When you make the choice to take steps to sustainable living + green living you may find yourself overwhelmed with all of the things you can do to make a difference. It can be tempting to do them all and jump right in headfirst but making simple changes is more sustainable and can help you reach your sustainable lifestyle goals and stick with them for a lifetime.
What is sustainable living?
Sustainable living is making choices that lower your and your family’s impact on the planet. By putting your time and effort into making changes that help improve your family’s carbon footprint you are taking steps to a better world.
Each small step we make goes a long way in producing a better future for the generations left behind. Sustainable living doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing and every step we make is a step in the right direction. Let’s dive into my seven steps to sustainable living!
Steps to Sustainable Living
Don’t toss things out before considering how they can be used again first. Even recycling is not the answer to our trash problems because most recycled items land in the same landfills as our trash for various reasons. Instead of putting the focus on recycling focus on reusing first.
PETE bottles can be used for long-term food storage while other plastic bottles can be upcycled into planters for your garden, or creative homemade organization. Challenge yourself to reuse things before you send them off to recycling in hopes that they will get yet another life.
Start a compost pile
A compost pile is one of the biggest things you can do to lower your carbon footprint and give back to the earth. When we toss our food, paper, and grass clippings into the trash we send them to the same landfills where air doesn’t hit them leaving everything without the vital components to rot and break down. In your compost bin or pile, you encourage these things to break down creating an amazing fertilizer to help your garden or even your house plants thrive.
Buy in bulk
One big thing we can do that saves us both money and packaging is the amount of trash that is often not recyclable. We can opt to buy items in bulk. Buy meats, grains, and even pet foods in bulk to use less packaging and get a discount on the price in most cases. A bulk store can even be a great option allowing you to use your own containers to avoid purchasing more packaging and save money on great quality items.
One big step to sustainability is learning to conserve water, one of our most precious resources. A great place to get started with conserving water is to start by setting up rain barrels. Saving rainwater is a great way to water your garden and house plants with water that is already available to you. Other great water conservation tricks do the same. Like using water from cooking pasta (but not pasta water with salt/oil), rice, and potatoes to water your garden and house plants. This not only gets a 2nd life out of your water but gives the nutrition in that water to your plants as free fertilizer.
You could also utilize a rain barrel to collect rain water if you’re able to in your area. This one is a great choice!
Buy items used
So often when we need or want something our instinct is to go to the store or check Amazon for a deal on it. Buying items new uses up a lot of resources with the materials used for the item, packaging, and shipping to the store or your home. Buying items used allows you to get the items you want at a much lower price while keeping that item out of a landfill. Buy Nothing groups on Facebook are a great way to post “In Search Ofs” to see if someone is no longer using something you need. Plus you don’t have to wait for shipping and can usually pick it up the same day!
For those that are just a bit crafty, you can rescue items like furniture and create something completely new and exciting to add to your home or even sell. Upcycling furniture is a popular way to help the environment.
Plant a garden
Planting a garden is a great way to improve your carbon footprint. When you grow your own food you have control over what the food is treated with. Growing your own food means it does not take valuable resources to transport the food to you from the farms often across the country. It also usually means less food waste!
To get a great yield in a small footprint for your garden you can use the square foot gardening method. This is a great way to make the most of the space you have. Don’t have the room for a garden? Container gardening is a great option for anyone even if you think you have no space. LED grow lights make growing plants indoors more affordable than ever.
Like growing your own food, shopping for local food at your local farmer’s market is a great way to reduce your drain on resources from the transportation of your food. While it is nearly impossible to eat only locally grown food with concourse effort (WTF AM I SAYING?!) you can move a large portion of your food to locally grown and raised. This can often save you money when buying produce and meats from local farmers and processors rather than from big chain grocery stores.
I hope this list of steps to sustainable living helps you get started on your own eco-conscious lifestyle!
For more on sustainable living, check out the posts below: