Sustainable living has been the hot topic of 2019. If you haven’t heard of the climate crisis, then you must have been living under a rock! Following a lengthy protest in the heart of London, the UK government declared an official climate emergency. It seems as though sustainable living is on the cusp of being the new norm.
But how can you live sustainably? Isn’t it loads of effort and way too expensive? Not really. At least, not anymore. Especially if you make smarter choices. There are more eco-conscious options than ever before on the market. Plus, making better choices doesn’t necessarily mean buying new things.
While your new years resolutions might be long forgotten, it’s not too late to make a change. So let’s make 2019 your most sustainable year yet!
1 // Shop smarter. This is the biggest mistake people make when trying to live sustainably. You don’t need to buy more in order to be eco friendly! Look at what you already own, and shop accordingly to fill in the gaps.
So don’t go throwing out your plastic tupperware just to replace it with metal alternatives. And don’t bother investing in expensive bamboo cutlery sets when you have perfectly good cutlery at home! Remember, it’s single use plastic you want to try and avoid, not all plastic.
2 // Avoid fast fashion. The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluting industries on the planet. It’s responsible for 8% of all global carbon emissions, and uses 93 billion cubic metres of fresh water resources per year. Instead of your weekly or monthly hauls, try shopping second-hand, or use what you already have! The average garment is only ever worn 7 times on average before going to landfill. Be the change! Wear your items until they fall apart. While you may believe you have nothing to wear, you might surprise yourself with what’s hiding at the back of your wardrobe.
3 // Get a reusable water bottle and download the Refill app. The easiest change you can implement into your routine is ditching bottled water. Not only does it save you money, but it keeps you hydrated too. You can find reusable bottles anywhere; from your local supermarket to the corner shop. The Refill app is a particularly handy tool when you’re on the go. It shows you all your local refill spots, getting rid of the temptation to buy bottled water!
4 // Ditch driving. No, I’m not asking you to sell your car and walk everywhere for the rest of your life. Living in a rural area, I know exactly how impossible that would be. But before you grab your keys, ask yourself, “is this a journey I could make on foot/by public transport?”. Do you really need to drive to the corner shop? Probably not. Save yourself the hassle of finding a parking space and ditch the car every once in a while.
5 // Take part in meat free Mondays. The agricultural industry is a very guilty party in terms of climate decline. Both ethically and environmentally, it’s just not great. But not everybody has the means or the motivation to lead a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, myself included.
In an effort to reduce your impact on the planet, Meatless Mondays can be a great alternative. It can also be thought of as a fun challenge and a way to get creative with your meals. Not only that, but red meat consumption has been linked with various types of cancers and type 2 diabetes.
6 // Be prepared. Now I know I said sustainable living was easy, but I saved the hardest for last. It’s difficult to be prepared, especially if you’re someone who makes spontaneous decisions. But try to think ahead – if you think you’ll want to eat out, maybe consider taking some tupperware and cutlery with you. Think you might go shopping? Take a reusable tote bag or two. Want to stay hydrated? Take your reusable bottle, coffee cup, or metal/bamboo straw.
Hopefully this has given you some inspiration on how to live a little more sustainably. Starting small can make the transition so much easier, you’ll hardly notice the difference. Remember, trying to be more sustainable doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. We don’t need one person doing sustainability perfectly, we need lots of people doing it imperfectly.
Being eco-conscious doesn’t have to break the bank, and hopefully these tips will have helped to prove this. If you’re smart about the way you make your changes, it’ll come naturally.
Good luck with your sustainable living journey, make the next 6 months of 2019 your most sustainable yet!