The new year has begun in earnest, and you can make a big difference all by yourself.
According to a survey, 77 percent of people want to learn how they can make their lives more sustainable and eco-friendly.
When you want to protect the environment and make your lifestyle more eco-friendly, here are 16 different ways to explore sustainable living in 2021.
Shopping is one of the most common pastimes, now that online platforms, like Amazon, has made it incredibly easy to do so from the comfort of your own home. However, shopping can be incredibly wasteful.
Here are some methods to shop sustainably.
- Fewer Plastics. Plastic grocery bags, plastic bubble wrap, plastic packaging. All of these are by-products of shopping. Use recyclable produce bags, opt to use recycled paper bags, and generally use less plastic when shopping.
- Buy from Eco-Friendly Businesses. Some businesses employ more sustainable practices than others such as going without plastics or using only organic or reused material for their products. Patronizing them will help strengthen such businesses and protect the ecosystem.
- Buy Local. Shopping from local stores or ordering from stores near your home will mean less packaging and less fossil fuel used for transport.
- Buy Less. Finally, assess whether you actually need anything you wish to purchase. Do you really need a new pair of running shoes if you have an entire rack full of them? Is that makeup kit truly necessary or not?
Around the House
Your house could be using up way more energy than you actually need. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average U.S. home uses 77 million British thermal units every year.
Here are some ways you can reduce energy consumption and waste in your home.
- Go Tankless. Tankless water heaters don’t consume thermal energy as much as water heating systems with tanks. They heat water on demand rather than keep a tank hot. Installing one can decrease your utility bill significantly.
- Rethink Electronic Device Usage. Your electronic devices could be consuming more energy than you think, thanks to stand-by power. Unplug them when not in use to avoid using more power than you require.
- Use Natural Light. Lightbulbs, lamps, and similar equipment may be unnecessary if you learn how to leverage natural lighting more effectively. Throw open your windows, prune back plants around them and let the sunlight your home.
- Reduce Water Use. Shut off the faucet whenever you don’t need running water, such as when you’re brushing your teeth. You should also turn off the shower when you’re not rinsing or moistening to decrease water consumption.
- Repurpose Often. A lot of useful items may end up in the garbage that you could reuse. For example, you may repurpose ice cream containers as food storage, make art out of glass jars, and other creative projects. Upcycling or recycling them can decrease your household waste.
In the Garden
Maintaining your garden can be more taxing to the environment than you think. The average American home uses approximately 320 gallons of water a day, 30 percent for outdoor uses.
Here’s how to make your garden more sustainable.
- Reuse Gray Water. Gray water is what you’ve for bathing, washing your car or laundry. Instead of tipping it all down the drain, you can use it to water your plants and reduce clean water usage.
- Go Drought-Resistant. Expansive lawns are very thirsty areas. Instead of covering your yard with turf, use drought-resistant plants like succulents, cacti, and similar species that need less water and are still quite attractive.
- Grow Native Plants. Exotic decorative plants and trees can harm the entire ecosystem, no to mention have steeper water or nutrient requirements. Local plants are more attuned to your area’s environment and precipitation.
- Make a Compost Pit. Reuse old coffee grounds, vegetable peel and fruit skins by making a compost pit in your backyard. It won’t just mean less chemical-laded fertilizers in the soil, but less trash in the dumping grounds.
Fossil fuels are among the top contributors to environmental degradation. Transports like cars and trucks are all major avenues for fossil fuels to belch into the air.
Consider the following changes if you want to curb your carbon emissions.
- Commute More. Rather than take a car out, why not use the public transport system? Not only is it cheaper, but you would also be using less gas and emitting less carbon.
- Bust out the Bike. If you only need to go a few miles away, like to the store or to a friend’s house, you can bike instead. This will use no fossil fuels and even make you healthier in the process.
- Establish a Carpool. If you need to drive your car, like to work or to deposit to school, set up a carpool to limit the number of private vehicles on the street.
Being more environmentally sustainable can be very challenging. But it is a great way to start the new year. Celebrate this year by ensuring future generations can do the same by being more eco-friendly.