Updated: Jan 17, 2021
Living sustainably is becoming increasingly important as our planet is being threatened by climate change, plastic pollution, and other pressing environmental issues. However, starting your journey towards a sustainable lifestyle can make you feel overwhelmed because of all the information available. Where do you start? What is most important?
In this article, we will share our top 5 beginner-friendly sustainability tips, to get you started. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, as there are so many ways to live greener!
1. Buy plastic-free
Plastic is piling up in our landfills and oceans – and it will keep polluting our planet for hundreds of years to come. Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean and the number is only expected to grow unless we act fast.
One of the best ways to live more sustainably is to choose plastic-free whenever you can. Food is one of the largest sources of plastic leaving our homes – opt for buying your produce plastic-free or package-free and when you can’t avoid packaging, choose groceries in paper, glass or metal rather than plastic. Cosmetics also frequently come packaged plastic-free in glass – or even better, completely package free – so give those a try. Overall, consider the materials products are made from and packaged in before you buy them.
2. Shop second-hand
One of the best ways to conserve the environment is to buy second-hand rather than new. We live in a throw-away culture ran by linear economy – where resources make their way from one way to the other and are designed to be discarded.
Shopping second-hand, on the other hand, supports a circular economy concept, where resources stay in rotation. Clothing, electronics, furniture, books… the list goes on – buying them pre-loved can significantly reduce your footprint. Nowadays, there are many online options and there’s no need to even venture into a physical thrift store!
3. Eat more plants
Recent data shows that the types of foods we eat have a big impact on what our carbon footprint is – and plant-based products have 10 to 50 times lower carbon footprint than their animal-based counterparts.
Beef, lamb, mutton, and cheese have by far the biggest impact, so swapping those for chicken or vegetarian options can help you reduce your carbon footprint massively and increase your overall sustainability.
4. Make use of public transport or carpool
Public transport is a wonderful way to cut your contribution to climate change! However, in some parts of the world, such as the US, public transport is not as efficient as it is in others.
In those cases, carpooling with friends, family or colleagues who have a similar journey to yours is a great option which also helps improve your overall sustainability.
5. Buy local
Supporting small, local businesses not only helps improve your environmental sustainability but also boosts the economy in your local area. From a social point of view, it helps individual people living in your area, rather than giving money to multinational corporations. Environmentally, buying local does much more than reduce your carbon footprint because products do not need to be transported over vast distances. Small and independent businesses also tend to be more eco-friendly and offer more plastic-free or package-free options, as their impact directly reflects on the local area.