It’s estimated that by 2050 the world’s population will reach a staggering 10 billion, bringing an even higher demand for food, housing, water, and all other natural resources. No wonder that more and more people across the globe become eco-conscious, looking for new opportunities to contribute to the common cause of saving our amazing planet.
A sustainable lifestyle has been a huge trend for quite a while now, but do we really understand the depth of this concept? Is it enough to stop using plastic bags, recycle glass, and from time to time donate clothes we are not going to wear anymore? Can we do more? What other lifestyle decisions can put our planet at risk or, on the contrary, make it a better place to live for everyone?
If you are one of those who do care, check out our practical guide to living a sustainable lifestyle. Chances are you will be pretty surprised to find out that environmental sustainability is not about living without all the awesome things you love and enjoy but about making slight adjustments to your lifestyle.
And the best part? These simple tweaks are not time-consuming, they don’t require a lot of effort, and, last but not least, they save your money!
While millions of people in certain parts of the world do not have access to clean water, we often waste it without giving the topic a second thought. Why not try to implement a couple of tweaks to reduce household water use and help save the most valuable resource on Earth?
First of all, you can install a water-efficient showerhead and also add aerators to your sink faucets. Secondly, opt for dual-flush toilets that let you make an eco-friendly choice to use just a half-flash for liquid waste. Another way to save water is by using a cloth- and dish-washers that can automatically sense the minimal amount of water needed for each load.
Drink From The Tap
Tap water across the UK is rigorously and regularly tested to ensure it is clean and safe for human consumption. As incredible as it may seem, the great bulk of people rely on bottled water just because they believe it’s safer and better tasting. Well, this statement is pretty questionable given that many bottles are derived from city water supplies – you knew that, didn’t you?
Anyway, whatever the reason you avoid drinking tap water, think of a million tons of plastic being tossed every year. If you do not want to drink from the tap, invest in a reliable filtration system, or purchase refillable bottles you can keep in the fridge, in your car, and at the office.
Turn The Thermostat Down
Everyone enjoys a warm home during the colder months but it doesn’t mean you have to wear a T-shirt. Consider keeping the heating temperature between 18 and 20 degrees, which is, by the way, the healthiest temp range. Keep in mind that every extra degree you pump up the heater adds to the pollution and, as a result, causes climate change. Turning your thermostat down also means saving on heating bills – another benefit that is worth a shot.
Heat Your House With Wood
Did you know that wood heating is the only carbon-neutral option, which means it doesn’t contribute to global warming? Of course, heating with wood is not for every household but people who do not live in crazy busy cities gladly take advantage of this 100% renewable source of fuel.
Experts from https://www.buyfirewooddirect.co.uk/ explain that when using kiln dried logs, people are still burning a completely natural product that simply has less moisture than seasoned wood, hence provides for much cleaner and efficient heating. More than that, kiln dried logs not only burn hotter and last longer but they are also free from insects and mold, meaning it is also a healthier option.
Say No To Plastic Bags And Straws
Millions of plastic bags end up in the ocean while plastic straws are among the most common items found on the beaches all over the world. Plastic is the main global polluter that takes ages to break down, harming wildlife and causing serious damage to the environment.
It is not possible to eliminate this material entirely from our life as too many things we rely on every day have it in them, but it is absolutely possible to minimize its presence. The easiest way to reach this lofty goal is to say a firm no to plastic bags and straws, switching to reusable alternatives.
Use Reusable Cups
Did you know that UK consumers spend more than £4bn a year getting their caffeine fix from high street coffee shops? You don’t have to be a math whizz to figure out the eventual number of coffee cups that have ended up in the trash. The thing is, these cups are made from virgin materials rather than recycled paper, therefore they can’t be put in the recycling bins.
Perhaps, it’s time to enjoy your tea or coffee staying inside your favorite place and chatting with friends or colleagues. If you are too busy and do not have a single minute to waste on hobnobbing, get a reusable cup and take it with you.
Walk And Bike
Walking is great for your health, hence use every opportunity to slip out of your car and walk. Cycling is a popular outdoor hobby but for many people (and some of your friends too!) it is also a common way to get to work. Both activities are an inseparable part not only of a healthy but also a sustainable lifestyle since they contribute significantly to the decline of carbon emissions. The more people will choose a more sustainable alternative whatever it is possible, the healthier the environment we will live in.
Use Public Transport
If you live too far from your workplace and walking or cycling is not really an option, think of how you can make commuting more eco-friendly. One of the obvious solutions is carpooling – when more persons travel in the same car, they help save fossil fuels and decrease carbon emissions. Alternatively, you can always leverage the full benefits of well-established public transport, just set aside a couple of minutes to figure out the best transit options that cater directly to your needs.
