Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is commendable, but it can be tough to keep up with all the “rules.” Some people can be really intense about what does and doesn’t qualify as green living, which can push others away from even trying. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Gatekeeping is not doing anyone any favors, and any step you take to be more environmentally conscious is a great one. If this is something you’re interested in, but aren’t sure where to start, there are a few simple changes you can make to live more sustainably without disrupting your life too much.
1. Make Coffee At Home
Most people will agree that coffee is an amazing drink – it’s one of the most popular beverages in the world, after all. But did you know that your daily trip to the café is actually pretty bad for the environment? Those disposable coffee cups really add up, and even if you recycle them, they can’t be used again. And those plastic lids? They’re not recyclable at all. Plus, there’s the whole issue of deforestation that comes with paper cups. One of the key zero waste coffee tips that’s pretty easy to do is to make your coffee at home. You can get a great reusable mug and some eco-friendly coffee filters, and you’re good to go. It’ll save you money in the long run, too! If you’re feeling up for it, you can even get ethically sourced, organic, and fair-trade coffee beans. Extra bonus tips if it comes in a package you can compost!
2. Bring Your Own Shopping Bags
If you’re like most people, you probably have a stash of plastic shopping bags somewhere in your house. And if you’re really like most people, you only use them when you forget your reusable bags at home. It’s not that we’re all forgetful, it’s just that sometimes it’s easier to use the plastic bags that stores provide. But those plastic bags are really bad for the environment – they take hundreds of years to decompose, and in the meantime, they’re polluting the land and water. So next time you head to the store, make sure to bring your own shopping bags. You can get some really cute and stylish ones that fold up small so you can always have them with you. Because they’re easy to carry – they really don’t take up much space at all, you can keep one in the bags you use the most in your day-to-day so that you’re never caught without them.
3. Meal Plans
One of the best things you can do for the environment is to waste less food. It might not seem like it, but all that food we throw away has a pretty big carbon footprint. And it’s not just the wasted food itself – it’s also all the energy and resources that went into growing, harvesting, transporting, and storing it. Not to mention that it doesn’t do any favors for your wallet either. A good way to not only benefit the environment but also painlessly reduce your budget for groceries is to create weekly meal plans for yourself. Try to think of the dishes you’d like to eat within a week – ideally, those would be different ones (so that your taste buds are satisfied) that use similar ingredients. That way, when you go shopping, you’ll know exactly what you need and won’t have any food going to waste. Plus, cooking at home is almost always healthier than eating out!
4. Buy Local
When you buy local, you’re doing a lot of good – for the environment and for the local economy. It cuts down on transportation emissions because the food doesn’t have to travel as far, and it’s usually fresher since it didn’t spend days or weeks in transit. Plus, you get the added benefit of supporting businesses in your community. When you buy from big box stores, the profits usually go to shareholders who may not even live in your town or city. But when you buy local, you know that your money is going back into the community. And that’s a good feeling. Of course, it’s also better for your health since the products usually don’t contain as many preservatives.
5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
You’ve probably heard this one a million times, but it really is the key to living sustainably. And it’s not as hard as it sounds! A good way to start is by reducing your consumption. Do you really need that new shirt? Can you repair the one you have instead of throwing it away? Can you bring your own coffee mug from home instead of using a disposable one? And when you do need to buy something new, try to find something that’s reusable or made from recycled materials. There are a lot of great sustainable brands out there that sell everything from clothes to furniture to beauty products. And when it comes time to recycle, make sure to do your research so you know what can and can’t be recycled in your area.
Making a few small changes in your daily life can really add up to a big difference for the environment. And it doesn’t have to be hard! Just start with one or two of these tips and see how easy it is to live a little more sustainably.