Making the commitment to live a more sustainable life is great, but it’s also difficult. We’ve gotten used to a lot of things that we may not even know are unsustainable, either because they’re just so inconspicuous, or because we’ve gotten used to the convenience so we don’t even think about the cost of it. If you’re reading this, that means you’re probably trying to get past those things and make changes in your life in order to be kinder to the planet. Yay! But that also might mean that you’ve had a look around the internet and have been faced with a thousand and one things that you can do and don’t know where to start.
Here at Your Conscious Cart, we have a real love for helping out with those who are just starting out because we know exactly how it felt to start this journey and be overwhelmed with information. So, if you’re a beginner and are wanting some advice on baby steps you can take to ease yourself into a more sustainable lifestyle, here are five super easy things you can do to get started on living a little bit more sustainably.
CHOOSE PAPERLESS BILLING
Switching to electronic bank statements and utility bills sent to your email and opting out of mail correspondence from any club, community, or program you are a part of may seem like a little thing, but it’s really not. Opting to receive these things via email means, not only is paper being saved but transport emissions are also being reduced because these letters don’t have to be delivered to your door. It’s also a great way to reduce clutter at home! The best part is that this is something you can do quite easily once and never have to think of again.
UPGRADE YOUR LIGHT BULBS
Check if your lightbulbs are still the traditional incandescent ones. If they are, switch them out for more energy-efficient ones. You have two options: CFLs or LEDs.
CFLs, or compact fluorescent lamps, use about 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last for about 10,000 hours.
LEDs, or light emitting diodes, are the newest types of light bulbs and the most energy-efficient ones on the market today. They use even less energy than CFLs and last even longer - up to 50,000 hours. They can also withstand cold temperatures and reduce your power consumption by up to 80% yearly. They are, however, the more expensive of the two, but when considering buying them, take into account the fact that they can last you a very, very long time - sometimes up to 25 years.
REDUCE FOOD WASTE
This is one of the biggest problems in the world today. And while the problem is systemic and multifaceted, it’s certainly one that can be addressed in your household in different ways.
Meal planning to make sure you use everything you buy is a good one. You can buy exactly what you need, use everything up, and waste nothing. It also saves you money. Storage is also a big deal. Knowing the proper way to store things like produce can make the food you buy stay fresher for longer, giving you more time to use them up. You might be surprised at how many things actually do better outside of the fridge. There are also products out there that can help you keep your food fresher for longer that might be useful if food waste has been quite a problem in your household.
TAKE STOCK OF YOUR STUFF & GET ORGANISED
How many times have you bought something you thought you’ve run out of only to find the same thing under a pile of bits and bobs in a random drawer a month later? We’ve all done it and apart from just being annoying, it leads to a lot of unnecessary spending and sometimes even having things expire before we’ve even opened them. So, spend a weekend getting organised. Have a place for everything and take stock of all the extras you currently have in your home. Trust us, this will save you a lot of time and money, stop you from buying things needlessly, and reducing unnecessary waste.
And while you're at it, you might just find things that are in perfectly good condition but you no longer need. Why not give them a second life through your local charities instead of chucking them in the bin?
BUILD A BYO HABIT
As far as baby steps go, this is probably the one you’ve already heard of and are already trying to get started on. That’s because this is one that makes such a huge difference with just a little bit of everyday effort on your part. Bringing your own reusable stuff like shopping bags, cutlery & straw, drink & food containers, etc. allows you to refuse single-use plastic such as shopping bags, plastic cutlery, disposable drink cups, and straws everywhere you go. There are tons of options available for different lifestyles and aesthetics out there so we’re sure you can find one that suits you. The most important thing is to get ones that are well-made so they last you a long time. It also matters that the ones you buy fit your style and are aesthetically pleasing to you so that you’re encouraged to bring and use them every day.
Obviously, there’s so much more you can do to help reduce your impact on the environment but we think these 5 things are a good way to start. So, welcome to this journey to a more sustainable life! We hope these five baby steps can help ease you into it and get you inspired and prepared to make even more sustainable changes in the future. Good luck!