Being Eco-Friendly, Less Wasteful and Sustainable

Over the years I have radically reduced by possessions, consumption and waste. I have been interested in being green and saving the environment since I was 14 years old. I use to make information packets to pass along to my family to get them to recycle. I read books on how to be green, making natural products and reducing my carbon footprint for fun. This topic is very important to me.

Since then, I have grown to be very environmentally conscious. People and businesses are waking up and changing. Products are being made from recycled material and are energy-efficient and businesses are striving to be sustainable. These are all good things, but we can do better.

sustainability isn’t enough

sus·tain·a·ble
adjective
1. able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

The above definition says that to be sustainable is to maintain a certain rate or level. In terms of the environment, people and businesses are looking into sustainability to maintain their level of consumption while not damaging the planet any further. However, being sustainable isn’t enough to save the Earth. We need to change our lifestyles for the better. Of course, this is something that people hate to do.

People know that they are being wasteful just like they know they are making a poor health choice when eating fried foods. But, they don’t care. They rather take medications to cover up their ailments due to the poor lifestyle choices instead of actually changing said lifestyle choices. And they rather keep living and consuming the way they are and just cover everything up by being sustainable.

How can you live exactly the same while not damaging the planet? You can’t. If everyone on Earth lived the same as the average American consumer, we would need 4 extra Earths to live and survive. I’m sorry to say that we only have one planet and we need to strive for more than just sustainability.

Let’s take disposable, plastic water bottles as an example. Sustainability says we can keep this habit if we recycle the bottle and purchase bottles that are made from recycled plastic. That’s good, but making the plastic in the first place caused damage to the Earth. A better solution is to not buy disposable water bottles and use reusable bottles instead.

We should focus on not being wasteful, reducing our carbon-footprint and changing our lifestyles for the better. Stop trying to live the same life and expect better results from the planet. If you want different results, you have to be different.

minimalism can help

Minimalism is the practice of getting rid of everything in your life that is not serving a purpose, that is not useful to you or that doesn’t bring you joy. Minimalists keep only the important things in their lives and let go of the rest. At first, minimalism is about getting rid of things (and hopefully these things are given new life and are not ending up in landfills), but then it becomes about being conscience on what you bring into your life.

Minimalists are known to consume less and care about how items were made. By accepting minimal, high-quality items that last a long time into their lives, minimalists reduce their carbon footprints. Less stuff means less waste.

Not all minimalists think about their impact on the environment, but just by bringing fewer things into your life can have a positive impact towards greening up the Earth.

ways that i am green

Here are areas in my life that I have reduced. I make most of my own products, stopped doing “normal” hygiene regimens and some things, like shaving my legs, have never interested me in the first place.

Bathroom

Shampoo – I like to use natural shampoo such as Güd shampoo, but I’ve been experimenting with water only washing.

Conditioner – I haven’t used conditioner in 2 years. No, my hair isn’t dried out.

No Shaving – Never liked it, so I completely stopped shaving. I don’t own a razor!! Sometimes (about once a month), I do trim my legs with my husband’s beard clippers and I do use an epilator on my armpits.

Toothpaste – I used to make my own toothpaste, but now, I just brush my teeth using water. Once a week or so, I’ll brush with baking soda.

Face Wash – I used to to the oil-cleansing method, now I just wash my face with water and a cloth (I may go back to oil-cleansing).

Kitchen

Diet – I have been vegetarian since 2011 and I recently became a vegan. Please read this article about the negative effects eating meat has on the environment.

Making Food – I make 97% of my food myself with all natural ingredients.

Laundry

Detergent – I have been using Eco-Nuts since 2015.

Cold Water – I always wash all my clothes on the cold-water setting.

Disposables

Ban the Bottle – I sometimes call myself a reusable water-bottle snob. I prefer glass. I like at least 32oz. Since my beloved glass bottle broke last summer, I’ve been searching for a replacement. But, I’ve been using a mason jar and it’s been working out great. I don’t drink water from plastic bottles.

Toxins

No Perfume – I was never interested in wearing perfumes, but once in a blue moon, I would use some. Now, I have none.

Air Freshener – I’ve been making my own air freshener with essential oils. 15 drops of Lavender Oil into a spray bottle. Fill with water, shake and spray.

areas for improvement

Paper Towels – I’ve been using a lot of paper towels lately. Every time I go to the bathroom and wash my hands I use a piece to dry off. It’s a habit that needs to go.

Packaging – As I’m shopping, I don’t care to think about how much packaging an item has before buying it. You should try to go with items that have less packaging.

Plastic Bags – During checkout, I never bring a reusable shopping bag, so I consume shopping bags. I used to make excuses as to why this was okay.

Soap – I’m starting to take notice at the chemicals in soaps.

Electricity – I used to keep everything unplugged when things weren’t in use, now everything is plugged in all the time.

I plan to improve the above over time. I want to treat every day as if it’s Earth Day. I will pause to think before consuming. I will air dry my hands, steal a reusable tote bag from my mom to go grocery shopping, avoid over-packaged stuff and buy natural soaps. As for electricity, I will flick the switches when the husband leaves.

how you can become green

Changing habits take time. But, you can definitely look at your life and change to do your part for the environment. Consume less, eat more naturally and locally, volunteer and plant a couple trees. And for the environment’s sake, please don’t try to be sustainable. Actually, change. Here a list of easy things to get started today:

  • Never buy paper towels again. You will get creative when you make messes like using hand towels.
  • Never buy paper/styrofoam/plastic dishes again. Don’t be lazy. Actually, wash the dishes instead of filling up landfills.
  • Cook at home and from scratch more often.
  • Get a water filter and a reusable bottle.
  • Eat way less meat.
  • Revamp your hygiene with natural, green products.
  • Volunteer to plant a tree.

books and resources i recommend

Calculators

Footprint Calculator

http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/

http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

http://carbonfootprint.c2es.org/

Informational Websites

Recycle Bank

Earth911

Books

Sleeping Naked is Green – Vanessa Farquharson

No Impact Man – Colin Beavin

Going Green for Dummies

Documentaries 

An Inconvenient Truth

Cowspiracy

No Impact Man

Blogs

Here’s 100 of them: http://www.environmentalsciencedegree.com/green-living/

Charities

The National Conservancy

Wildlife Conservation Network

 

That is all for now. Please be kind.

I write about minimalism, living eco-friendly and eating plant-based. I am also the author of Simply Minimal, and I create businesses with code.