Now more than ever, as we face a future where the climate of our planet will get worse and worse, everyone needs to start contributing to the well being of our world. Humans are selfish. It’s a fact. The other day, I was driving down a highway when the car in front of me threw a hamburger wrapper out their car window. I was shocked at this entitlement I saw. Could this person not wait until they got home or stopped for gas and emptied their trash the appropriate way? Instead, the wrapper will sit on the side of the road until an animal comes for it or a kinder human walks along to pick up all the other trash that litters the streets. We may live here, but this planet is not ours. We share this planet with many other species, and if we aren’t kind to the earth, it will not be kind in return. And it’s not that hard. There are many easy ways to live a sustainable lifestyle that have a larger impact than keeping a recycling bin under the sink.
1.) Use cloth napkins and paper towels.
I’m not saying you should get rid of paper towels altogether, but just by keeping a pack of flour sack towels around you can greatly reduce the amount of paper you use. My husband and I were going through so many paper products each week when I had a 12 pack of flour sack towels in my closet. I cut four into quarters to use as napkins, four in half to use in place of paper towels, and kept four whole to use as dish towels. These are much more durable than paper and save so much money. Just throw them in the wash every week to use again and again!
2.) Reusable Straws
I have been drinking a smoothie each day for the last couple months. At first, I was using disposable straws, but when they ran out I realized that I had gone through so many and had to go buy more. But when looking into reusable straws, I found that they were actually really cheap and lasted a really long time (and so much cuter than plain old bendy straws). I bought a pack of copper straws (because I’m basic like that), but you can buy stainless steel, glass, and heavy plastic ones.
I absolutely love the convenience of Ziploc bags and plastic wrap, but not only are these bad for your health, but these are not environmentally friendly. There are so many great storage options that will not only by greener, but also help you keep your fridge and pantry organized. First, you can buy some pyrex storage containers. These make reheating leftovers a breeze, and cleanup isn’t too bad either. You can also throw these (gently, ‘cause they are glass) in your bag to take to work or school. Second, find reusable alternatives. I use reusable bags for taking fruit and snacks on the go, along with using Beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap. You can even wrap up food for your lunch box with these. Finally, get some mason jars. These are the super cheap alternative, and they can be used for cups, storage, crafts, and decor.
4.) Carry a water bottle
I few months back I made a resolution to stop drinking soda. When we would go out to eat, I would ask for a cup of water, and they always give you these tiny little cups. I would be refilling my water a good 5-10 times per meal. I started bringing my Hydro Flask with me to restaurants instead. It holds much more water, plus I am not using as many plastic cups that the restaurants will just toss in the trash. If you bring a reusable cup to Starbucks, they’ll give you a discount on your drink!
5.) Stop eating red meat
To be honest, I did this because red meat made me sick. BUT, Climate Central’s studies have shown that producing beef is extremely inefficient. The amount of land used (and deforestation for land to raise cattle) on top of the amount of water needed to produce and prepare beef, is extremely bad for the environment. Just by reducing the amount of red meat you use could help a lot. Switch to chicken and fish, don’t cook red meat at home and only get it when you eat out, or become a vegetarian! This is one of the biggest factors in climate change.
While living a waste free life would be ideal, it can be really hard for most people. Do what you can to conserve and sustain. There are many other easy ways to live sustainably as well! Do your research and figure out what works for you!
Thanks for reading,