6 Simple Ways to Practice Sustainability at Home

August 31, 2023

Image by Keira Burton on Pexels

 

Everyone agrees that sustainability is a good thing. And yet, only some are up to the challenge. Many people assume that to truly live sustainably, one has to make huge, life-altering sacrifices.

Understandably, not everyone can just leave their lives as it is, buy a farm, and move to the countryside. But in practice, sustainable living does not have to mean extreme change. Humble adjustments in how you live can create positive changes that benefit the cause and your overall quality of life.

This article discusses the simple ways of life that you can adopt to start practicing sustainable living in your day-to-day life.

Limit Single-use Items

 

Did you know that every piece of plastic ever produced still exists? Plastic takes up to 500 years to completely break down and decompose. Tiny pieces of plastic end up in the stomachs of wildlife animals and humans. They also pollute the air you breathe and the water you drink. Recently, scientists even found that plastics in the ocean have accumulated to form plastic rocks!

If a single person uses disposable items daily, imagine how much plastic waste they can accumulate in a lifetime!

Disposable items like takeout utensils and coffee cups, plastic bags, and drinking straws use incredible resources to produce. Yet, they are rendered useless after a single mindless use.

The situation sounds grim, but you can contribute toward positive change by taking active steps to reduce your single-item usage. For example, you can ask your barista to pour your favorite brew into your portable coffee mug, get a set of reusable utensils with stainless steel straws, and switch to products with less packaging the next time you shop.

Make Your Cleaning Products

 

Doing your laundry and keeping a clean home shouldn’t come at the expense of nature. While this argument isn’t enough to convince people to mix up their detergent, the fact that homemade cleaning items are way cheaper and healthier may sway some folks to switch up.

Using ingredients typically found in your pantry, you can make soap, shampoo, and grease cleaners at home. The good thing about DIY-ing all these is that you can make them in bulk, so you don’t have to worry about scheduling a weekly soap-making session.

That’s a couple of items to cross off on your next trip to the supermarket.

 

Shop for Quality

 

If you’re a fan of fast fashion, this might take a while to get used to. Paying a hundred dollars for one item when you can get six items for less than that may not make sense now, but you’ll thank yourself later for investing in things that last.

Pay attention to quality instead of what’s trendy, especially when it comes to clothing. And most importantly, avoid shopping online unless you’re familiar and comfortable with the brand’s sizing guidelines. Clothes that fit well and are made with suitable quality fabrics hang well and look great!

Experiment with creating a capsule wardrobe, and buy them gradually. Over time, you will realize that the things you hesitated to buy become your favorite go-to fits.

 

Apply the same principle to buying items other than clothing. This may include shoes, accessories, and home furnishings.

Image by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

Support Local Sustainable Businesses

 

Businesses play a significant part in the movement toward sustainability. If something is to be done about helping the environment and humans coexist, companies should decide to change their ways. While it may take a while for big corporations to make these shifts, small-scale businesses are already making the leap toward a sustainable future.

As consumers, supporting such businesses by promoting them and buying from them helps message these corporations that sustainable choices are a factor they need to consider in how they do business.

Supporting local businesses can also return the money to your community and encourage other entrepreneurs to follow suit. It helps create jobs, which fosters a strong and independent local economy.

 

Grow Your Herbs

 

Supermarket food is usually packed in single-use plastics. But even worse than that, 40% of food produced in the US is never eaten, so food and plastic end up wasted.

Unfortunately, not everyone can grow their vegetables to replace the weekly trips to the grocery store, but you don’t need a backyard to grow your herbs! Growing herbs is not as space-demanding as an entire garden and is doable for everyone, including beginners.

You can grow herbs in pots and containers! Even if you live in an apartment, you can opt for a more space-saving vertical garden using poultry netting attached to a wall or vertical barrier. Just be mindful about mixing herbs that have similar growing requirements. The best herbs for container gardening include chives, cilantro, dill, basil, oregano, parsley, mint, rosemary, and thyme!

Growing herbs is a perfect introduction to growing your food, and if you eventually make that move later in life, you’ll be thankful for the practice.

You could even go as far as growing your own fruit and veg which can be made a lot simpler using a domestic polytunnel as it provides the perfect climate as well as protection from pests.

 

Save Water and Energy

 

Water and energy are interconnected. Large amounts of energy are used to extract, treat, and distribute water to homes and industries. Conversely, energy is used to pump, treat, and transport wastewater. Conserving water indirectly reduces the energy consumption needed in these processes.

Less energy usage also lessens the greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere, preventing extreme weather and improving the quality of the air and the quality of life of the people.

While conscious efforts need to be put into using less water, you can take preventive measures such as fixing leaks as soon as they’re detected, switching to low-flow water-saving fixtures, and recycling greywater for your plants.

To reduce your energy usage at home, you can switch to more energy-efficient appliances, replace your lighting with LED alternatives, and build the habit of switching off lights and unplugging devices when not in use.

If you’re ready to make significant energy-saving changes, consider adding solar power to your home. Many states offer net metering incentives, saving you thousands of dollars in savings.

 

Conclusion

Living sustainably can be one of the most rewarding and challenging decisions you will ever make. It will force you to look at life differently and learn new ways that may not appeal to most. However, the life skills you develop and the ultimate payoff are worth every effort.

 

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