We know how unattainable the low-waste lifestyle might seem to a lot of you. Maybe you think it would cost too much to invest in a new copper pan set or an item that will last much longer than its disposable counterpart. This is not at all how one starts their sustainable journey! The truth is, you can start making impactful changes to your life that really make a huge difference in the waste you produce and your impact on the planet. All of these changes listed below are super easy and attainable things you can do. Oh, and did we mention they are all free? Take a look at these 5 things we put together for you that can be the first steps towards you living a more sustainable life!
- Bring your own bags to the grocery store! This one I am sure you have heard before, but its so important and its super easy to make this small change in your shopping routine. What we do to make sure we never forget to take our canvas bags to the grocery store is putting a few into the trunk or putting some into your bag so you always have one on you at all times.
- Don’t put all your veggies into plastic bags! This is also another super easy change to make. If you have to weigh the produce and put that little sticker onto something, just put it directly onto the produce! If you’re buying a lot of something, take your own little produce bags (these are also super easy to DIY), but if you only need a couple onions or potatoes you can just put those straight into your cart without a bag! You’ll be washing and possibly peeling it anyway when you get home so placing them into an extra plastic bag is unnecessary and wasteful. These plastic bags are actually not recyclable and are known as “thin plastics”. Some grocery stores have biodegradable produce bags (often these are some shade of green), but be careful when choosing these. They usually have information on the bag itself to see how exactly it can biodegrade. When you are ready to consume the produce, throw it into a basin with cold water and a cup of white distilled vinegar and let it sit for 30 seconds to a minute. Give the produce a little scrub with your hands or with a brush to remove any visible grime, and then place them onto a towel to let them dry.
- Use your dishwasher (if you have one)! Its actually proven that dishwashers use significantly less water to wash dishes when compared to hand washing. Of course, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a dishwasher, so here are some tips that will help you use less water when hand washing. First, add a few centimeters of hot water to your sink and let your dishes soak a little. This loosens any hardened food particles and makes it easier to scrub them clean. After a few minutes, take your sponge with some soap and scrub the dishes. Once they are clean, give them a quick rinse and place them onto a drying rack. By this point your sink might be half way to all the way full with water. You can continue to soak dishes or pots and pans that needs a little more time, or what we tend to is is soak glass jars with tough stickers on them to make it easier to peel them off! Basically, with this method you only use one basin full of water and your dishes are just as clean after using this method than if you were to continuously let the water run.
- Shop secondhand! This has become the “trendy” thing to do in recent years which makes us really happy! In America alone, textile waste makes up for 9.5% of municipal solid waste. We’ll be writing many more articles about the fast fashion industry and its extremely detrimental impact on the environment and on the workers. For now, we just want to inspire people and show them that shopping secondhand is a super fun, easy, and cheap way that you can live a more sustainable life. Instead of supporting brands that aren’t doing any good for the environment and are exploiting their workers, by buying secondhand you also prevent those textiles from being thrown into the landfill. Plus, you can find some serious gems and express your own style through unique pieces that you might find!
- Educate yourself! This change in your life is free and actually makes the biggest difference. We are huge advocates for education being the first step towards living a more sustainable life, but we also know that it doesn’t just stop there. It might be something simple like looking up what things you can recycle in your area or where the nearest drop-off recycling center is. Educating yourself about the produce and consumption that is the most harmful to the environment might help you in making these changes in your everyday habits. For example, after reading about food waste and how harmful it really is when it reaches the landfill, it made us look a bit closer at what things we were throwing out, recycling, and composting. We realized that a huge portion of our waste was compostable! Luckily for us, we have a compost bin in the backyard so we just fill up a bucket and take it out there every other day. However, there are many programs in cities all over the world that do curbside compost pickup. This is another thing you can research (today!) and find out whether that option is available to you. When trying to make drastic changes in your life, it makes the shift much easier when you know the “why” behind the things that you are wanting to change.