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10 Easy Ways to Live a More Sustainable Life

When you think of trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, what comes to mind? If you get overwhelmed with thoughts of trying to grow all of your own food and giving up your wi-fi, you're not alone. But there are a lot of smaller, simpler steps you can take to reduce your overall environmental impact. Here's how:


  1. Stop buying bottled water. Most of the bottled water you buy is nothing more than filtered tap water anyway, so why not filter your own? You'll not only save money, but plastic water bottles are known to contain harmful chemicals that can leech into the water before you drink it. Whether you prefer a filtering pitcher or a filter directly on your faucet, there are many options. I personally love the glass pitcher by SOMA , and now have a Berkey on our counter.

  2. Carry a reusable water bottle with you. At this point, I think it's safe to assume we all have reusable water bottles lying around our house, and now that you are filtering your own water at home, bring a bottle with you so you never need to buy bottled water while you're out. I prefer a stainless steel one to carry in my purse as it is lighter than glass (S'well is my go-to), and there are even collapsible silicone bottles that can fit in any bag or even your pocket (Que and Hydaway are popular brands). Be sure to bring one for your kiddos as well, even if you are just going out to eat, as most restaurants use plastic or styrofoam for kids drinks.

  3. Minimize buying plastic, especially single use items. Plastic has it's perks- it's light, it's durable- but it also has a negative impact on our planet. Everything from water bottles, to shopping bags, to straws, to your make-up containers, end up in the landfills and oceans. Invest in re-usable and re-fillable items where you can.

  4. Shop local. Whether shopping for groceries or other home goods, try to purchase items that are grown and produced as close to home as possible to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting goods. Farmers markets are a great place to start.

  5. Ditch the paper towels and cleaning wipes. I touched on this in my DIY cleaning post, but swap your paper towels and cleaning wipes for reusable cloths.

  6. Recycle. Check your local guidelines and recycle everything you can. Plastic bags, like the ones your bread comes in, often cannot go into your curbside bin, but many grocery stores have collection bins for them. Also check with your favorite clothing stores about recycling programs for items you no longer want. Madewell has several options for recycling denim in any condition, and from any brand.

  7. Meal Plan. Try to plan out meals each week so you only buy what you need at the grocery store and avoid wasting food. Batch cook on the weekends to avoid last minute take-out, repurpose leftovers into another meal, and prep fruits and veggies so they are easy to grab for snacks instead of pre-packaged items.

  8. Conserve water and electricity. Hopefully by now we all turn off the sink when we're brushing our teeth and turn off lights when we leave the room. Take it a step further and unplug items that aren't in use, swap your lightbulbs for more energy efficient ones, and place a pitcher under the faucet to catch the water as you wait for it to heat-up and use that to water your plants.

  9. Shop with intention. Once you realize how many items that we buy end up in a landfill (like that trendy, fast-fashion shirt that you only wore once), even when we think we are donating them, you start to be more mindful of what you buy in the first place. Quality over quantity.

  10. Repurpose + Reuse. Being sustainable does not mean immediately buying all new items and throwing out your old things. In fact, the most sustainable option is the one you already own. So rather than rushing out to buy something, see if you can repurpose something you already have. No reusable water bottle? Use a mason jar! No reusable cloths? Cut up an old towel. Add in more sustainable items when you are in need of something, and use up your old stuff in the meantime.

Little Edits: If this list seems daunting, start by choosing one thing to focus on, like bringing your own water bottle with you everywhere you go. Once that becomes second nature, move on to another. Also, check the list to see if there are any you are already doing. You might just be surprised!
Another trick I like to use is to store a few things in my car. This way I don't carry around a bag full of things "just in case", and even if I forget something, I'm covered. I keep a little caddy with an extra water bottle, a couple stainless steel straws, a few reusable shopping bags, and a microfiber cloth to clean up any spills.

I'll leave you with my favorite quote on sustainability and zero-waste, which I hope inspires you to take a few steps to lessen your environmental impact: "We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” -Anne Marie Bonneau, Zero Waste Chef.


Where will you start?


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