Many people have started to embark on a sustainable, eco-friendly journey in recent years. They want to contribute to improving the conditions of the environment or at least mitigate some of the negative impacts our modern lifestyle has on the planet.
The obvious step to take when you are just starting is to create your reusable on-the-go kit, as we generate a lot of garbage when we are not prepared.
First, ditch the plastic single-use water bottle, change it for a reusable one, and carry it everywhere you go. If you drink a lot of coffee or tea, then a travel mug is a necessity. A reusable cutlery set will make a big difference if you eat in fast-food restaurants a lot.
Always bring a reusable shopping bag. Hopefully, if you forget one, the store where you need to shop will have our recyclable or compostable shopping bags, which we also designed to be reusable. The materials are incredibly durable, allowing you to reuse them many times. They are 100% recyclable, dramatically reducing the environmental impact of your shopping.
But what else can you do to add to these apparent improvements? Let us give you seven less talked about sustainable practices to start today:
- Support sustainable companies
The less you buy, the better, of course. Every new item means a higher carbon footprint. Every item will eventually become trash (with a few exceptions). But let's be honest, we still need to make purchases, at least to replace old, broken items. And sometimes we want to buy stuff for pleasure as well.
In these cases, you must research the company you are going to buy from and choose companies with transparent green policies. The impact of businesses is higher than our individual impact, so choosing wisely can make a huge difference.
Find out not only if the final product is green. Are the manufacturing processes eco-friendly and ethical? Do they employ local materials, do they pollute water, etc.?
Even for grocery shopping, you can consider your alternatives. Pick the store with better packaging choices, more local produce, buy in bulk, or bring your container options.
- Discard unused items in a correct way
We always need to get rid of things, and usually, we don't think much about it. We throw it away. That means literally throwing away an opportunity for sustainable action. When discarding anything, you must try hard to find a way to avoid the item going to the landfill.
The first thing, of course, is to recycle. But don't stop there. Go further. Can you donate the item you are about to throw away? Can someone in your family or friends benefit from it? If not, can you give it to a charitable organization? If you give your unwanted item more use, its carbon footprint will diminish.
- Cook more at home
There is no way around eating, we must eat, but the food we consume also has a carbon footprint. Depending on what we eat, it can be low or very high. Eating at restaurants and taking out has a higher carbon footprint than cooking at home. Restaurants will use more exotic ingredients imported from far away or use energy-consuming cooking processes. Single-use take-out containers are often impossible to recycle if you order and take food home. Restaurants are also one of the main culprits of the enormous food waste problem in developed countries.
Cooking at home is usually simpler and uses less energy. Suppose you also prioritize plant-based, local, and seasonal ingredients and avoid processed foods. In that case, you are considerably reducing your food carbon footprint. Be careful always to use all of the food, and not waste it.
- Grow your food
To add to cooking more, any ingredient you can grow at home will have a much lower carbon footprint than their bought counterpart. Even if it's only the spices and herbs, you love to use. Food travels worldwide, using up fossil fuels and energy to maintain it at the correct temperature during travel. The less the food has to travel, the better. It travels just from the garden to your plate if you grow it at home, without wasting energy.
- Don't own a car
Not having a car might be easy, complex, or impossible, depending on your location. But we all know cars are a massive contributor to the environmental problems. The use of fossil fuels, their emissions, the manufacturing of the car, and even disposing of it are all contributors to pollution and other environmental issues.
If you live in a location where it is easy to use public transport or a bike, do it. And what if you need to travel by car for holidays or a one-off-road trip? Then rent a car. It will also be much cheaper than maintaining a vehicle for the whole year if you have a convenient way to get around most of the time.
- Compost even if you live in an apartment
Whatever you do, even if you use all the edible parts of the food, there will always be scraps of food that you can't use. If you put them into your garbage bin, these scraps will end up in the landfill. Anything that ends up in the dump will produce greenhouse gas. Composting at home might seem like a colossal endeavor, but on the contrary, it is pretty simple.
Open your mind and heart to vermicomposting. A small vermicomposter that you place on the balcony or even inside the apartment will help you with all your organic, raw food waste. Invest a little time, in the beginning, to start your bin (buy one, or make your own) and learn about vermicomposting. Afterward, the maintenance of the vermicomposter takes 5 minutes or less a day. If appropriately maintained, it doesn't smell at all.
- Clean up your electronic presence
As weird as it may seem, even emails and anything stored on the internet has a carbon footprint. Why? We must keep the information in a physical server somewhere in the world. It occupies the server's memory. To maintain the server, we use space and energy, and as we all know, most power still comes from non-renewable resources.
We hope to inspire you with these unusual actions to do more for our planet. Have a great green journey!