Go green! Reduce! Recycle! Buy eco-friendly products! Aim for sustainable development! Anyone can say this. But can everyone walk the talk? Read this sustainable living guide to know how with small changes in your everyday habits, you can walk the talk easily.
What is sustainable living?
Wikipedia states that “Sustainable living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources, and one’s personal resources.” In other words, it’s making sure that our actions don’t affect the Earth in any way. Here are 15 ways of sustainable living at home that you can follow without a hassle.
1. FOLLOW AN ECO-SABBATH
We all know Sabbath is a time for rest and praying. But how many of you have heard of Eco-Sabbath? It’s nothing but giving rest for the electronic appliances in your home. It doesn’t mean you have to get rid of electricity altogether and live a Spartan lifestyle.
For an hour every week, simply switch off all electronics, don’t cook, don’t answer your phone or buy anything. In other words, don’t use any resources of any kind. If an hour seems hard for you, break it down for the whole week. For 10 minutes every day, follow an eco-Sabbath. For every hour you do this, your carbon emission per year gets cut down by 0.6%. Imagine the impact if every one of us followed it every week.
2. SLEEP ON TIME
Yes. You read it right. Sleeping on time is not just good for you, it’s good for the environment as well. When you sleep on time or early in the night, your electricity consumption gets reduced. Lights are switched off early, TV, mobile, laptops are switched off. This habit not only helps regulate your circadian rhythm but also cuts down on your electricity bill! Talk about hitting two goals with one stone.
3. REUSE YOUR OLD CLOTHES
We are not talking about thrift shops here. Though buying preloved items or buying items from a thrift shop is greatly beneficial to the environment, we are suggesting a much more easy step here.
Our towels and bedspreads are some of the clothing items that get worn out easily. Instead of throwing them out when they are old, cut them into small squares and use them for cleaning around the house. They absorb moisture and can wipe off dust and other spills with ease. For all the kitchen spills that happen, *accidentally*, these towels will come in handy.
4. R for REFUSE
We are not talking about reduce and recycle here. We are asking you to refuse! When you want to relax at home and order food online, opt for no cutleries. Some food delivery services give you the option to opt for no-cutleries. In other apps, you can mention your request under instructions to the restaurant. Let’s be honest, more than half the time we end up throwing the cutlery without using it and this adds to the burden of non-recyclable waste.
FSSAI has said that close to 22,000 tonnes of plastic are generated every month through online food delivery orders.
5. REUSE YOUR TAKEOUT CONTAINERS
The greatest idea of this century is food delivery and we stand by it! But with convenience, comes a new set of problems. We are not asking you to stop ordering takeout altogether. We know it’s next to impossible.
Most of the take out containers we get nowadays are reusable and recyclable. You can wash and re-use them in multiple scenarios. To store leftover food in refrigerators, to carry snacks when you are travelling and you can even use it to give food to those who are in need.
It is ideal to avoid them altogether, but it’s not a realistic idea and these tips are all about helping you upgrade your sustainability level without a lot of effort.
6. OPT FOR PAPERLESS MAILS
Newsflash! Most of the letters we get can be received via e-mails. For instance, when you opt for internet banking, you will receive your monthly statement via email. This way, you can be sure that all your statements can be accessed later on and you can also help save trees in the process. Opt for e-letters for your monthly subscriptions, event reminders etc.
While going out, say no to that copy of credit card receipt. All of us carry our phones with us and we can easily check the statement via phone.
7. CLEAR YOUR E-JUNK
E-junk is a thing. If you think the emails sitting in your trash and spam folder are not bothering anyone, think again. All digital data are stored in data centres all over the world and that includes your spam and trash files as well, even if it’s for a short time. More data means bigger centres. These centres need electricity, upkeep and they also need millions of litres of water to keep the centre at an optimal temperature.
Every spam email, even if they are unopened, releases 0.3 grams of Co2 into the atmosphere. Now calculate the emission from your spam folder alone and go clear those folders right away!
8. GO GREEN! PERIOD!
Turn your red to green. Most menstrual products are not bio-degradable and are a huge burden on the environment. Opt for eco-friendly products. Find out what works for you. Menstrual products made out of natural materials are gaining traction. You can also try underwear that is specially designed to be worn during menstruation. These period panties are designed with extra layers to absorb the flow on a light to normal menstrual flow.