Upgrade Your Wardrobe
Clothes and shoes are a big part of the plot called a sustainable lifestyle. As an eco-conscious person, you have to take a closer look at your wardrobe and some simple yet extremely important questions. Do you use sustainable fabrics? What do you do with old clothes? Do you always buy new things?
Synthetic fabrics are cheaper but they all are created with the use of chemicals and plastic, hence automatically harmful to the environment, causing microplastic pollution. In addition to that, they are not that comfortable to wear and often bad for your skin. The bottom line is, you should strive to buy clothes made of natural fabrics that also have a longer life.
Again, do not overbuy – having a wardrobe chock-full of stuff you never wear is not that much fun. When you want to get rid of a piece you haven’t slipped into for a couple of years, do not just toss but donate to charity or a thrift store. Another great option is just offering things you do not need anymore to people you know: neighbors, friends, or mums in the park. You will prolong the life of your favorite piece and save a lot of resources that otherwise would be spent to produce new clothes.
Resell And Donate
There are a plethora of things, from books and phones to furniture and household appliances that can get their second life once resold or donated to other people. Acting in such a way, you help reduce dependence on cheap products of low quality created to have an incredibly short life cycle or intended for single use. Instead of letting your high-quality things end up in landfills, consider giving them a second chance to serve the purpose.
Cut Your Food Waste
According to the latest WRAP report, household food waste (by weight) makes up about 70% of the UK post-farm-gate total. It’s estimated that by cutting food waste an average household could save up to £700 per year, at the same time, making far less waste. If you feel that your fridge is too small for keeping all the stuff you regularly put inside, consider changing your consumer habits.
To start with, do not overbuy. Even if your favorite yogurt is on sale, do not get more than you can eat before it expires. When going shopping, have a list of what you need to cook your meals. Plan ahead, hence you know exactly what and how much to buy. It’s also a good idea to think of the way you will use your leftovers – if anything, the internet is chock-full of all conceivable and inconceivable recipes. When you have time, batch-cook, and freeze.
Despite what you may think, eating locally is a very powerful way to live a sustainable lifestyle. It’s common knowledge that supermarkets have changed our lives forever, bringing a plethora of exotic fruits and strange delicacies right at our fingertips. Have you ever wondered what it takes to deliver this extravaganza of flavors from the other side of the world?
When you buy fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, and other products that are grown at your place or derived from neighboring countries, you save a heck of a lot of fossil fuel energy. Next time you go to the nearby supermarket, choose apples over the passion fruit and local cheese over the Cheddar that came from Australia.
Upgrade Your Lights
Introducing some adjustments to the lighting in your house can also make your lifestyle more sustainable. Nowadays, the market simply bursts with energy-efficient solutions to brighten up your space and save money. Change your old bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) or LEDs (light-emitting diodes), which provide for an excellent amount of brightness, last up to ten times longer, and cost far less than halogen and other types of incandescent lights.
Go Paper Free
Can you think of a better way to save trees than going paper-free? Fortunately, to make this dream come true has never been easier than it is today. In these days and age, almost everything can be seen and done online, eliminating the need for printing out a wide variety of documents, from credit card statements and phone bills to books and manuals. If your bank or service providers still send you some paper bills, ask them to switch entirely to online communication.
Recycle And Dispose Of Waste Properly
Even though every battery comes with a warning and instructions on how to dispose of it properly, many people still ignore the message. The same is true also for a wide range of toxic household chemicals, fluorescent lights, paint, and plenty of other things. It doesn’t matter whether you are going to toss your old TV or unused cleaning products, make sure that nothing ends up at the landfill unnecessary, and poisons the environment.
Get Rid Of Disposables
Our grandparents couldn’t even dream of single-use cups, toothbrushes, razors, bags, sleepers, shampoos, and a host of other disposables. While it’s easier to throw a plate or a fork away instead of washing it with water, the problem is that the majority of the environmental health issues were triggered by toxins released by trash. Do not buy single-use products unless it’s of utmost importance, giving preference to reusable items.
Look For Fair-Trade Products
When you buy imported products such as coffee, tea, or chocolate, look for the fair-trade certification designed to ensure consumers that sustainable methods of agriculture were used to produce them, as well as that the local people were fairly paid for their hard work.
Just as we promised at the beginning of this article, living a sustainable lifestyle is uncomplicated and doesn’t require plenty of time or effort. What’s more, it contributes to your health and let you save money – can you really afford not to give it a shot?