Sustainability is a popular word these days as Millennials and Gen-Z continue to show their dedication to the environment. Unfortunately, many people still don’t go green because they think changes will be time-consuming and expensive. That’s simply not true. There are many easy and affordable ways to live more sustainably. The most difficult part is breaking old habits and practicing new ones. Here are sustainability hacks for your day-to-day life.
Store Food in Reusable Food Containers
Instead of wrapping your food in plastic or using plastic baggies every day that get thrown in the trash when you’re done, try using reusable food containers. While, yes, these are made of plastic, which can be harmful to the environment if thrown out, you should aim not to throw them out. They are designed to be washed and reused to prevent waste.
Drink From Reusable Bottles
Running into your local grocery store and purchasing a large pack of plastic water bottles might seem like the best solution to always have water nearby. While these plastic bottles can be recycled, many people throw them in the waste bin. Instead of accidentally throwing away a recyclable item, you can use reusable bottles that can be washed in your dishwater or by hand.
One place you can always find plastic water bottles is your workplace. Instead of constantly replenishing packs of water bottles in the office, you can talk to your employer about having everyone bring a reusable water bottle with the company logo on it to help reduce waste.
Try Reusable Coffee Cups
You typically get single-use coffee cups at your coffee shop or in your workplace. At home, you enjoy your coffee with your favorite mug. Coffee cups cannot be recycled because of the wax coating in them. Instead, these cups are incinerated or sent to a landfill because they’re too expensive to recycle.
You can stop using single-use coffee cups by bringing your own reusable coffee cup or mug to work. In some coffee shops, you may be able to ask if they can use your reusable coffee cup or sell you one with your order.
Eliminate Use of Plastic Straws
Straws are something we rarely think about, but they are made of plastic, which contributes to waste in landfills and the ocean. When you order drinks, ask for them without a straw. If you can’t live without straws, then you can purchase your very own reusable straw that’s made of glass or stainless steel. Keep these straws in your car or purse when you need them the most.
Use Your Own Shopping Bags
When you go grocery shopping, you come home with a ton of plastic bags. Many people put all of their shopping bags into another shopping bag and keep them around the house because it seems like a shame to throw them out. Unfortunately, these bags are never to be heard of again.
Instead of accumulating plastic grocery bags or throwing them out as soon as you’re done with them, you can use reusable shopping bags. Or, you can ask for paper bags at the grocery store.
Make Tea Differently
Single-use paper tea bags are known to have toxins and pesticides in them, which can be dangerous to your health. Many tea bags are even made with non-biodegradable materials. Instead of making your tea with a single-use tea bag, try a reusable tea strainer. Tea strainers come in a variety of different shapes and sizes.
You can purchase a teapot that comes with a stainless steel strainer or purchase a rubber strainer for single use.
Remember, once you stop using single-use tea bags, you’ll need to start buying loose leaf tea instead. Some of these teas come in packaging made of paper that’s 100% recyclable, while others come in a metallic tin you can use for something else once all of the tea is gone.
Wash With Bar Soap
Liquid soaps come in plastic containers or soap pumps. Liquid soap dispensers can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Not to mention, the plastic container isn’t as efficiently recycled as you’d think.
When it comes to the soap you use in your home, consider a switch to bar soaps that come without packaging or with paper packaging which can be recycled. Bar soap offers the same benefits as liquid soap when it comes to cleansing your skin, but without plastic.
Avoid Chemical Cleaners
Chemical cleaners, like bleach, come in plastic bottles and are full of toxic chemicals that can harm the environment and the living creatures within it. Instead of using chemicals to clean your home, try using vinegar, baking soda, lemon, and essential oils. You can purchase all-natural cleaners from ethical brands to reduce your carbon footprint.
Add a Recycling Bin to Your Home
Almost all homes have multiple garbage bins, but very few have a single recycling bin inside the home. Many homeowners have a recycling bin in the garage that hardly gets full. Luckily, as more and more people realize their actions have a direct effect on the environment, more people are investing in recycling bins inside their homes.
According to SmartMove, recycling solutions are one way landlords can satisfy modern tenants focused on sustainability and eco-friendliness. Adding a recycling bin to your home will increase the likelihood of recycling. If you can never remember what’s recyclable and what isn’t, you can write out a list and tape it on the outside of the bin.
Stop Using So Much Electricity
Electricity is a necessity for many of us, but you can find ways to use less of it. For example, if you’re not currently charging your phone, you should unplug your phone charger. Anything plugged into your outlets is using energy that doesn’t need to be used right away. This increases your energy usage throughout the month. By simply unplugging things around the house when they are not being used, you can save on your electrical bill.
You can also turn your thermostat down or up depending on the season to ensure you’re not overcooling or overheating your home, especially when you’re not in it.