When we hear the words ‘sustainable living’, a lot of us imagine an entire lifestyle overhaul. A completely different way of living, and not a piece of waste in sight. Whilst for some people this might be doable, a lot of others don’t see it fitting. Luckily, sustainable living isn’t the stereotypical green-clad lifestyle many of us imagine it to be. In fact, living sustainably is easy, and you could even start right now!
Ahead you’ll find 12 ways to start making your lifestyle more sustainable. Some things here won’t make a difference to your weekly budget. Or are of no cost, such as turning the lights off. You could do any of them right now, or as part of your normal week. They might even save you some money!
There are also ideas that might cost a little more or be things you can’t do immediately. But will help the environment in the long run. This could be changing your eating habits or finding greener travel options.
Finally, we’ve got some extra advice for dealing with waste that isn’t everyday. This could be furniture or appliances that you no longer want or are left over from a move.
1 Turn off lights and things on standby.
It’s something we’re all guilty of at some point. Maybe a light left on overnight or while you’re at work, or a game console left on standby. Unfortunately, this has the potential to create significant costs.
A study by Utility Design found that leaving the lights on could rack up bills close to £1000 per year. This could also create emissions equal to over 65 flights around the world.
2 About to wash some clothes? Opt for a cooler temperature
Heating up water for washing clothes accounts for the majority of the energy used by washing machines. So it makes sense to wash at cooler temperatures. This will help cut back on both your energy bill and emissions.
We usually don't need to wash our clothes at high temperatures. And it could actually turn out to be damaging them.
3 Air dry your wet clothes (and your dishes)
If you’re not in a rush, air drying is an eco-friendly alternative to machine dryers. It’s gentle on clothes, and environmentally friendly. The same goes for dishes- you could leave them on a dish rack or hand dry them.
4 Reduce the amount of toilet paper you use
Okay, this one gets a bit personal.
Whilst toilet paper itself doesn’t cause much pollution, its production can be very harmful to the environment. To cut down on your consumption, you could make a conscious effort to use less sheets, and use recycled toilet paper.
5 Take it easy when driving
Driving and accelerating slower can reduce the amount of petrol your car consumes. Meaning you need to buy fuel less, and emit less CO2.
Or you find greener travel options like biking, taking the bus, or carpooling.
6 Replace some meat with plant-based choices
14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions are generated by animal agriculture. That’s more than all transport emissions combined. Going meatless, even just one day a week, can help to reduce these emissions by almost a third. Going vegetarian can help cut emissions by 63%.
7 Buying locally or Growing your own food
A lot of produce is transported long distances to reach your grocery store. This results in a lot of carbon emissions. Locally grown produce won’t have travelled as far to reach your plate, and is often wrapped in less plastic.
Growing your own food works in just the same way. Even just kitchen staples like potatoes or lettuce can cut the cost to the planet (and your grocery bill).
Speaking of Groceries…
8 Have your groceries delivered
Think of it like public transport, but for your food. Having groceries delivered cuts vehicular pollution massively. One journey delivering 10 people’s food will create less emissions than 10 individual journeys to and from the supermarket.
9 Skip the coffee machine
Bean to cup is best. Grinding your own beans cuts out a lot of emissions from further processing in production lines. But even using a kettle and instant coffee is better than using the pods that come with some ‘fancy’ machines. Being made of hard to recycle plastic, pods create massive amounts of waste.
10 Along the same lines… Loose leaf tea
Loose leaf tea also cuts emissions from extra production processes. Loose leaf tea is also compostable, unlike many commercial brands of tea bags.
Speaking of compostable…
11 Start composting
Composting can be a great way to make use of food scraps and other kinds of natural waste. Composting has a wide variety of beneficial effects. It can increase biodiversity, act as a natural pesticide, and reduce landfill waste.
Green Ways to deal with Bigger things
So, you’ve done all or most of the previous things listed. Or maybe you’re just looking for a challenge. It could be that you’re looking for green ways to tackle bigger waste problems. Such as those that can arise from things such as moving house.
Solutions to old furniture and appliances
If you’re moving house, or replacing some older pieces, the question of what to do with unwanted things could come up. Luckily, there are lots of sustainable alternatives to simply throwing them out!
There are many waste recycling centres that can take your appliances and use them for other things. If you can’t take it there yourself, your city council could also have waste collection services to take it there for you.
Another option is to sell your appliances as they are for for parts on sites such as ebay or gumtree. This means your old items can be put to use by other people and saves them from going to landfill
If it still works, you could donate it to a charity that sells furniture, such as Dove House. That way both your appliance and the profits made from it are going to a good cause. Usually, these charities can also offer
Some of these things, especially selling can take time to get around to. So how do you get it out of your house without getting rid? Self storage could be a handy solution. You can keep your old furniture or appliance out of your way whilst avoiding simply throwing it out.
DIY or upcycling
You could give your appliance a revamp to suit your new home through upcycling. Upcycling is a form of recycling in itself. You can breathe new life into items that could otherwise have gone to a landfill.
Storage could help with this, too. You could use it as a work space for your upcycling projects. Or just keep your things out of the way until you’re ready to take them home and get to work.
So there you have it! You can easily adopt any of these ideas into your everyday life. Going green doesn’t have to break the bank, and it certainly doesn’t mean being thrown in the deep end. Anything you do, however small, makes some kind of difference.