9 Simple Ways to Live More Sustainably
Lauren Singer first made headlines in 2014 for collecting two years of her trash into a single 16oz mason jar. Little did everyone know that the spotlight on sustainable living and sustainability would soon ensue. Fast forward to 2019 and the sustainable movement is at its peak – reaching new heights as it emerges as the number one most talked-about subject across various industries.
In fact, according to fashion search engine Lyst, consumers are more aware and careful than ever when it comes to their shopping habits. Lyst's Year in Fashion report found that searches for 'sustainable fashion' increased by 66% in 2018 with more specific sustainable related searches up by 47% across the board. Google searches for 'zero waste' have also doubled in the last year, and elsewhere on Instagram, more than 3.6million posts are tagged #zerowaste on the social channel.
Statistically speaking, these numbers signify the global shift towards rising environmentalism, sustainable living and responsible consumption; but the idea of sustainability is still foreign to many. Here, I’ve rounded up nine simple but effective ways you can live more sustainably. Here's how:
1. Be more informed before deciding on something
One of the most challenging aspects of living more sustainably is knowing where and how to start. But in this day and age, becoming and living more sustainably is significantly easier than before.
All it takes is some time to research to make informed decisions. Whether that's what we eat, what we wear, to how we deal with the disposal of unwanted items, taking the time to investigate makes all the difference. Learn about the process and supply chain of your favourite brands, and support fair and ethical trade!
2. Ditch the supermarkets in favour of fresh local markets
We all know by now that plastic is harmful to our environment. And the one way to avoid contributing to this cycle is by engaging in a small habit change: using little to no plastic, particularly in the household.
The best way to start minimising plastic consumption and living more sustainably is by visiting your local farmer's market for all your grocery needs. Unlike commercialised supermarkets where 59billion pieces of plastics are used each year, fresh market sellers offer products without any unnecessary (plastic) packaging.
According to the Earth Day Network research, "choosing to buy products with less packaging or no packaging altogether makes a big difference," especially when everyone participates.
3. Use the 30 wears test before buying clothes
Initially started by Livia Firth, the 30 wears test is about ending the culture of overconsumption in fashion and transforming the way we view clothes as disposable.
In essence, the 30 wears test is simply about being a more conscious consumer by thinking before we buy.
Asking yourself if you'll wear or use something 30 times can help to reduce unnecessary purchases and ultimately decrease the amount sent to the landfill. If the answer to the question is yes, then it's an investment, but if it's a no, then we're merely subscribing to the fast-fashion mentality.
4. Buy second-hand whenever possible
Buying second-hand goods – whether it's clothes or furniture – is the easiest way to shop and live more sustainably. Recycling, reusing and refurbishing existing resources help to close the loop and move consumers toward a more circular economy where everything is used or reused in a continuous loop.
Don't know where to start? Shop at Vestiaire Collective, Rebelle or The RealReal if you're looking for luxury items or at Thrift+, Oxfam, Rokit and ThredUP amongst others for a mix of high-end and high-street items.
Remember, it takes 700 gallons of water to produce one new T-shirt! Buying second-hand is the easiest and quickest way to move towards a more sustainable future.
5. Go digital and paperless
Need I say more?
6. Switch to renewables
Choosing to switch to use 100% renewable energy can drastically help the environment. Instead of using finite sources such as coal or oil, utilising renewable energy like solar, hydro and wind minimises carbon footprint and produces no greenhouse effects.
Thanks to the power of digitalisation, switching homes or offices to renewable energy is convenient, cost-effective and can be completed through a few clicks on the computer.
7. Use public transportation to commute
As more urban areas and 'megacities' emerge, shifting daily commute from cars to sustainable transport modes like walking, cycling and other forms of mass public transportation will be vital in lowering air pollution levels and reducing fossil fuel consumption.
Did you know: a bus with as few as seven passengers alone is significantly more fuel-efficient and infinitely more sustainable than the average single-occupant car used for commuting.
So, if you can get from one place to another via the bus, train or tram, then it's best to rely less on your car unless, of course, it's electric.
8. Reduce the waste you produce
The root cause of most environmental issues is ultimately down to how we treat and dispose of goods. And in the pursuit of a more sustainable lifestyle, it's crucial to address the cost and effects of waste as the wrongful disposal of trash contributes to environmental pollutions.
Are you thinking of disposing of goods or items? Check if you can resell, reuse, repurpose or recycle before safely discarding it at the correct facilities.
9. Value reusability
Try your best to purchase things with longevity in mind and avoid using single-use items like plastic coffee cups, cling film, plastic water bottle, disposable utensils, typical menstrual products and plastic bags.
Instead, opt for sustainable, reusable and multi-use goods that are made to last. Bring reusable coffee cups, use beeswax wraps, stainless steel water bottles, personal cutlery sets, menstrual cups, and produce bags. The alternatives are endless!