We all make decisions every day that have an effect on our environmental footprint. From how we shop to what we eat and the car we drive, there are many things we can do differently when we decide to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
It's all about forming a few new habits that are not only better for the environment, but also healthier for you and your family. With that in mind, here are a couple of sustainable living ideas to help you start making a difference.
Turn off electronics
Learning how to conserve your energy is easily the most effective method of reducing your carbon footprint. Instead of leaving all your appliances connected and needlessly sitting on standby, get into the habit of switching them off and unplugging them completely when they're not being used.
Alternatively, do your research and invest in energy-efficient appliances and home solutions. Not only will you be reducing how much energy you use, but you'll also be spending less on power bills.
One of the first things you can do is save some trees by reducing the amount of paper in your life. Whenever you receive something in your mailbox, whether it's a bank statement, or a phone bill, or a letter from the local council, contact them and ask if they can be viewed online or emailed instead.
If they don't have a paperless option available, consider switching to a company that does. You can also put a "no junk mail" sign on your mailbox too. If you are not able to go completely paper-free, see if you can make the switch to recycled paper wherever you can.
No more plastics
Plastic takes lifetimes before it even starts to become biodegradable, and thousands of more years to break down completely. And unfortunately, that means there's an estimated 10 million tonnes of plastic waste that ends up in our landfills, kills our wildlife, and ends up floating in our oceans every single year.
So, skip using disposable plastic bags, don't buy food with plastic containers, say no to plastic straws, and ditch single-use bottles of water. You’ll be making a world of difference.
Unless you've decided to purchase a more eco-friendly electric vehicle, driving a car with a combustion engine is terrible for the environment. You should always make the choice to walk or bike when you don't have far to go, carpool whenever you can, and travel by public transport if you have access to it.
If there's no other realistic option available, always try to reduce your carbon footprint by driving at the speed limit. You should also make sure your engine is running smoothly and your car is serviced regularly.
Recycle and reuse
You've probably been hearing it for years, but ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ is still just as important today as it was when it first started becoming popular. Reduce your waste that ends up in landfills by repairing things and selling them instead of throwing them away.
Instead of buying brand new furniture from China, maybe look into seeing what's available to buy locally second-hand. The list of things that can be recycled is growing all the time, so always take the time to check everything before just chucking everything into the wheelie bin.
Conserving our water is even more critical than using less energy. As our population is increasing exponentially, so is our constant demand for more sources of drinking water. You can start doing your part at home by having shorter showers, choosing low-water appliances, quickly repairing any leaky pipes, as well as getting reduced-flow shower heads and tapware installed.
You should also make smart water choices when you're away from home too, like not buying bottled water – the plastic bottles are notoriously harmful to our waterways which also affects our wildlife.
The ideas listed above for living a more sustainable life aren't really that complicated. In fact, they may even simplify your life, which is one of the keys to happiness. Take it a step at a time if you prefer – small changes can make a big difference.
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