9. BYOB! DUH!
This should be the first step in your quest towards a sustainable lifestyle. Bring Your Own Bottle! When you carry your own bottle, you cut down on the number of plastic bottles that are produced and always have access to clean, drinking water.
This report by plastic ocean states that over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year. Over 50% of this plastic is utilized for single-use plastic products. We can reduce this by choosing plastic bottles over re-usable water bottles.
10. RECYCLING HACK JUST FOR YOU
We know it’s hard to recycle. With the different types of materials available now, it’s even harder. Here’s an easy hack for you. Keep a separate trash bin for your food waste in the kitchen. Do not throw anything else in it. Similarly, allocate another bin for your paper waste in your study.
If you don’t know how to segregate plastic, simply collect them all in a large bag and give it to your locality help or your local trash collector. This could be a small source of income for them and it also helps you to dispose of trash responsibly.
11. STAY GREEN! START THE DAY GREEN!
The first thing you do as part of your morning routine has a heavy impact on the environment. How you ask? Toothbrushes are made of plastic. Most of us use around 300 brushes in our lifetime.
To reduce your carbon footprint, choose an alternate for a plastic toothbrush. You can either use a bamboo toothbrush from brands like Bare Necessities or choose models with reusable toothbrush handles. Some people are going a step ahead and using neem sticks for their dental care!
12. CARRY BAGS! SAVE MONEY!
Yes. Carrying bags help you save money. Nowadays, most of the shops don’t give free bags. They are sold for a price because of the cost incurred by them. When you carry your own bags, you reduce the production of new bags and also save money. Now we know all about impulse shopping and that it’s easy to forget having to carry a bag.
Our hack is to carry a small foldable cloth bag or any reusable bag all the time. Keep a spare in your vehicles and your bag. This way, you’ll always have one whenever you need it.
13. SAVING WATER IS THIS EASY
Water is one of the fastest depleting natural resources. Once we run out of water, life on earth will not be able to survive. By consciously spending water, we can help cut down on our usage to a certain extent. Take smaller showers, use a tap flow restrictor or aerator and buy toilets with smaller flushes. Save water and save on your bill too!
14. BE LOCAL! BUY LOCAL!
This is age-old advice when it comes to sustainable practices. This practice also helps in sustainable development. By buying local products, not only are you supporting your community and small scale business, but you also save fuel and get access to fresh products easily.
15. PAPER TISSUES TURN THE EARTH INTO A PAUPER
Paper tissues and napkins cannot be recycled the same way as newspapers or notebooks. Data shows that on average, Asians use 3.1kg of paper towels in a year. Imagine the number of trees felled down to produce these paper towels. It’s not always possible to carry a reusable hand towel wherever you go. But what’s possible is using a single tissue to wipe your hands before reaching for the next one.
Most people pull 2 or 3 tissues at the same time for usage. But you’ll note that not all of them are needed. If you can minimise the usage of tissues by 4 or 5 pulls a day, imagine the amount you’ll save in a month. It would equal 2 trees or more. Hurrah!
What more can you do to promote sustainable practices?
Want to know what more you can do to promote sustainability in your life as well as others? Follow these steps.
1. INSPIRE A FRIEND
If a single person can create such an impact on the consumption level, imagine when a whole community comes forward. Don’t just preach, show your friends how you are walking the talk. Carry your toiletries on a trip. Refuse that plastic straw in the juice shop. Inspire them with your lifestyle so that they can do the same to others.
2. CHOOSE SUSTAINABLE BRANDS
Each item that you buy affects the natural resources. Though it’s not always possible, opt and support sustainable brands whenever you can. Don’t get green washed in the process though. When a brand claims to be sustainable or uses eco-friendly products, ask them to explain their methods. Let them show their steps towards sustainability.
For instance, at Lavos, we use renewable resources and our production is ethical and we tell you our side of the story too.
3. MAKE A GREEN UPGRADE TO YOUR HOME
A green upgrade doesn’t necessarily mean uprooting yourself from your current lifestyle. Make a small change now and then. Switch off appliances when not in use. Install energy-saving light bulbs. Look for energy rating before buying any electronic items. Start a balcony garden. Upgrade it to a terrace garden when you are ready.
4. CALCULATE YOUR IMPACT ON THE EARTH
Calculate your impact on the environment. Learn your carbon footprint and greenhouse emission so that you can work on actively reducing the content. UN lets you calculate your impact based on your lifestyle, transport and household.