero Living’ or ‘Earth harmony living’, this lifestyle takes into consideration several aspects of our daily lifestyle such as food habits, transportation, energy consumption, and waste disposal, etc. Thus, by living sustainably you are taking care of your present needs as well as ensuring a future for the next generations to meet their own needs.
It might be difficult to start sustainable living immediately since switching to a different lifestyle can bring upon a change that you are not ready for. However, baby steps are all you need to create a positive change. Here are a few tips to help you take the first step.
Sustainable living for Daily Life
1. Minimal living – It can be translated to living with only the things you need or less. Thus, the goal to be achieved with this idea is to reduce waste and use every item to its optimal level. With this lifestyle, you would become more mindful of the things you use and recycle them. You can also give out your old items to charitable funds, NGOs, or sell them for a good cause. The benefits of minimalism are endless and it helps you to be resourceful and alert in your daily engagements.
2. Bring your own – With the rise of plastic waste, you should keep in mind not to become another contributor. Thus, using eco-friendly and reusable products such as microwavable containers, metal straw, cutlery, and travel mugs, bringing your reusable shopping bag, and replacing tissues with a handkerchief can make a difference.
3. Shop from local stores – Shopping from local markets can not only help you reduce the carbon emission from your transport but also help to support the local economy grow. You should keep in mind to walk to the local places and not use engine-based transport for zero pollution as walking serves as a light exercise to improve your health.
Shopping from local stores also gives you a variety of options to choose from and might lead to an adventure of searching for the best store in the market. It would also help in socializing and meeting new people from your neighborhood.
4. Avoid flying – Taking a flight is known to be the most efficient but environmentally damaging way of transportation. Flying causes the biggest amount of carbon emission. So, it is recommended to use trains or boats for long-distance travel. Yes, it may be difficult for long-distance journeys but if you are not in a hurry try opting for a train ride. It would allow you to watch beautiful scenic landscapes, meet people, and leave a much smaller carbon footprint than on a flight.
5. Drive less – Cars are a big cause of air pollution due to their carbon emission and they not only cause air pollution but also noise pollution. It is also known that transport accounts for a quarter of the world’s CO2 emissions. Thus, it is recommended that people don’t have too many vehicles in the same household. Plus, the use of alternatives like bicycles, carpool, or even walking should become the preferred mode of travel for shorter journeys. You must keep in mind that although cars are essential for transport, you should always look for ways to reduce carbon emission. Taking public transport is also a good way of reducing pollution.
Sustainable living for home
1. Gardening – Gardening has several benefits for not only living a sustainable lifestyle but also other aspects. Growing your favorite fruits and vegetables with your own effort would add a different kind of flavor and a sense of accomplishment to your next meal.
Instead of spending a lot of money buying vegetables in a market, which may lead to a higher carbon footprint, growing your material without any plastic packaging or chemicals can help to lead a healthier lifestyle. Thus, it is wise to have your little garden in your backyard or terrace full of greens which reduces the carbon emission due to the short difference from soil to table.
2. Unplug devices – Have you ever wondered how much energy the devices in your house consume? Devices such as television, microwave, fridge, toaster, blender, etc. consume energy when they are plugged into the outlets even when not in use. This can lead to extra energy consumption and wastage. Thus, devices when not in use should be unplugged for reducing energy consumption, saving money, and even mental peace. Once in a while, you should switch off your devices and just take the time to enjoy a small break from technology.
3. Repair instead of replacing – Most people tend to throw away items when they get damaged. But instead of replacing them with a new one, you should practice repairing the old item since it is more environmentally friendly. With the help of a couple of videos on the internet, you can easily give it a go and try repairing the item. This also increases your sufficiency and handiwork skills. And, even if you can’t do it yourself you can always go to the local repair shops and support them economically.
4. DIY( Do it yourself) – DIY projects may seem a little difficult for beginners who have no experience in making products. However, DIY projects involve making items at home instead of buying them on the market. Plus, you can add your little personal touch to it as a bonus. Since most of the items in markets are chemical-based and maybe bad for the environment you can create your own beauty products, toiletries, cleaning materials, or even simple arts and crafts with leftover items to make your home pretty. Since they are really easy to make and the materials are cheaper it helps save money while being efficient.
5. Use eco-friendly technology – Energy-efficient technology is always going to be a good investment. This way you can ensure that you are saving money and conserving energy in the most efficient way possible. You can also change your energy supplier to a completely renewable one for your home. It is easy to do, hassle-free, and all the electricity used when on complete renewable tariff is zero carbon. It also makes sense to invest in LED light bulbs since they last longer than the normal ones, are available in a variety of designs, available in different brightnesses, and use less power.
Sustainable living for kitchen
1. Eat more greens – Vegetables are an important part of our balanced diet and provide us important nutrients required for our body’s immune system. An average vegetarian’s meal leads to 2.5 tons of CO2 per year whereas a non-vegetarian person’s meal leads to 3.3 tons. Thus, by not eating meat or simply reducing your normal amount of meat consumption you would be bringing some change to the environment. Also, eating a lot of vegetables and fruits is good for your health since they are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
2. Composting – Composting is a great way to create a natural fertilizer for plant lovers, since living a sustainable lifestyle is all about the greens. Often, leftover food starts to rot in the back of your fridge for whatever reason and it ends up in the bin which might be deposited in a landfill turning into methane gas.
Instead of all that you can just compost the leftovers for zero waste. It also helps in growing better plants and you might even end up growing your own herb garden someday. Though it might not be easy for a beginner or a person who lives in an apartment, there are plenty of videos on social media and websites on how to compost easily and with just a little effort you can do it easily.
3. Use rags instead of paper towels – Generally, clothes are easier to clean and reuse. Hundreds of trees are being chopped off for the demands of paper and we use it nonchalantly, wasting it away in the most insignificant things. It is important that you conserve trees and in turn, paper. Using rags or pieces of cloth as a replacement for paper towels is the most efficient way of cleaning. Using paper towels also leads to a lot of waste. Instead, you can use a piece of cloth and rewash it for using it again the next day.
4. Use microwave – Microwaves were created to conserve energy and to cook food more quickly. Microwaves are far more energy-efficient than conventional ovens and they can also cook up meals in an instant. In fact, there are so many recipes and hacks on how to cook with a microwave that you would be surprised. Whipping up food in a microwave doesn’t take more than 10-20 minutes which also shows how little energy it consumes.
5. Snacking – You might think that zero waste and avoiding plastic can lead to no availability of snacks, but you’re wrong. It may not be like conventional snacks but you can start having snacks that are better for your health. You can snack on products with less or no packaging, that can either be fruit slices, nuts, or maybe baked homemade snacks. There will always be an option of choosing a healthy lifestyle.