Most of us have been lucky enough to have access to food, water, and clean air since the day we were born. At the rate we’re going, these essentials could be gone for good by the time your kids (or their kids) toss their caps at high school graduation. Let that sink in for a second...
You don’t have to live off the land, give up electricity, or hug every tree to help save the planet. These ideas for sustainable practices can make a big difference — without throwing a wrench in your lifestyle.
Because the natural resources required to produce electricity are typically non-renewable, using your lights to excess can have an environmental impact. But an easy way to instantly conserve energy is to simply turn off the lights. Before you go to bed, skip town, or run errands, flip the switch. It’s nothing to write home about, but environmental sustainability doesn’t always have to be a huge change to your routine. Bonus: You’ll save a little on your electric bill too.
If you’re hesitant to upgrade to LEDs or CFLs, dimmers are a phenomenal way to minimize your use of natural resources and conserve energy by taking control of your lights (and pumping less power to them). Installation is a piece of cake. And once they’re up and running, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.
Everyday electronics like chargers, curling irons, and coffee makers can suck power from your outlets, even when they’re off or idle. ‘Smart’ power strips are like garlic to these devices: Detecting when they’re in standby mode and preventing them from wasting energy.
Hang Dry Your Clothes:
Dryers are notorious for shrinking and damaging your favorite outfits. Protect your go-to pieces and use less energy by skipping the machine altogether. Toss your wet clothes on a rack or line and use one of the earth’s most abundant natural resources to dry them: the sun.
Ban Plastic Bottles:
You won’t be alone. Plastic water bottles choke our landfills, pollute the ocean, and kill wildlife. Reusing them is a dangerous game too. They quickly turn into breeding grounds for bacteria and can leach chemicals after just one use. Protect the environment (and your health) by getting a reusable bottle. If, like us, you’re worried about what’s in your tap water, make the one-time investment in a filter first.
Shut Off the Faucet:
When you’re not using flowing water, turn that handle. Doesn’t matter if you’re shaving, brushing, or freshening up. All that wasted water adds up. And if you need a little extra motivation, check this out: At least 40 states expect to experience water shortages by 2024. Yikes.
At least 40 states expect to experience water shortages by 2024
Personal resource efficiency can be more important than you think - so monitor your energy consumption, including your water use.
Bag Your Own Groceries:
Stores have wised up, encouraging you to bring your own bags and charging for plastic ones. You’re not going to lose sleep over an extra 30 cents tacked on your grocery bill, but those plastic bags are a nightmare for the environment. Buy a reusable tote. It makes it easier to carry big loads and it doesn’t strangle your hands. Plus, it will save the environment and (eventually) save you money.
Let’s Talk Trash:
Whether scooping up pet waste or taking out the trash, do the world a favor by using biodegradable bags. Typically made from plants and vegetable oils, you can count on them to degrade over time. So they’re a superior alternative to single-use plastic. You can also look into recycling programs where you live.
There’s nothing more rewarding than uncovering a hidden gem buried at a thrift store. Plus, the search for that diamond in the rough can be a total blast. We all want to keep up with the latest styles, but the fast fashion industry leads to upwards of ten million tons of clothing thrown out every year. So go get thrifty or find brands that use sustainable production. Reusing just about anything is better than letting it lay waste on the environment.
Buy In Bulk:
If you can afford it, be less wasteful by buying in bulk. It makes the most sense for the essentials you fly through like toothpaste, shampoo, and laundry detergent. Anything you toss out twice is worth considering buying in bulk - not only does it prevent waste to support the natural environment, but it can also help you save some money over time.
Be Purposeful With Paper:
Toilet paper. Paper towel. Notebook paper. It comes in all kinds of forms for all kinds of uses. But the depletion of natural resources like that of deforestation can affect ecosystems, biodiversity, and more. Nowadays, you can get your hands on 100% recycled paper for just about anything you could need. When you can’t go paperless, this is your next best option.
Opt For Paperless:
Though it is a natural resource, that doesn’t mean paper should be wasted or overused when there are better options. Remember checkbooks? How about rummaging through paper receipts on April 14th? When possible, go digital. Banking. Bills. Catalogs. You name it. If it’s not already paperless, contact the vendor and make the switch.
Skip Plastic Utensils:
Unless you’re picking up finger food, you’ll be offered plastic utensils when you scoop up your order. Turn them down, you can find disposable utensils made from renewable resources like paper or other plant matter. In fact, your stainless-steel silverware at home was made for this very moment. Studies show that more and more plastics and microplastics are invading delicate ecosystems all around the world, affecting animal and human health. Minimize your plastic usage to do your part in the fight against the environmental impact of plastics.
Don’t stop at forks and knives. Save those gift boxes that stack up during the holiday season to spread some cheer next year. Turn your old t-shirts and clothes into dish rags and towels. And if there’s something else that’s gotta go, consider selling or donating it so it doesn’t catch a ride headed straight to our landfills.
Reconsider Your Transportation:
Fossil fuels from cars have a serious impact on greenhouse gas emissions, which are a major player in global warming - so the less fuel you burn, the better. One of the best ways to reduce your personal use of fossil fuels is to opt into public transportation. Lyft and Uber both offer “shared ride” options. And if you’re in a city, carpools, bikes, electric scooters, and your two feet might be all you need to get around.
We can’t cover it all, but here are a few more easy ways to be an everyday superhero helping to save our planet and work against climate change. You can plant a tree to support the environment, grow your own vegetables and shop local to reduce your carbon footprint, use native plants in your landscaping to reduce the need for pesticides and water, advocate for your local energy providers to use clean energy or renewable energy sources, and make it a point to recycle anything with those three little arrows. The bottom line is that living a sustainable lifestyle takes extra thought each day, but with a few small changes, you can have a positive impact on the environment.
15 Everyday Ways to Be More Sustainable:
This is just a fraction of the many ways you can start living more sustainably:
- Turn off the lights.
- Install dimmers.
- Try “smart” power strips.
- Air dry your clothes.
- Use reusable bottles.
- Shorten your shower.
- BYOB: Bring your own bag.
- Go thrifting.
- Upgrade to biodegradable trash bags.
- Go paperless as much as possible.
- Use 100% recycled paper.
- Get essentials in bulk.
- Give everything a second chance.
- Use your silverware.
- Drive less.
The Harsh Reality:
The scary truth is society has had a laissez-faire attitude with our limited resources since the very first light bulb illuminated a pitch-black laboratory.
You don’t want to leave future generations stuck with soaring prices, polluted water, and toxic air — nor do we. The sustainable practices above are pieces of the seismic changes needed to to center sustainable development and protect the planet.
Let’s start thinking twice about how we treat Mother Earth.
Our Approach to Sustainability:
We don’t set the gold standard for sustainability, but we try to do our part. While parts of our packaging are already recyclable, we’re currently working toward more sustainable packaging. Plus, we’re exploring options to improve the end-of-life cycle for our filters.
We hope you’ll join us on this journey. It’s a privilege to serve you. Cheers.