Switching to sustainable items and habits can be a challenge for many, but it is one of the best ways to help fight climate change. Giving up on items and habits that you have grown accustomed to can pose several difficulties; however, here are some sustainable swaps that are easier to integrate into your daily routine and a great start to becoming more sustainable:
10 Sustainable Swaps:
- Reusable Lunch Bag and Utensils- If you take your lunch to work or school, consider investing in a reusable lunch bag rather than using plastic bags. In the long run, this will save you money as well.
- Choose to Bike or Walk- If you aren’t traveling far and the weather is nice, try walking or biking to your location rather than driving or using public transportation. It emits less carbon dioxide, and spending time outdoors is good for the mind and can prove to be very relaxing.
- Don’t Choose the Pre-Cut Fruit- Bring your own bag when going grocery shopping (pro-tip: always keep some in your car or by your door) and choose the produce that isn’t wrapped in plastic or pre-cut. This cuts down on waste.
- Upcycle Clothing/Thrift- Clothing and textiles are one of the top contributors to waste, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. If you have a thrift store near your home, you can get more affordable clothing and help reduce waste. Upcycling clothing is reusing your old clothing to make something new, such as turning an old pair of jeans into a tote bag or can even be as easy as reusing a shirt as pajamas.
- Buy Reusable Containers- Instead of plastic bags and plastic wrap to store your food, consider investing in silicone bags and reusable plastic wrap. You can find many options to purchase.
- Bring Your Own Cups and Straws- If you are planning to grab a cup of coffee instead of making your own (an easily more sustainable option), bring a reusable thermos for your drink. If you can, try to always carry with you reusable straws. There are many different options of straws that you can choose, such as silicone (which are more like traditional straws) or bamboo. However, due to the current pandemic, many stores may be unable to offer this.
- Keep Hand Towels Around- Instead of always reaching for single-use towels, keep cloth napkins around in your kitchen to use more often for simple things like drying your hands or wiping up a small spill.
- Buy Used- Clothing isn’t the only thing that you can find at thrift stores. Books, dishes, art, and home decor are just a few of the many other items and products that can also be bought from thrift stores. These items can also easily be found at a local flea market!
- Cut Back on Ordering In- Most take-out options include a lot of packaging, plastic bags, and utensils. If you can, try to limit ordering in. Find recipes that you genuinely enjoy, that fit your time frame, and aren’t too hard to make. Prepping meals or ingredients can also be a useful strategy to save time.
- Reduce Waste When Buying Food- If you have a farmer’s market nearby, getting your produce from there helps to support local businesses and often allows for you to bring your own reusable bags. Buying from other small local businesses often reduces the emissions from transportation. As previously stated, remembering to bring your own reusable bags when shopping is key to reducing waste.
While it can be exciting to make the switch to more sustainable items, it isn’t sustainable to throw away the products you already own. Sustainability is important, but can be hard for some as well. Try to add habits and items into your lifestyle to the best of your ability. Keep using the items you have until you get the most use out of everything. Reducing your waste is also a crucial part of this process.
Compton, Julie. “8 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Use.” NBC News, NBC News, 18 Mar. 2019, www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/8-simple-ways-reduce-your-plastic-use-ncna984396 McFall-Johnsen, Morgan. “How Fast Fashion Hurts the Planet through Pollution and Waste – Business Insider.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 21 Oct. 2019, www.businessinsider.com/fast-fashion-environmental-impact-pollution-emissions-waste-water-2019-10