by Shallom Adewale, Intern
Sustainability is a word heard more over the past few years, mainly because of the adverse impact the lack of it has had on our planet. So, what does sustainability mean? After doing some research of my own, I personally define sustainable living as, “intentionally living a selfless lifestyle that is beneficial, not only for our Earth, but also for us, and the generations to come.”
Sustainability has become part of political platforms for climate advocacy, as well as a lifestyle trend, one that many companies are hopping on to appeal to a new cohort of socially conscious consumers. Sometimes, it’s hard to muddle through the advertisements and political jargon to take a step back and think about how we, as individuals, can promote sustainability.
As we globally try to reconcile the impact of climate change on our planet, it’s become clear that sustainable alternatives to the way we do everything – from shopping to eating to even organizing our email inboxes – are all steps in the right direction.
Here are five budget-friendly ways you can live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Thrift Your Fit
Did you know that a lot of items are only worn seven times before being thrown out? And unfortunately, a lot of them end up in landfills. Buying like-new items at your local thrift store not only saves your pockets, but it also helps the environment. Whether you choose to donate or purchase or do both, thrifting makes Mother Earth smile.
Using a reusable, eco-friendly water bottle saves money in the long run and can be a healthier option not only for the planet, but also for you, reducing your exposure to the industrial chemicals found in polycarbonate plastics. Opt for BPA-free, plastic-free bottles – stainless steel and glass rank as the most eco-friendly materials.
You can also help the environment and save big bucks by switching up your coffee routine. Try to avoid K-Cups because they are difficult to recycle, but there are reusable options available if you have a Keurig at home or in the office. If you feel like your skills are simply no match for your favorite barista, bring a coffee mug from home to your neighborhood coffee spot (many places will discount your coffee if you bring your own holder).
As Simple as Flipping the Switch
Turning off your lights saves energy and money. It’s also helpful to unplug your appliances, which use energy even when they’re not on. Purchasing an eco-friendly power strip makes it easy to shut off multiple household items with one button, reducing your carbon footprint and your electric bill. That’s what we call working smarter, not harder!
Clear Out Your Inbox
While emails have greatly reduced paper pollution, there’s a carbon cost to letting emails pile up in your inbox. Power data centers host thousands of servers that consume electricity and produce CO2. According to The Good Planet, the math shows that if email users worldwide deleted 10 emails right now, that would cut nearly 20,000 tons of coal burned every day.
Reduce Food Waste
Approximately 40 percent of all food in the U.S. is wasted. We can reduce the amount of food waste we create by composting organic food waste. In an article by the United States EPA, 30 percent of what we throw away are food scraps and yard waste that could be composted instead. Another great way to take control over food waste is by mindfully grocery shopping. Check what you have in stock at home before shopping, meal plan to make sure you buy only what you need, and freeze leftovers that will be just as tasty reheated. You can also look also pursue local options for donating your food surplus to help feed your community.
Remember, you CAN make a difference in saving our planet by living intentionally, one day at a time.