Effective Ways to Be More Sustainable

Almost everyone likes the idea of being more sustainable. But following through with a sustainable lifestyle can be difficult. For many folks, it comes down to not knowing where to begin. They might make some …


Almost everyone likes the idea of being more sustainable. But following through with a sustainable lifestyle can be difficult. For many folks, it comes down to not knowing where to begin. They might make some changes here and there – but are they effective? What more can be done?

The truth is there are many ways to be more sustainable. Some are easier than others. The suggestions below are simple yet effective ways to live more sustainably starting now:

Consume less meat

Most people in the western world insist on eating meat with every meal; bacon or sausage for breakfast, chicken or turkey for lunch, and beef or pork for dinner. But skipping the meat as often as possible is not only healthier, it’s more sustainable. Consider an acai bowl with granola instead of a sausage egg and cheese biscuit. Rather than eat that chicken sandwich for lunch, try a mushroom burger. For dinner, swap the red meat for Impossible-brand alternatives. Relax, carnivores; we’re not saying to go totally vegan or even vegetarian! Simply skipping meat a few times a week is an excellent start to sustainable living.

Recycle the right way

Most people these days happily participate in their local recycling program. However, many folks make the mistake of recycling the wrong items and doing so in a way that – while well-intentioned – makes things difficult for the collectors and processors. Read this guide on responsible recycling habits. For instance, many things are better off getting donated than recycled. You also want to avoid bagging your recyclables. Instead, place them loosely into the bin. It’s also essential to know which items can’t be recycled, such as batteries, clothes, and styrofoam.

Reuse as often as possible

From plastic food containers to glass jars with lids, there are many items we throw away after using once that can be used again. They can even be used in ways completely different from their original purpose. For instance, an old sauce jar can be used for spare change. A plastic container can be washed and dried and used to store small items. There’s really no limit to reusability, other than our imagination.

Say no to disposables

If the typical person tried reusing every disposable container they received, there’d be a massive pile of glass and plastic in their house before the end of the month. The best approach is to limit the number of disposable products you use in the first place. This goes beyond containers and extends to paper towels, plastic straws, plastic ponchos, and cheap clothes. Say no to these and other disposable products as often as possible. You can’t avoid them all, but limiting the number will make a huge difference.

Buy products built to last

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to be more sustainable is to limit the times you have to replace a product. Examples include everything from shoes to motor vehicles. Someone who goes through three pairs of tennis shoes and one car per decade will invariably leave a smaller carbon footprint than someone who buys new shoes every year and a new vehicle every three. The same goes for appliances, clothing, electronics, and furniture.

Use mass transit

Not everyone lives near a bus line or subway system. However, millions of people do, and they can make a massive dent in their carbon footprint by opting for mass transit as often as possible. Even those living beyond the reaches of their nearest mass transit system can opt to ride a bicycle or walk more often to offset or even eliminate their contribution to carbon in the atmosphere and reliance on fossil fuels.

Get acclimated to warmer summers and brisker winters

It’s tempting to crank up the heat when it’s cold outside and run the air conditioner when summer strikes. However, doing so consumes a tremendous amount of energy. We aren’t suggesting you freeze to death or boil alive for the sake of the environment. But simply making an effort to live comfortably with the thermostat set to 72F/22C in the summer and 65F/19C in the winter can be enough. This can be done by using open windows and limited clothing in summer and proper insulation coupled with sweaters in winter.

Sustainable living doesn’t have to mean a drastic lifestyle change. Simply making a few changes and adjustments is enough to live sustainably.

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