8 Easy Tips- How to make sustainable living the new norm in your daily life ?
Sustainable living, recycling, reuse, reduce, are all words we are constantly bombarded with at every point in our everyday lives. At times I feel they are used extremely casually without even bothering to understand what they truly mean. It has become a trend to somehow include these words in your daily communications simply to reflect an awareness of the concepts of sustainable living. Many of you may be overwhelmed as to where to make a start to a more sustainable living. You may often feel the pressure for not being able to do enough to contribute towards a sustainable lifestyle even though you would really want to.
Having been through this myself and still learning everyday how exactly I can be more sustainable in by daily life I decided to share what I say is my ‘Keep it simple’ policy for a sustainable living.
8 Easy Tips which can go a long way and have a huge impact on the environment and cement some life changing sustainable living habits in you and your family. It is necessary to take the first steps and thereafter to remain consistent, you are sure to make a difference.
1. Stop using single use disposable items
Remember you are most sustainable when you limit the use of resources. Stop using disposable cutlery, plates, cups and glasses. Even if convenient it is extremely harmful to the environment especially when they are plastic. You can easily substitute for reusable options. When reusable ones are not an option at all try to use recyclable paper options. Use a lunch box instead of wrapping in Ziplock bags and aluminium foils. Remember to carry a reusable shopping bag when you visit the grocery store next time, you definitely do not need the throw away plastic shoppers. Your drinks do not need a straw. Use cloth napkins whenever possible. Try to use reusable masks and metal water bottles.
2. Choose clothes that are sustainable and can be used for an extended period
Try and avoid, especially for children, synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester, acrylic, lyocell. They can be irritating to your skin as well. Think before you shop clothes, fast fashion maybe cheap but remember it cannot be more durable. Trends and fashion matters but if you want to standout choose something different and things which will not go out of style in a season. Buy clothes and accessories you can use multiple times and if required easily pass on. Donate clothes not in use and teach children to do the same. It is ok to share clothes and buy second-hand. Also someone is paying for your cheap fast fashion- spare a thought for the under payed labour force.
3. Save water at home and work
It may sound an obvious thing but it is amazing how many of use simply overlook the fact how water is wasted in our surroundings. Turn off the taps when not in use in kitchens and bathrooms. Be mindful of water usage while watering plants and garden. Water during the cooler part of the day. Reduce rinsing time as and when possible. Remember dishwasher and washing machines use less water than when we wash by hand but use only at full load. Check for leaks in pipes and faucets in kitchens and bathrooms to avoid wastage. Discourage children from playing with water hose and sprinklers.
4. Save energy
Again though obvious we are not really mindful. Switch off the lights in a room not in use, convert to energy saving led lighting. Encourage children to switch off light and other appliances when not in use. Be mindful of excessive porch and garden lighting look for eco friendly options like solar lights. During hot weathers dry clothes outside and refrain from tumble dry. Keep interiors moderately heated in cold weather. Reduce shower time, switch off the TV when not in use. Use an air conditioner sparingly. Save money and save energy!
5. Drive Less
Easier said than done but believe me there are times when we can step away from that pedal. Cycling is a great alternative, especially for short neighbourhood errands. Public transport should be used whenever possible. Encourage children to bike. Car pooling too should be consciously practised for work or even social meet ups.
6. Print less
Save ink, paper and energy. Please think before printing and teach children to print only when necessary. Encourage schools to communicate digitally with parents. Discourage all hardcopy versions of communication and content sharing. Use e-tickets for travel and movie theatres.
7. Prepare conscious meals
Plan your meals to not cook excess and then simply trash. Use leftovers smartly, incorporate them into packed lunches and salads next day. Encourage and promote buying local seasonal produce. Cook in bulk and freeze portions for later use. Do not buy perishables in bulk if not required. Teach children food should not be wasted when half the world population is starving. Donate to local foodbanks.
8. Gift sustainable
Encourage sustainable products by gifting friends and family sustainable gift cards. There are many brilliant sustainable gift cards which not only promotes sustainable products but also supports local small, medium businesses selling sustainable goods and services, you gifts will be unique! Encourage friends to donate for a sustainable cause when they gift you.
To round it off the biggest impact you can make is by spreading awareness. Once you start talking about sustainable living, you will see how much ignorance and myths are still making the rounds. Educate yourself, keep it simple and share the knowledge. For me the most important part is to involve the gen next they will carry the baton and they need to develop a passion for a more sustainable lifestyle.
Author : Shayonti Chatterji