10 Easy Things to Make Your Life More Sustainable
You want to make your lifestyle greener, but you can’t afford solar panels or a Tesla. Relax. There are smaller things you can do to live more sustainability. From switching to a fountain pen to signing up for a Freecycle account, these little things don’t cost much and are really easy to do. Here’s how you can save the earth one reusable sandwich bag at a time.
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Lose the Plastic Bags and Plastic Wrap
There are so many alternatives to wrapping your lunch and your leftovers in disposable petroleum-based products! You can get reusable bags for food made of canvas and silicone. You can get a reusable bag made of a non-toxic plastic that zips up. Another option is adorable fabric wraps for food that stay put through the power of beeswax. Warm the fabric with your hands and the wax softens. Drape it over the bowl or wrap a bit of food in it, and the wax cools, creating a seal. Learn how to make your own>>
Use All-Natural Cleaning Products
Cleaning your house doesn’t have to mean dirtying the planet. Use products made from safe, non-toxic ingredients that don’t harm the environment. Conventional cleaners include harmful ingredients like formaldehyde, chloroform, and 1,4-dioxane that end up in the air and water. If you mix up your own cleaners, you also skip one-use, disposable packaging that’s used in many products. How to Make Three All-Natural Cleaning Sprays>>
Drink From the Tap
All the bottled water we chug in the name of clean water is strangling the planet with plastic. People, we don’t need it. Most city water supplies have safe, fresh water. If you don’t like tap water’s taste, get a home filtration system, even if it’s just a water-filtering pitcher you keep in the fridge. If you like the convenience of bottled water, get a refillable one and keep it with you at all times.
Use Glass Storage Containers for Food
It’s good you keep those leftovers instead of adding them to the 161 billion pounds of food Americans send to landfills. Store that food in glass containers instead of those plastic ones. You’re won’t be completely plastic-free, because most glass containers on the market have plastic lids, but you’ll use a lot less of it. If you want to be totally plastic-less, IKEA makes a line of glass containers with bamboo lids. Or look for vintage Depression-Era containers with glass lids (and fabulous Art Deco style.)
Skip Fast Fashion
Fast fashion — the trendy, dirt-cheap duds that fill the racks at low-cost clothing chains — is good for your budget but bad for the planet. The U.S. alone sends more than 21 billion pounds of old clothes to landfills every year. Instead of buying the latest style for a song and tossing it at the end of the season, invest in high-quality pieces in classic styles that will last for years. And shop at thrift stores and consignment and vintage shops for used clothes. Recycled fashion rocks.
Put Up a Clothesline
Letting sunshine and breezes dry your clothes is peak green living. That fresh air makes your clothes smell great! And air-drying your clothes cuts your household’s carbon footprint by 10 percent. There are more than 90 million clothes dryers in the U.S., so if all of us line-dried half of our laundry, we’d reduce the nation’s residential carbon output by 3 percent.
Swap Out Your Old Light Bulbs With LEDs
LED bulbs use up to 80 percent less electricity than traditional bulbs. This means power plants that belch greenhouse gases don’t have to run as much to keep the lights on when they’ve got LED bulbs in them. If even half of the 127 million light bulb-using American households would use LED bulbs, the impact on our air would be ginormous. Another benefit to LEDs: They last an average of 14 times longer, meaner fewer dead bulbs end up in landfills.
Buy a Razor That Will Last the Rest of Your Life
Stop buying disposable razors and disposable razor cartridges. Buy a safety razor. That’s what you call a metal one that uses all-metal replacement blades. You’ll get a better shave and stop sending dead plastic razors to landfills. Safety razors a lovely example of retro industrial design, so your shave will be like time traveling to the 1930s. Women, you can use these, too.
Resell and Donate Your Used Things
You may not want it, need it, or use it anymore, but someone else out there does. Find a new owner for your stuff by donating it to a thrift store, taking it to a consignment store, or listing it for sale or giveaway on Facebook, Craig’s List, Next Door, Freecycle, or any other social media that connects people who don’t want an item with people who do.
Go Retro With a Good Pen
Get a classy, refillable pen. They make whatever you write feel so significant, even if it’s just a grocery list. In earlier generations, a pen was a tool we kept for years, an attitude we should rediscover. Bic celebrated making its 100 billionth disposable pen more than a decade ago, so there are at least 100 billion empty pens in landfills and oceans right now. Refillable pens write better, too.