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Living a sustainable lifestyle means not being harmful to the environment or exhausting natural resources.
Sustainability focuses on meeting your needs now without compromising the earths needs and the ability of other generations to meet their needs . By doing this you are supporting long-term ecological balance.
Reducing waste focuses on limiting the amount of packaging and potential garbage brought into your home/life. This is important because the amount of waste the world is producing is not sustainable.
One time use products, excessive packaging, and plastic are all unsustainable because they are harming the earth. We are not able to continue living this way because the earth can’t heal itself.
In order for our planet and our future generations to survive our lifestyles needs to change.That is why the zero waste movement started and that is why it will continue to grow.
Sustainable Practices to Help You Reduce Waste
1. Practice Minimalism
This one is HUGE. Consumer culture is not sustainable.
Our non stop need to buy, buy, buy and always buy new is causing over use of the earths energy and resources.
To me minimalism means only purchasing or bringing into your home things that have a use or a purpose. This does’t mean you can’t own a couch, have decor, or that you have to get rid of everything you own. It just means before you make a purchase you need to decide if this item will truly enrich your life or if it will end up in the trash or storage within a year.
I wouldn’t say I am a minimalist by any means but my zero waste journey has really opened my eyes to what my family actually needs. I have always been a huge part of the consumer culture and I am now realizing a lot of these items I always thought were NEEDS are actually wants.
The less you need, the less you will buy, and the less waste you will create!
2. Grow Your Food
We eat a lot of fruit and vegetables in our house and It’s always frustrated me how hard it is to find berries and other produce plastic free.
I don’t have a garden yet but this year I plan to change that.
The more you can grow yourself the better. You will lower your carbon footprint by eliminating the need for packaging and transportation. Transporting food can cause a lot of pollution.
By growing a garden you get to decide what goes on your plants and in your soil , this will help to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals polluting the earth.
Growing a garden will also create a habitat for smaller life forms who play a huge role in keeping our earth healthy.
Growing your own food is a huge step towards a more sustainable future.
3. Make Your Own Food
It takes less energy and resources for you to cook at home than it does to eat convenience food or eat out. Processing, packaging and transporting food doubles the amount of energy used.
Shopping for ingredients will not only save you money but it will help you have a more sustainable home. There will still be waste created when buying some items but it will be substantially less than if you were to buy everything pre made.
Learning to cook is by far one of the best things you could do for your health, the planet, and your wallet.
4. Shop Second Hand
By shopping second hand you are reducing the demand for more NEW items.
Mass amounts of new clothes and household goods are being produced daily. This is unsustainable as our earth cannot keep up.
There is mass amounts of chemicals and water that go into making these new items, this leads to loss of animal habitats and pollution of natural resources.
Most of these items end up in the garbage as soon as they go out of style.
Thrifting is a great and affordable way to reduce your waste!
5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This one goes hand in hand with number one. Minimalism. The less you have the less waste you will create and the more sustainable you will be.
With the constant demand to buy new we often forget how important this is. Most items in your home can be reused or repurposed into something else. I reuse all my jars and old containers for food storage and bulk shopping. Old towels and sheets make great rags! Old ketchup bottles are great for homemade paint and crafts!
My kids love to use old cardboard boxes for colouring and painting. Saves me from needing to go get paper and keeps the kids happy for hours.
Get creative. There are so many great ideas out there.
This one is last for a reason. Recycling isn’t going to fix the problem but it can help. Many items like aluminum cans can be recycled infinitely! Other items like plastic can only be recycled a few times before they become garbage. This is why it is best to avoid plastic when possible.
Even so recycling is still giving an item a new life. The more something can be reused the better. That is why it is so important to educate yourself on what is recyclable where you are.
Recycling is a great first step towards a greener life.
Switching to an eco friendly lifestyle and reducing waste may seem stressful at first but If you take it step by step and day by day, you WILL make a difference. If everyone just took the time to do just one of these steps the world would start to heal itself.