Our lives are already complicated enough, so let’s focus on simplicity. There are easy to remember, straightforward rules that can help guide you on your transition to living a more sustainable life. You may remember the “R’s”… Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, how about expanding to the “8 R’s”: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Refill, Repair, Re-gift, Recycle and Repeat? Here are eight everyday actions for a sustainable future.
If someone offers you plastic bags, utensils, Styrofoam or anything else that is harmful to the environment, you can always politely refuse. Awareness if the first step to changing behavior. I encourage you to take the ‘No-Straw Challenge’, next time you are at a restaurant ask for no straw. There are a ton of good replacements to plastic straws, we’ve started using bamboo and metal straws in our house and they are a hit. Take it one step further and tell a friend and local restaurant about the effects of single use plastic items on the ocean and ask if they would be willing to take the challenge too. Sustainability is more fun when there are more people involved.
Can you do more with less? Can you plan ahead to avoid getting items that you don’t need? Can you live like a minimalist? There are so many wonderful ideas in the minimalist community and you can even challenge yourself to a 30-day minimalist challenge. If you want to focus on reducing your dependence on fast fashion, which has some drastic environmental effects, try doing a clothing swap. We all know the feeling of being tired of your closet, once a season organize with friends to do a clothing swap. You’ll be surprised the hidden gems that have been sitting in your friends closet, plus it’s always nice to see something you once loved go to a good home. Take it one step further and have a crop swap; take whatever is abundant in your garden and swap for things you would like to grow.
We love our local library! It’s incredible, you can dive deep into topics, get lost in sections, get all the latest cookbooks for your kitchen and try new recipes…the possibilities are endless. Local libraries give you access to a vast resource of knowledge without having to buy/sell all your books. Try to buy local and second hand at your local charity shop. If you do have plastic, reuse it!
- Refill & BYO
Bring your own cup when getting coffee on the go and use a reusable water bottle. They are handy to have and I’ve never had a problem with people in cafés filling them up. Each time it is one less cup in a landfill. I received a S’well bottle with a beautiful natural texture that keeps beverages hot or cold for 48 hours and I always get complements when I’m out on the trails.
Every time something in your house breaks, instead of throwing it in the bin, think can this be repaired? Can you give electronics, appliances, tools, and fixtures another life? Have you seen all of the incredible repair/fix-it videos on YouTube? Check out iFixit for free repair manuals on almost everything. Are your boots or shoes looking worn? Find your local cobbler, if you invest in quality leather boots, you can keep them for life; I had these gorgeous boots I bought in Paris resold three times. Not only does it save you money and reduce waste, but you can also skip breaking them in.
It may sounds cheap, but somebodies trash is another treasure.
This goes without saying right?
There are so many little things we can do everyday by making a small conscious effort. Whether it is conserving water by using your dishwasher instead of hand washing plates or replacing plastic toothbrushes’ with a biodegradable bamboo alternative such as Eco Brush, every conscious decision helps. Go paperless for all your bills and put a no-junk sticker on your mailbox encouraging people to stop sending you junk in the first place! Find something that makes it fun, especially if you have kids. If you are interested in water conservation, put buckets out in the rain with your kids and ask them to help water the garden, the more they are involved the more sustainability will be ingrained in their psyche and kids learn through action.
Want to take it one step further? Add Respect, Replant and Reinvest. Respect the environment and replant what you can. Most importantly, reinvest in a sustainable future. Try to ethically source as many products. Stay away from blood diamonds, palm oil and non-fair trade coffee and other products that are causing deforestation, pollution, and exploitation. The most powerful thing we can all do is direct corporations to be more ethical and sustainable by directing your purchasing power. I hope you found these small actions helpful, simple and straightforward.
We would love to know your thoughts on more Eco-friendly actions to create a sustainable future! Share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comment section below.
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