Every year, the majority of plastic produced is for single-use consumption - meaning it is only used once before being sent straight to a landfill. However, plastic isn’t the only culprit. The average American lifestyle is filled with unsustainable practices, from the clothes we wear to the foods we eat and activities we take part in.
Being mindful of the way your lifestyle impacts the rest of the world is an important part of being a good global citizen. It’s important to consider your carbon footprint, so you can determine the things you can change to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. To help you on your way, we’ve come up with five things to help you cut down on the resources you consume and the waste you produce.
Buy Second Hand Items.
One of the most popular things to buy second hand is clothing. A lot of people wear vintage band tees to look cool, but buying second hand clothes does more than just that - it saves thousands of gallons of water with every purchase (how much it takes to make a new cotton t-shirt). Additionally, second hand items aren’t limited to clothing. You can buy almost anything secondhand: cars, books, bikes, furniture. Buying things second hand has multiple benefits. Not only does it keep items out of the landfill, it helps to limit the production of new items by reducing their demand. Additionally, it’s often cheaper - making it good for your wallet and the rest of the world too!
Reuse Things as Much as You Can.
Second hand items aren’t the only way to cut down on waste. You can easily reuse items you’ve bought to give them a second life. A popular example of this is taking jars - from things like nut butters, honey, yogurt, and more - and using them as cups, containers for leftovers, vases, and more. Choosing reusable water bottles and reusable glass containers will also help to cut down on the waste you produce, contributing to a waste-free lifestyle.
If you buy a drink in a glass bottle, keep the bottle after its finished and it can be filled up with water later on. This is especially useful for practices. Having 1 or 2 bottles that you can fill up and keep with you will aid your training and also decrease the amount of time you have to go to the water fountain.
Watch What You Eat.
Not your calories, but what you’re eating, and especially where it’s from. Vegetarian and vegan diets require less water and energy to sustain, making them, generally, better for the environment than omnivorous diets. Buying food that’s grown locally, especially from farmers markets, cuts down on the energy needed to get that food to you and the waste it takes to package and ship it. If you can, you should take what you don’t eat and compost it; this way you can avoid sending more waste to the landfill, and create fertile soil at the same time!
These days, there are so many ways to get places that you really shouldn’t drive if you can avoid it. If you’re going somewhere close, you can walk or bike (which helps you exercise, too, killing two birds with one stone). If you’re going further, you can carpool or take an Uber pool, cutting down on your carbon emissions. Obviously public transportation is the best option when trying to be environmentally friendly but we all know this can be a pain so you can look into getting an electric scooter or bicycle. These are becoming more and more popular and cheaper as time goes on. An electric bike can be faster than regular biking, trains, buses, and even driving since traffic won't affect you!
Digitize Your Life.
There are lots of ways you can create less waste, and opting for digital copies of things is one of the ways to do so. Instead of buying paper books, buy online ones. Choose to pay your bills and receive your mail online (instead of as paper) cutting down on the energy needed to get those things to you, and the waste made by all of the single-use paper and envelopes you really don’t need.
A lot of people think that living a more sustainable lifestyle is more expensive, but that’s simply not true. Oftentimes, reusing items and buying things second hand is actually cheaper than buying new things all of the time. For an example: if you buy an reusable water bottle this will encourage you to use it instead of buying bottled water everyday. With the rising cost of gas - walking, biking, and carpooling is a much cheaper option than driving alone, and while digitizing your life requires access to a computer or smartphone, it cuts out the costs that a lot of companies tack on to your bill when mailing items to you. The hardest part about transitioning to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle is taking the first steps. Once you start making the changes, the rest of your life will be easier and better for the earth!