New year brings us a reflection of new choices that we want to accomplish. Often we want to be thinner, happier or make a move in our career path. Maybe this year you could choose another theme, maybe this year could be the year that you start to make more sustainable choices in your everyday life. Your life will be more meaningful when you do good for the planet and others than just concentrate on making a better version of yourself, I will promise!
I made a list of 15 easy steps you can take towards sustainable living. Maybe some of these habits are already familiar to you, and you have already taken the action. In the end you can count how many points you have so far, and what kind of changes you can make this year to live in a more responsible way. Use a hastag #sustainableaction2019 on Instagram, if you want to share what kind of ecological choices you will make this year.
1. Reduce the amount of plastic. Stop using plastic bags. Bring your own fabric bags everywhere you go. (1p.) Also, put in your bag little paper or fabric bags where you can put fruits, peanut etc. – little things you are buying. (1p.) Start recycling plastic, and try to reduce buying stuff that is wrap in plastic. (1p.)
2. Save water. Have you thought how much water goes just to sewer? Do you take long showers or let the tap water on while brush your teeth? Make a movement, and close the tap while adding a shampoo or brushing your teeth. (1 p.) If you have a habit to buy plastic water bottles at home, think, if you could just add a filter to your tap?
3. Start to do bookkeeping. (1p.) Yes, this is a good way to look at where your money goes. Make a different category for food on weekly base, cafés, clothes and other stuff. I started to mark down everything that we buy, and even that we have cut down our spending, I want to use less and less money every month. I promise you this is a good way to start living more sustainable way – and you save money, too.
4. Sort the garbage. (1p.) Nowadays sorting garbage is so easy. So if you are still putting everything in the mix bin, start to recycle paper, carton, plastic, glass, metal and organic waste. If you don’t have recycling bins a near by, could you make a trip to the nearest recycling point once a week? Or are you living in a house? Could you make a composter in your garden? We did have one when we were living in Spain, and it was so interesting to se how fast the organic waste fall apart and what was growing from our composter.
5. Reduce eating meat and dairy products. (1p.) Today we have many vegetable protein base substitute for meat that there is no excuse not to try it. If this is difficult for you, start with baby steps. Try for example to eat vegetarian dish every other day or one time a week – what suits best for you!
6. Reduce paper waste. Order you bills in electrical for and give old and read magazines to your neighbor or friends. (1p.) Or could you read your favorite magazine on Ipad?
7. Invest steel or glass water bottle and durable take away –mug if you are used to buy take away coffee many times a week. (1p.) Also, if you are buying lunch, could you take with you your own box where you put the lunch?
8. Replace normal washing powder an ecological one. (1 p.) Fill your washing machine to its maxim and lower washing temperature from 40 to 30 degree. (1p.) Think also, do the clothing really need washing or could you just air? For example sweaters hardly need washing and they stay better if you just air it. Buy little bags for clothes that can release micro plastic to the water system. (1p.) Good tip is to try the washing nuts, that I have been using lately. I think they work well, and the good thing is that I can use the same washing nuts second time and then just adding them to or organic waste bin. As a bonus, my kid just love to participate with me to do the laundry when she can count washing nuts and add them to this little fabric bag and put it in the machine.
9. Change everyday cosmetics to organic ones. (1p.) If you take care of you body, why would you want to add it a toxic products? Nowadays you can find organic cosmetic products from local market that are in reasonable price. I started to use organic products for my skin when I was expecting my first one and during these years I have noticed that I have less problem with my skin and my hair is stronger. This all even when I have changed my living country three times in these past four years. Also, if you are ambitious, you can make organic cosmetics by yourself. Online you can find lots of tutorials how to make them. (1p.)
10. Say no to fast fashion, stop buying cheap clothes and avoid making impulsive shopping decisions. (1p.) Get to know your style and body shape – this really save you a money and time, when you know what suits you and what you are going to wear year after year. Also, learn more about materials. Buy rarely, buy quality. Learn how to lengthen the life cycle of clothing. Learn how to take care of different materials and how to fix broken garment. (1p.)
11. Reduce buying online and support you local stores. (1p.) Have you thought how much packaging waste it causes when we order things that are wrapped in plastic and then again put in a carton, talking about all the carbon footprint it causes when the package is send from point A to your home door, and then in the worst case return from your door to the company. Of course it depends where you live, and if you can go shopping in your area or is it obligatory to order things. Anyway, start to pay more attention how often you order things, and if it is really necessary.
12. Lower the temperature at home. (1p.) In Finland, this is a case that we warm houses and apartments too much. 1 or 2 degrees less – I am sure we could all manage, and sleep better. Also, lower a consummation of electricity: don’t charge phones or computers over night and turn off lighting when is not needed. (1p.)
13. Reduce air travel. (1p.)This might be the hardest part for most of us. We know that flying is bad for the planet, but when it comes to our own pleasure, it is hard to say no, if you have chance to travel. Start by little steps. Count how many times you were flying last year, and then try to fly less this year. For me, I am going to reduce flying for weekend destinations. I have notices that short holidays only cause stress. My intention is travel more on the road and less on the plane. Also, I try to be more content where I am right now.
14. Instead of buying take away lunches for work or for travel, try to make your own dishes at home. This is one way to safe money and the planet. Also take a glass box and cutlery with you everywhere you go. (1p.)
15. If you have children, teach them how to recycle and live more sustainable way. If not, share you Zero waste tips to others. (1p.)
The maximum score is 22.
How did it go? What tips are you going to try this year?
Here is some of my personal goals that I am going to try this year:
- I will try to make more cleaning products of my own.
- I am going to reduce even more the plastic waste.
- Also, I am going to do less shopping from flea markets and make more clothes of my own.
- One goal is to use durable diapers for our newborn. I am not going to make an obsession about it, but I am going to use durable diapers during the day and the plastic ones during the night. I will write more about these topics this year and how my projects are going.
Have a wonderful start of the year! Lets make this planet more sustainable and happier place to live.