Tiny Habits To Live More Sustainably
We believe that big change starts with small acts. Protecting the planet from climate change will undoubtedly require large-scale government intervention and breakthrough innovation in major industries. However, that doesn’t mean that individuals have no role to play in protecting the environment for future generations.
Most people aren’t climate activists, and even those people who care passionately about sustainability are balancing work, family, financial pressures, and a host of other life demands. Taking on big changes in the name of sustainability isn’t realistic for lots of people – and that’s totally okay! Taking small, low-effort steps to minimize our impact on the environment where we can, adds up and should be celebrated.
Here are five tiny habits that you can embed into your everyday life (and without a whole lot of work!) to live more sustainably:
Swap single-use for reusable.
An easy way to reduce your environmental footprint is to swap out small, everyday disposable products for reusable alternatives. Some examples of easy swaps include:
- From plastic zip lock bags to reusable silicone bags (we love Stasher!);
- From disposable plastic water bottles to reusable water bottles;
- From plastic shopping bags to reusable totes; and
- From paper towels to reusable, washable kitchen towels.
The next time you run out of a disposable product at home, consider doing a quick Google search to see if there are reusable alternatives. Some great resources include Sustainably Kind Living and The Honest Consumer.
Look for products made sustainably.
Not all materials are equal. Take clothing as an example; polyester is non-biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to break down in a landfill versus organic cotton, when composted, can decompose in a matter of weeks. If we want to see more products being made sustainably, we need to demand that of companies and one way to do that is to purchase products that use sustainable materials.
Buy fewer, better products.
Take this as your excuse to splurge! A big part of shopping sustainably is investing in high-quality, durable products that will bring you joy over time. For example, when it comes to sustainable fashion, the goal is to curate smaller wardrobes of high-quality, versatile clothing that you absolutely adore instead of wardrobes that are full of low-quality items that get swapped out frequently. So pass on the rotating door of trendy clothes and instead treat yourself to that piece of clothing that will make you feel special time and time again.
Need some sustainable fashion brand inspiration? Check out good on you for brand ratings to find fashion brands that are committed to sustainability.
The circular economy plays an important role in tackling climate change as it helps to keep items in use longer. When we buy or use items that are pre-loved, instead of new, it means less new stuff needs to be made, which leads to fewer natural resources being consumed and less pollution. And it is important to remember that secondhand doesn’t need to be second-best; there are more options that ever to shop pre-loved. This is one reason why sales of secondhand clothes, shoes and accessories jumped 28% in 2022 from 2021.
Rehome unwanted items.
Let’s be honest; sometimes throwing an item that you no longer need in the trash is just easier than giving it a new life. But in the words of Annie Leonard, “There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.” Let’s try to keep items in use as long as possible by reselling, donating, or even giving them away (note, Facebook Buy Nothing groups are great for this last one!). When items are no longer fit for purpose, they should be recycled. And did you know that recycling is not limited to plastic and cardboard? There are recycling options out there for everything from electronics to clothing and shoes.
Living sustainably doesn’t need to be hard; taking the small steps can add up to create a big impact!