Being “eco-friendly” and “green” are buzzwords that have become more like an empty trend than a real lifestyle; living a sustainable life in harmony with our environment is about being aware of our consumption habits and how those impact our lives.
Sustainability and mindful consumption
Sustainable living means being mindful of the choices that we make every moment in our lives and understanding the impact of those choices, both on people and the planet, without compromising the needs of future generations.
If we think about it, this is a huge responsibility, there is so much to do regarding social and environmental policies and practices, but we as human beings are so powerful and we are able through small individual actions to reduce our impact and contribute to preserving our environment.
It all starts with a change of mindset, stopping making purchasing decisions purely for our own benefit and starting thinking about how our purchasing habits could positively help our community.
To honour this year’s Earth Day, we prepared a list of small but meaningful actions to start living a more sustainable life. We all can contribute to preserving our environment and respecting our planet and the lives that live on it.
About your food consumption:
Use a reusable water bottle, a travel mug or a tumbler. STOP buying plastic water bottles.
Carry a shopping cloth bag when buying fruits or vegetables at the store.
Try buying produce directly from your local farmer’s market.
Try not to waste any food, you can create innovative recipes with your leftovers.
Try to eat less meat and eat more whole foods. The production of meat is one of the biggest contributors to climate change and the pollution of landscapes and waterways. More info here.
Make your own coffee instead of buying takeaway.
About shopping habits:
Prioritize glass, paper and aluminum when you are shopping, these materials are often more easily recycled than different types of plastic.
Read the labels on your food, clothes and cosmetics and identify which ingredients are the best for you and the environment.
Go paperless and stop printing, choose to receive emails instead of letters.
Borrow books from the library instead of purchasing them or read them through online apps.
Stop accepting disposable cutlery and napkins when buying takeout.
About your beauty products:
Swap out your plastic disposable toothbrush for a bamboo version.
Start making your beauty routine more circular by swapping out single-use cotton wool pads with reusable pads or cloths made from organic cotton. Wet wipes are usually made of plastic polymers, do not degrade and can cause havoc when flushed into sewage systems.
Consider buying beauty products from organic or vegan brands that don't test on animals.
Swap your shampoo and conditioner bottles for bar ones, they last more and they don't have plastic packaging.
Don’t leave the water running when cleaning your face.
Open up your blinds and use as much natural light as possible before switching on your light bulbs.
Use a power strip for your home cinema and office equipment to easily turn multiple devices on and off at the wall, all at once.
Turn off your computer at night – at home and at work.
Unplug chargers for mobile phones and other mobile devices when you’re not using them.
Using Wifi requires less energy than using 3G or 4G.
If you can, set up a backyard composter.
If something is broken, try to repair it first before you buy it new.
Plan ahead when buying online and choose a longer delivery time to allow your goods to be air freighted.
Up-cycle what you can.
Limit the use of hot water when hand washing dishes.
Use cloths instead of paper towels.
Use rechargeable batteries where possible.
Use e-waste recycling programs when disposing of your electronics.
Switch to cloud computing and move away from physical hard drives and servers.
Get your devices repaired instead of buying new ones.
For more energy-saving tips go here.
About your clothes:
Be aware of who made your clothes, millions of people work in textile, clothing and footwear production around the world and the vast majority are not paid enough to fulfill their basic needs.
Before you buy new clothes, be mindful of the following:
In which country was it made?
Where did the materials come from?
Do the brand and retailer disclose their social and environmental policies, practices and impact?
Think about how much are you going to use your new clothes:
Does this look great on me?
Why I'm buying this?, How do I feel about wearing it?
Do I see myself wearing this in 5 years?
Love your clothes and look at them as something valuable; understand the materials and learn how to take proper care of each type of fabric.
Invest in a better and a more quality piece of clothing instead of three cheap ones.
Look for new designers and fashion start-ups that are working with sustainable materials and are ethical and environmentally conscious.
Support your local artisans, a lot of quality clothing is made with local materials.
Learn how to sew and repair your clothes, you can re-purpose them in many creative ways.
Learn how to make simple alterations to your clothes and find friends you can swap clothes with.
Find second-hand clothing and customized it your way, explore how unique and creative you can be.
Donate your clothes responsibly, donate the clothes that can be used and recycle.
Read more about the fast fashion industry and how you can help reduce clothing waste here.