10 easy ways to start living more sustainably
When it comes to going green it’s often hard to know where to start, and committing to lifestyle changes can feel overwhelming. Over time, small adjustments can have a big impact on your environmental footprint, and these are changes that can be made easily and slowly. Here’s our top ten simple suggestions to help you start living more sustainably:
Splitting waste steams means you’ll be sending less to the landfill and many recyclable items can be re-used. Greenhouse gases and other chemicals harmful to the environment are released from rubbish in landfill sites, so recycling helps to reduce pollution caused by waste. If you are unsure of what is and isn’t recyclable, Recycle http://www.recycle.co.nz/ is a handy resource to help you work out what is and isn’t recyclable, as well as having lots of information on living more of a waste free lifestyle.
2. Replace everyday disposable items with reusable alternatives
Invest in a reusable coffee cup and drink bottle to minimise waste each week. Opt for glass or stainless steel, as some plastic versions contain BPA, which some studies have shown can be harmful to our health.
3. Ditch plastic bags
Keep a couple of reusable shopping bags in the car so that you’re not forced to use plastic ones at the supermarket checkout. Plastic bags are part of a the huge global problem that is plastic waste – it’s polluting our oceans and landscapes, so anything we can do to reduce plastic packaging that gets thrown out is a plus.
4. Cut down on paper waste
Paying bills online and choosing to receive electronic bank statements are two great places to start when it comes to reducing the paper that circulates between businesses and people. And instead of buying the newspaper, try reading it on your tablet or desktop – it’s one less thing that could end up in a landfill.
5. Swap household cleaners and personal care products
Choose plant-based products that show a full list of ingredients on the label. Switching to eco-friendly cleaners and cosmetics minimises air pollution, waste water pollution and can reduce the number of potentially harmful chemicals we might have around our homes.
6. Start a garden
Even if you don’t have the greenest thumbs, or a backyard, it’s still easy enough to maintain a smaller garden. You might want to start with seasonal herbs and potted salad vegetables, for example. Growing your own food can also plant a sense of appreciation for the earth, and you’ll be reducing your supermarket bill.
7. Eat clean
Sticking to ‘real’ (whole or unrefined) food is the best option for healthy nutrition. Examples of wholefoods include lean meats, seafood, fruit, vegetables and wholegrains that haven’t been heavily processed and don’t contain artificial ingredients. The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean Fifteen can be helpful for finding out more about the pesticide residue levels on various fruit and vegetables, to help you pick and choose which produce is best to buy organic.
8. Go meatless on Mondays
Raising livestock produces a large amount of greenhouse gases, so going meat free one day per week can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
9. Conserve energy
Save power by turning appliances off at the wall, and use the eco mode wherever possible. Swap regular light bulbs for eco bulbs, make a habit of switching off lights when you go out, and invest in a clothes horse to air dry clothing instead of using the dryer.
10. Use less water
Turning the tap off while brushing your teeth, not rinsing your dishes before stacking the dishwasher and replacing leaky taps are all easy ways to use less water.
If you’ve made any other changes to live more sustainably at home, we’d love you to share them with us in the comments below.