7 Easy Ways to be More Sustainable

With climate change being one of the most significant issues in the world right now, I find it difficult to sit back and not do my part to help. Even though there are few people in the world with the power to control decisions that influence aspects such as carbon emissions, energy, and waste, there are still easy ways to help out on an individual level. Producing less waste in everyday life can usually end up being more cost-efficient in the long run as well. This list is not accessible to every person in the world because some people have specific needs medically, geographically, or economically. But, if it is possible for you, these small acts can make a big impact on the health of our planet:

 

1. Use Reusable Bags and Water Bottles

You’ve probably heard it hundreds of times, but a great way to reduce plastic is by using a reusable water bottle or a reusable shopping bag. Plastic bags and plastic water bottles take centuries to decompose in landfills and can fall in the hands of a naive creature that mistakes plastic for something delicious. By going with more reusable products, you are actively creating less waste in your everyday life and living a more sustainable lifestyle.

 

2. Try Zero Waste Shopping

Purchasing bulk items at the store is an easy way to reduce the amount of packaging or waste in your life. For example, buying a large cardboard container of oats instead of buying individually wrapped plastic packages of oatmeal is more environmentally friendly and can even be more inexpensive in the long run. An easy switch is going from plastic bottles of soap to bar soap. Another one is buying produce that is just on its own. For example, don’t buy a bag of apples in a plastic bag or a pre-sliced apple put into more packaging. Just buy the apple as it is. 

 

3. Thrift Shopping

Buying clothes from thrift shops is the second step of the famous saying “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!” Reviving the life of clothes that others are no longer using is a great way to reduce your impact on the amount of waste and pollution from the fast fashion industry. Not only is thrifting sustainable, it’s also super fun! Finding unique items to wear is equally rewarding and satisfying. 

 

4. Eat and Shop Locally 

Supporting local businesses is another way to stray away from the unsustainable world of fast fashion or chain restaurants or supermarkets with unethical ideals. Local farmers markets are the best places to purchase food. Locally sourced produce requires very little environmental degradation compared to shopping at a large corporation. 

 

5. Use Reef-safe Sunscreen

When you’re packing for a beach day, you run through a list in your head: towel, beach blanket, sunglasses, sunscreen. Knowledge of the importance of SPF has been growing these days, but the last thing on most people’s minds is the actual ingredients that are in their sunscreen. A chemical called oxybenzone is found in many brands that people slap on their skin unknowingly. What seems like a quick dip in the ocean can lead to those harmful chemicals dispersing from your skin into the ecosystem. If you ever plan to enter a body of water, make sure that your sunscreen is reef-safe and free of oxybenzone. The ocean is not solely for humans; it is something we share with all of the aquatic creatures and we should respect their home. 

 

6. Go Vegan!

Asking someone to go vegan is a very intimidating and possibly an unrealistic thing to expect from them. As a five-year vegan myself, I can say that it was one of the best decisions of my life. I have read countless articles and have watched about ten documentaries on the degradation that the meat, dairy, and fishing industries have on our planet. If quitting these products cold turkey seems unrealistic, just cutting the amount of animal products in your diet down to half has such a significant impact on your environmental footprint. 

 

7. Use Your Voice and Your Vote

Even though individual acts can go a long way, there are few people in the world that have significant power over such large issues like climate change. Unfortunately, not everything is in our hands. If you have the ability to do so, use your voice and your vote to stand for what you believe in. The planet needs us.