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10 Ways You Can Make Your Life More Sustainable Right Now
All big changes start with a little bit of effort. Here are some small ways you can improve your footprint on the world. They all add up.
Trying to take care of the planet and do your part can feel really daunting. Do you need to give up meat entirely? Trade your car in for something electric? Throw away every beauty product you own? There’s a sentiment of all-or-nothing out there, but the truth is that doing something—anything—is a step in the right direction. And it doesn’t always have to be a big, sweeping change. Sometimes, the littlest things you do can make the largest impact on your life, and on the world around you. Read on for ten ways you can get more sustainable almost immediately, and start making some changes.
1.BYOEverything. You drink coffee and exercise every day, right? That means that one of the easiest things you can do right now is to invest in a re-usable coffee mug and a stainless steel water bottle. Tuck them in your work bag and your gym bag so that you’re never without, and while you’re at it, pick up a silicone straw for all your cold drinks. You’ll be able to eliminate a lot of your single use plastic quickly!
2.Wash your clothes in cold water. It’s no secret that you sweat through your workouts—and go through workout clothes quickly. So because you’re already doing plenty of loads of laundry, make an easy change by washing them all with cold water to save energy. Bonus points if you hang your clothes to dry, too. Most are made with moisture wicking fabrics, so they’ll air out very quickly.
3.Pack reusable grocery bags. Store canvas totes in your car trunk for your inevitable grocery runs after work. Once you unload, make sure to put them back in your car so that you won’t forget them on your next trip.
4.Turn your thermostat down two degrees. In the winter, keeping the house just a few degrees colder than you might think is comfortable can have a huge energy impact, and odds are, you’ll barely even notice it.
5.Go meatless once a week. No one is expecting you to go from a carnivore to a vegan overnight—or expecting that at all, come to think of it. But if you can switch your lifestyle from eating meat every day to eating eat six days a week, that’s a start. And if you can make sure that the meat you do consume is organic, pasture-raised, and grass-fed, that’s even better.
6.Shop smarter. You pay attention to what you put in your body, so you should pay attention to what goes in your clothes, too. Read tags for fabrics, and look for markings on websites—Reebok will tell you when clothes and shoes are made with recycled polyster, and other sustainable fabrics.
7.Try a deodorant detox. One simple way that you can be better to your body and the environment is by switching to a cleaner, aluminum-free deodorant. Obviously your deodorant needs to stand up to a lot of sweat, and people avoid this process because it can be, well, a little unpleasant. To facilitate things, try a face mask on your underarms to detox, then switch to the cleaner deodorant. It sounds crazy, but it works!
8.Recycle your old clothes. If your closet has a one-in, one-out rule, and you just have to make room for those new leggings or sneakers, donating them is always a great option. But if they still have a lot of life left in them, you can sell them on thredUP, a marketplace for consigned and thrifted clothing. It extends the life-cycle of clothing, and creates less of a demand for new, new, new everything.
9.Eat out less. You already try to meal plan like a boss, but it goes without saying that the less you eat out in restaurants, the less food you’ll waste. Dining out is one of the largest sources of wasted foods in the world, but when you cook for yourself, you tend to only make what you’ll eat, and then hang on to the leftovers.
10.Move more. Think about where you go in a day. Some trips are probably long, and some are a lot shorter. Now imagine swapping your car on those shorter trips for a bike, or your own two feet. Eliminating the amount and distances that you drive can have a large impact on your carbon emissions, which lightens your footprint. Plus, you’ll get a little bit more activity in your day, and that never hurts.