With glaciers melting left and right, ocean levels rapidly creeping upwards, and landfills slowly covering the earth’s surface, taking steps to protect the environment in your own life is more important than ever. But where to start? Read on for our five tips to start living a more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle.
1. Sustainable Fashion
Did you know that fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world? The fast fashion industry promotes seasonal trends to encourage consumers to open their wallets and refill their wardrobe. But the constant trend mongering means that billions of pounds clothing end up in landfill every year. Not only is the fashion industry incredibly wasteful in terms of consumerism, clothing production is also incredibly land and water intensive, and heavily uses toxic chemicals. Fast fashion keeps clothing cheap and production fast by replacing natural fibers for cheaper synthetic materials such as polyester, which are made from fossil fuels that are terrible for the environment.
If you are trying to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, quitting fast fashion is a huge step in the right direction. Resist the lure of fleeting trends and only buy clothes you really love, that you know you will wear for years. Keep clothing out of the landfill by shopping secondhand. You’ll save a lot of money this way as well!
When making the switch to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, trade out synthetic fibers like polyester and acrylic for natural fibers such as wool, silk, and cotton which are much gentler on the environment. If you want to buy new clothing, shop at brands that prioritize sustainability. Eco friendly and ethically sourced fashion lines make sure that the fabrics being used are produced sustainably and that the factory labor used to manufacture their clothing protects and compensates their employees fairly. Eco friendly clothing lines tend to be more expensive than fast fashion retailers, but do a lot to cut down on the wastefulness of the clothing industry.
2. Minimize Food Waste
50% of produce in America is thrown away every week, adding up to 60 billion tons of produce annually. This is only 1/3 of the staggering amount of food thrown out every year in this country. Many of this perfectly edible, and completely biodegradable food waste ends up in the landfill, where it takes up space and breaks down slower.
Take responsibility for your own food waste by grocery shopping responsibly. Experts say that making frequent, smaller grocery runs to shop for specific recipes results in far less food waste than big bi-monthly trips to the supermarket. Buy only purchase what you know you will eat in the immediate future, and resist last minute impulse purchases that will end up rotting in your fridge.
In your own home, take on a more sustainable lifestyle by committing to composting your food scraps instead of tossing them in the kitchen trash. Check if your city does curbside pick up for compost. If not, you can make or purchase your own compost bin, or save your compost in the freezer in a paper bag and drop it off at a local community garden when it fills up.
3. Eco Friendly Home Décor
Your home can be both beautiful and sustainable. Stop buying wasteful knick-knacks that you will discard in a year and invest in thoughtful, eco friendly furnishings that will last you a lifetime. Instead of contributing to mindless consumerism, adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle by scouring flea markets, thrift stores, and antique shops and give unique, high quality pieces a second life. When shopping for new home décor, choose companies that are working to protect the planet. From doormats made from woven plastic bags, to organic cotton bed linens, there are many ways to decorate your pad while following a more sustainable lifestyle.
Feeling crafty? Turn trash to treasure by DIYing your own beautiful and affordable decorations. String bits and bobs together into an elegant mobile, or create planters from old yogurt tubs and milk jugs. Pinterest is a wealth of inspiration for eco friendly DIY décor.
4. Cut Back on your Gas
Cutting back on driving is the most obvious way of living a more sustainable lifestyle. Switching to an electric or hybrid car can seriously reduce your personal emissions. If a new hybrid car isn’t in your budget, you can still help the planet. Commit to riding your bike to work one day a week, or find a coworker to carpool with. Switching to public transportation just a few days a week can dramatically reduce your burden on the planet.
5. Say No to Disposables
One of the biggest ways to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle is to eliminate wasteful disposable in your life. Trade out paper towels in your kitchen in favor of cloth dish rags. Instead of accepting a paper or plastic cup every time you order a beverage, bring your own reusable travel thermos. Americans throw away 2.5 billion styrofoam coffee cups every year and 2.5 million plastic beverage bottles every hour. Even paper coffee cups cannot be recycled due to their wax coating.
If you buy one cup of coffee or tea in a disposable cup every day, you will have created 23 pounds of waste by the end of the year. Keep this trash out of the landfill by bringing your own cup. Not only are leading a more sustainable lifestyle, a double walled steel thermos will keep your drink hot for hours. Many coffee shops will even give you a discount for bringing your own cup! Win-win.
Drinking straws are also a major contributor to unnecessary waste. Americans throw away 500 million drinking straws everyday, which is enough straws to fill more than 125 school buses. Plastic straws cannot be recycled and go straight to the landfill. Not only do these plastic drinking straws not decompose, they are deeply damaging to wildlife. Many straws end up in the ocean where they end up killing sea turtles and other sea life. Do your part following a more eco friendly lifestyle by saying no to plastic straws and opting sip your beverages straw free instead. If you love the feeling of slurping your iced coffee through a straw, you can buy a reusable stainless steel straw instead. They come with a skinny brush for cleaning.
Support Responsible Brands
Protecting the earth is about making tiny eco-friendly choices everyday. Choose sustainability and ethical consumerism over convenience and do your part to keep our planet green. You can help support brands that encourage a more sustainable lifestyle when you shop for apparel and home decor at AlmaBoa.