Face it, whether you’re hip to it or not, sustainability is the new black. And thankfully, this is one trend that isn’t going anywhere. If we want to ensure the long term safety of our planet’s natural resources, it really is up to us taking action sooner than later. However, the thought of such a responsibility can be ridiculously overwhelming. But fear not, as Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
We all want to do better for the environment, but the easiest way to go about it is by breaking the task down into baby steps to easily work the changes into our everyday life. Once you start becoming more conscious of your actions and impact, you will naturally want to explore more ways to incorporate change.
So, here are 3 small, (but incredibly impactful), lifestyle changes you can make to lower your carbon footprint TODAY!
1. Switch to Reusable Shopping Bag
You've seen them everywhere. The cloth shopping totes that are available for purchase ,(or given for free at very generous stores), are an easy way to ease into the sustainable life. Reusable bags are usually made from a durable fabric meant to stand the test of multiple shopping trips. The use of these bags can keep tons of plastic bags from filling our landfills each year. What makes the use of these bags so harmful is the fact that plastic has a decompose time of anywhere from 10-20 years according to the National Parks Life website.
Now think about how those double bagged grocery trips from 15 years ago could still be affecting the planet today?!
This is why so many people and brands are making the move towards reusable bags. There are many stores such as Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and more that offer a small discount or raffle entry for a weekly prize when you bring your own bag to shop with. There are even legal measures being taken in cities like NYC starting early 2017 that will charge a fee per plastic bag provided by a store to reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste that is produced by the city. Long story short, quitting plastic bags is kind of a big deal.
The easiest way to incorporate reusable bags into everyday life is by making the transition one that's convenient for your life. Start the easy no-cost way by tucking a plastic bag that you get on your next or last shopping trip into your bag that you carry with you on a daily basis. If you want to take the next step, purchase a foldable durable cloth bag that can easily be taken with you. Make a conscious effort to use it on your next grocery trip. Ask your cashier if there are any incentives offered for using your own bags. Heck, try to challenge yourself to stick to a limit of items that can only fit in that bag. This will not only bring you one step further on your journey to sustainability, but it will also make you more mindful of your spending!
2. Seek out solar powered everyday electronics.
One of the benefits of living in the tech age is our accessibility to so many innovative and resourceful everyday appliances and tools that led to a sustainable life. Pick My Solar is innovative being that it makes the process of picking a solar energy provider for your home easy and hassle free. However, you can use solar energy to power everyday electronics and essentials just as affordably and will ease.
Companies are now offering solar powered yard lights, toys, watches, phone chargers, and more. Admittedly, they may cost a little more up front, but will more than pay for themselves in the long run. As more companies venture into incorporating solar powered options, it will be easier to make more eco-conscious decisions.
3. Clothing Take Back Programs
One of my most recent documentary watching frenzies led me to learn about massive waste caused by the fashion and textile industry each year. According to a recent report by National Public Radio, the increase in fashion cycles based on trends dictated by the industry has led to clothes being made cheaper and resulting in a tremendous amount of waste based on the turnover. This waste can end up in landfills. This massive amount of waste and the urge to do something about it has led many companies to develop take back programs. Companies such as H&M gives their costumers discounts on future purchases each time they donate a bag of unwanted clothing in store to be recycled.
In addition, there are a couple of independent smaller companies such as GiveBackBox that are making it easier to donate unwanted goods by simply using the boxes of purchases from specific stores such as Amazon and Overstock to fill up and return for donation to nonprofits such as Goodwill. These are all better ways to keep all of this textile waste out of the landfills. And if all else fails, you can always get creative and use the fabric from your old clothing to make reusable bags for your next grocery trip.
Moving to a more sustainable lifestyle is not as hard when you do a little bit of research and taking it a step at a time.