Living sustainably starts with living responsibly. Your choices need to be more conscious of the planet and the adverse effects we force on it through our consumption habits. Many assume that an eco-friendly lifestyle requires you to spend a lot of money but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, most of the tips that we’ll be listing down below are lessons that you probably learnt from your mom. Back then the purpose was to reduce unnecessary personal costs but we never realized that these simple lifestyle changes were helping our family be kind to the planet as well.
What most people fail to recognise is that sustainable living means changing our mindsets and adopting easy, daily habits that save the earth, one day at a time. We often cave under the pressure of eco-anxiety and set ourselves up for failure by setting drastic goals that are absolutely unattainable for a beginner. Smaller, more achievable steps can get you to big change but you need to start simple. And what better place to do so than at home?
Keep reading to find out 8 lifestyle changes that are kinder to the planet as well as your pocket.
1. Buy less
You don’t need to buy anything to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle. In fact, the first principle of sustainability is to actually buy less and use what you already have. Sure, mason jars are multi-purpose and fit the ‘zero-waste aesthetic’ but sustainability doesn’t require you to only use glass or tin jars. Use what you have first to get the most use out of that product. This extends its life cycle and helps you shop less for things that you don’t necessarily need.
If you’re pressed for a new item for your home, wardrobe or office, try swapping with friends or shopping from thrift stores. Conscious consumerism isn’t just being conscious of where you shop from but how much you shop as well. Excess consumption is the bane of our existence and a threat to the planet, if we don’t stop that, we can never truly live sustainably.
2. Upcycle furniture
Finding creative ways to give things a new lease of life can have you seeing them in a fresh light. A fresh coat of paint or new fittings can give worn-out pieces a brand-new look. This also serves as a wonderful way for you to revamp the style of your home, office or wardrobe with a few, easy DIY steps. If you’re not that great of a handyman, hire a carpenter to do the changes for you. This will definitely cost you less than an absolutely new product and you have the liberty to let your creative expression run wild.
3. Invest in the highest quality possible
Okay, you may be thinking, how can spending so much money on the best quality item save me money? Well, investing in a high-quality item will ensure that it lasts you for decades, saving you the money of replacing this particular item. However, cheaply-made products have a shorter life and need to be replaced sooner or later. Plus, being expensive doesn’t ensure that the product you’re buying is high quality. There are brands offering the best of the best at affordable prices, making these treasures truly a time-tested investment.
4. Look for reusable versions
Shopping for reusable versions can save you a lot of money over time. For example; a menstrual cup that can be used for years is not only kinder to the planet but also cheaper compared to monthly-bought tampons or pads. Similarly, switching to reusable water bottles, reusable food wraps, cloth towels instead of paper towels, reusable grocery bags, etc. can save those extra Rs. 10-20 every purchase.
5. Reduce food waste
Did you know according to the Food Waste Index 2021, Indian homes contribute 50kg of food waste per person every year? This food waste is thrown in landfills and adds to the greenhouse gases affecting the climate. It’s important that we take individual responsibility to know how to store our food for maximum freshness. Ensuring that you’re making the most of the resources provided to you can help you live more sustainably. The food scraps that you produce can easily be turned into veggie stock or soup, or even compost for your planets.
6. Reuse water
We fail to realise but our water can be reused as well. Simple yet effective, the water you boiled pasta in can be easily used to cook rice or in a curry. The water you used to clean your vegetables and fruits with can be given to the plants. Even the water from the shower can be collected in a bucket and added to the toilet tank.
7. Conscious laundering
Try and do as less laundry as possible as it uses less water as well as energy. Washing machines and dryers use up energy extensively so using them less often can reduce your electricity bill and lessen the load on the planet. Reuse your towels before throwing them in the wash. If you didn’t go to the gym or get your clothes dirty, try and wash them less frequently. And when you do, always use cold water.
8. Be energy smart
Switch off! As many electronic devices in your home as you can. A simple walk around the house will tell you how many devices you leave plugged on unnecessarily. Leaving them in a standby mode can still be sucking up energy. In fact, almost 10% of the average electricity bill is from appliances that were turned ‘off’. Another way is to install a low-emissivity film on your windows to keep your home cooler during summer. Without the requirement of an AC, your energy consumption slashes by 30%. Same for heat. Reduce your geyser’s setting to 50 degrees for lower energy consumption.
While these are only a few of many ways you can practice sustainability at home, the climate crisis is a global challenge that is in our hands to fight. Finding sustainable alternatives is the need of the hour. So, try and do as much as you can with whatever you have.
Read more: TRM Mindfulness Journey: Ho’oponopono