It’s estimated that by 2050 the world’s population will reach a staggering 10 billion, bringing an even higher demand for food, housing, water, and all other natural resources. No wonder more and more people across the globe have become eco-conscious, looking for new opportunities to contribute to the common cause of saving our amazing planet.
A sustainable lifestyle has been a huge trend for quite a while now, but do we understand the depth of this concept?
- Is it enough to stop using plastic bags, recycle glass, and from time to time donate clothes we are not going to wear anymore?
- Can we do more?
- What other lifestyle decisions can put our planet at risk or, on the contrary, make it a better place to live for everyone?
If you are one of those who do care, check out our practical guide to living a sustainable lifestyle. Chances are you will be surprised to learn that environmental sustainability is not about living without all the awesome things you love and enjoy but about making slight adjustments to your lifestyle.
And the best part? These simple tweaks are not time-consuming, they don’t require a lot of effort, and, last but not least, they save you money!
17 Practical Guide to Living a Sustainable Lifestyle
While millions of people in certain parts of the world do not have access to clean water, we often waste it without giving the topic a second thought.
Why not implement a few tweaks to reduce household water use and help save the most valuable resource on Earth?
First, install a water-efficient showerhead and add aerators to your sink faucets.
Secondly, opt for dual-flush toilets that let you make an eco-friendly choice to use just a half-flash for liquid waste.
Another way to save water is by using cloth and dishwashers that automatically sense the minimal amount needed for each load.
Drink From The Tap
Tap water across the UK is rigorously and regularly tested to ensure it is clean and safe for human consumption.
As incredible as it may seem, most people rely on bottled water because they believe it’s safer and better tasting. Well, this statement is pretty questionable given that many bottles are derived from city water supplies – you knew that, didn’t you?
Whatever the reason you avoid drinking tap water, think of a million tons of plastic tossed around every year. If you do not want to drink from the tap, invest in a reliable filtration system, or purchase refillable bottles, you can keep in the fridge, in your car, and at the office.
Turn The Thermostat Down
Everyone enjoys a warm home during the colder months, but it doesn’t mean you have to wear a T-shirt. Consider keeping the heating temperature between 18 and 20 degrees, which is, by the way, the healthiest temp range.
Keep in mind that every extra degree you pump up the heater adds to the pollution and, as a result, causes climate change. Turning your thermostat down also saves on heating bills – another benefit worth a shot at.
Heat Your House With Wood
Did you know that wood heating is the only carbon-neutral option, which means it doesn’t contribute to global warming? Of course, heating with wood is not for every household, but people who do not live in crazy busy cities gladly take advantage of this 100% renewable fuel source.
More than that, kiln-dried logs burn hotter and last longer, but they are also free from insects and mold, meaning it is also a healthier option.
Say No To Plastic Bags And Straws
Millions of plastic bags end up in the ocean, while plastic straws are among the most common items on beaches worldwide. Plastic is the main global polluter that takes ages to break down, harming wildlife and causing serious environmental damage.
It is impossible to eliminate this material from our life as too many things we rely on daily have it in them, but it is possible to minimize its presence. The easiest way to reach this lofty goal is to say a firm no to plastic bags and straws, switching to reusable alternatives.
Use Reusable Cups
Did you know that UK consumers spend more than £4bn a year getting their caffeine fixes from high street coffee shops?
You don’t have to be a math whizz to determine the number of coffee cups that have ended up in the trash. The thing is, these cups are made from virgin materials rather than recycled paper. Therefore, they can’t be put in the recycling bins.
Perhaps, it’s time to enjoy your tea or coffee while staying inside your favorite place and chatting with friends or colleagues. If you are too busy and do not have a minute to waste on hobnobbing, get a reusable cup and take it with you.
Walk And Bike
Walking is great for your health, hence use every opportunity to slip out of your car and walk. Cycling is a popular outdoor hobby, but for many people (and some of your friends, too!), it is also a common way to get to work.
Both activities are inseparable from a healthy and sustainable lifestyle since they significantly reduce carbon emissions. The more people choose a more sustainable alternative, whatever is possible, the healthier our environment will be.
Use Public Transport
If you live too far from your workplace and walking or cycling is not an option, think of how you can make commuting more eco-friendly. One of the obvious solutions is carpooling – when more persons travel in the same car, they help save fossil fuels and decrease carbon emissions.
