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In 2019, it’s never been more effortless to transition to a more sustainable lifestyle. No longer do you have to hunt around for reusable/refillable tools that make your life easier. From canvas bags to reusable bottles to refillable coffee pods, there are infinite ways to reduce your footprint on our planet. Here are some of the easiest ways to start the switch:
1. Start at the grocery store. Keep an eye out for local, organic food and take it home with all those reusable bags you have stockpiled in the kitchen! Try to avoid pre-packaged produce and reuse plastic produce bags as much as you can instead. Or, replace them altogether with mesh or cloth bags!
2. When peeling and chopping your locally sourced veggies, save those scraps for a compost pile! Compost is a goldmine for growing a healthy garden, and it opens up space in your trash can for items that can’t be recycled or composted.
3. Here’s one we all know: recycle, recycle, recycle! All your cans, bottles and clean plastics should end up in a recycling bin to be made into something new.
4. Though, if we’re being honest, recycling isn’t as effective as using a reusable bottle. Invest in a container that’s durable, insulated, and stylish (aim for aluminum) and you’ll actually enjoy taking it with you.
5. Possibly the easiest change to make is quitting straws. Most people don’t need to use straws at all, let alone 2 or 3 a day, so try cutting those out if nothing else. You’ll be surprised how much you don’t miss them!
6. Consider phasing out your bottled shower products for unpackaged bar versions. You can often find local/organic soaps at farmers’ markets that are cheap and artisan quality. Or, for extra points, make shower products yourself!
7. When shopping for new summer looks, try a thrift store. Thrift stores support communities in a lot of great ways, and everything you find here will be a fraction of the cost of anything at the mall. Unethical fast fashion and textile industries are massive pollutants, so buying used clothing or clothing with ethical sourcing (like Wildly Good Merino Wool Socks!) are really great changes to make. Most thrift stores also usually have cheap housewares, electronics, and furniture that adds some great character to any space.
8. Consume less meat. I know--this one is tough to do, but it’s really important! Not only are animals treated cruelly when they’re raised for consumption, but incredible amounts of water usage and methane gas emissions are damaging to the environment. Try going meatless one meal a day, then for a day or two a week. This can be such an exciting opportunity to explore different ways to cook!
9. Regrow vegetables you buy from the grocery store if you’re new to gardening. The easiest place to start is with green onion: place the bulb in a few inches of water (enough to cover the roots) and give it some sun. That’s all it takes! Garlic, large onions, living herbs, and potatoes can also be easily sprouted and regrown at home.
10. Get outside! Exploring natural environments will do tremendous things for your awareness and empathy for the world around you--plus, this is nearly always free! When you go outside and interact with nature, you start to notice the trash, and that it definitely shouldn’t be there. Extra credit if you bring a bag with you to pick it up!
Have you made any of these easy changes in your day to day life yet? Like anything else, all it takes is time and practice!
Written by Avery Carlson