Alternatively, you can always leverage the full benefits of well-established public transport, just set aside a few minutes to figure out the best transit options that cater directly to your needs.
Upgrade Your Wardrobe
Clothes and shoes are a big part of the plot called a sustainable lifestyle. As an eco-conscious person, you must look closely at your wardrobe and some simple yet extremely important questions.
What do you do with old clothes? Do you use sustainable fabrics? Do you always buy new things?
Synthetic fabrics are cheaper, but they are all created using chemicals and plastic, which is automatically harmful to the environment, causing microplastic pollution.
In addition to that, they are not that comfortable to wear and often bad for your skin. The bottom line is you should strive to buy clothes made of natural fabrics that also have a longer life.
Again, do not overbuy – having a wardrobe chock-full of stuff you never wear is not that much fun. When you want to get rid of a piece you haven’t slipped into for a couple of years, do not just toss it but donate it to charity or a thrift store.
Another great option is just offering things you do not need anymore to people you know: neighbors, friends, or mums in the park.
You will prolong the life of your favorite piece and save many resources that would otherwise be spent to produce new clothes.
Resell And Donate
Many things, from books and phones to furniture and household appliances, can get their second life once resold or donated to other people.
Acting in such a way, you help reduce dependence on cheap products of low quality created to have an incredibly short life cycle or intended for single use. Instead of letting your high-quality things end up in landfills, consider giving them a second chance to serve the purpose.
Cut Your Food Waste
According to the latest WRAP report, household food waste (by weight) makes up about 70% of the UK post-farm-gate total. It’s estimated that by cutting food waste, an average household could save up to £700 per year while making far less waste.
If your fridge is too small to keep everything you regularly put inside, consider changing your consumer habits.
To start with, do not overbuy. Even if your favorite yogurt is on sale, do not get more than you can eat before it expires. When going shopping, have a list of what you need to cook your meals. Plan ahead.
When you have time, batch-cook and freeze.
Hence you know exactly what and how much to buy. It’s also a good idea to think of how you will use your leftovers – if anything, the internet is chock-full of all conceivable and inconceivable recipes.
Despite what you may think, eating locally is a powerful way to live a sustainable lifestyle. It’s common knowledge that supermarkets have changed our lives forever, bringing many exotic fruits and strange delicacies to our fingertips.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to deliver this extravaganza of flavors from the other side of the world?
When you buy fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, and other products grown at your place or derived from neighboring countries, you save a lot of fossil fuel energy.
Next time you go to the nearby supermarket, choose apples over passion fruit and local cheese over Cheddar from Australia.
Upgrade Your Lights
Introducing some adjustments to the lighting in your house can also make your lifestyle more sustainable. Nowadays, the market bursts with energy-efficient solutions to brighten up your space and save money.
Change your old bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) or LEDs (light-emitting diodes), which provide an excellent amount of brightness, last up to ten times longer, and cost far less than halogen and other types of incandescent lights.
Go Paper Free
Can you think of a better way to save trees than going paper-free?
Fortunately, making this dream come true has never been easier than it is today.
Nowadays, almost everything can be seen and done online, eliminating the need to print out various documents, from credit card statements and phone bills to books and manuals.
If your bank or service providers still send you some paper bills, ask them to switch entirely to online communication.
Recycle And Dispose Of Waste Properly
Even though every battery has a warning and instructions on properly disposing of it, many people still ignore the message.
The same is true for many toxic household chemicals, fluorescent lights, paint, and other things. It doesn’t matter whether you will toss your old TV or unused cleaning products, make sure that nothing ends up at the landfill unnecessarily, and poisons the environment.
Get Rid Of Disposables
Our grandparents couldn’t even dream of single-use cups, toothbrushes, razors, bags, sleepers, shampoos, and many other disposables.
While it’s easier to throw a plate or a fork away instead of washing it with water, the problem is that the majority of the environmental health issues were triggered by toxins released by trash. Do not buy single-use products unless it’s of utmost importance, giving preference to reusable items.
Look For Fair-Trade Products
When you buy imported products such as coffee, tea, or chocolate, look for the fair-trade certification designed to ensure consumers that sustainable methods of agriculture were used to produce them, as well as that the local people were fairly paid for their hard work.
As we promised at the beginning of this article, living a sustainable lifestyle is uncomplicated and doesn’t require much time or effort. What’s more, it contributes to your health and lets you save money – can you afford not to give it a shot?