10 Sustainable Lifestyle Changes You Can Make

We are destroying our beautiful planet by overconsuming.

We have become mindless consumers. In every decision we make, our beautiful planet becomes an afterthought.

Hundreds and thousands of billion-dollar companies are spending billions of dollars on marketing and research to convince us to consume more and more every day. The more we consume, the more they profit.

In all these and more, the environment becomes the one common victim.

What Can We Do?

As individuals, every choice we make can have a lasting effect on the environment, and our beautiful planet in turn.

Every dollar we spend is a vote we give to some cause. If you want to save the planet, make sure you spend your dollars wisely.

Most decisions in your day-to-day life have some impact on the environment. We cannot be perfect.

However, we can be mindful consumers and make simple changes to our lifestyle that will help the environment, and make our beautiful planet a much better place to live in.

By your actions, you can make a statement. In the grand scheme of things, sure your small actions might not change the tide entirely. However, through your actions, you can inspire tens and thousands of people to at least make an effort. That ripple effect is enough to make a meaningful difference.

We don’t need a handful of people doing sustainability perfectly. We need a hell lot of people doing it imperfectly to make a lasting difference.

So, be the change and inspire other people to do at least some of the things you do.

That being said, let’s look at 10 lifestyle changes you can make for a more sustainable life.

Carry A Reusable Water Bottle

Plastic bottles are one of the worst offenders of environmental damage.

These plastics either end up in huge landfills or in the ocean destroying marine life.

Most plastics are not 100% recyclable.

As human beings, we need to drink a ton of water every day to live a healthy life. A lot of us are also out and about every day, having our lunches and dinners outside in restaurants.

In most of these cases, if we don’t have water on us, we go and buy water bottles. It might seem trivial, however, given the high number of people buying and throwing away these bottles at such a pace, the environmental impact of this is massive.

The solution is very simple.

Buy a good reusable water bottle and keep it with you at all times. Refill the bottle whenever you see a fountain or some other source of drinkable water. You won’t ever have to buy plastic bottles again then.

Not only is this a sustainable lifestyle change, but it’s also an economical one. So, you are essentially killing two birds with one stone.

Actually, three birds now that I think of it. Carrying a water bottle also means you are more likely to drink water and keep yourself hydrated. It’s one of the best things you can do for your good health.

Use Reusable Straws (Metal, Glass)

Personally, I drink a lot of Bubble Tea (Boba) every week.

You might be the same, or you might be drinking soda or some other drink as you go about your day.

When buying these from stores, it’s very natural to just pick up a straw. Some of these straws can be plastic straws which is detrimental to the environment.

To reduce your impact, instead of using these every time, just buy some reusable straws that you can use for everything.

You will find both metal and glass straws. Personally, I use glass straws, but you can use either.

I keep one set at my home and one set in the car. This covers most cases where I might need a straw.

Buy Reusable Grocery Bags

One of the biggest sources of plastic bags is grocery bags. It doesn’t only have to be grocery bags, it can be any shopping bag.

When you are at the checkout counter of a store, it’s very natural for the cashier to put everything you bought in a bag (mostly plastic) and hand it to you. You then come home, take out your newly purchased possession, and throw the bag away.

By doing so, you are creating a need for a plastic bag to be recycled, which you yourself used for at most a couple of minutes. It’s such a waste!

In this consumerist society, most of us buy things on a very regular basis. If you buy a shopping bag, with every single new purchase, the number of one-time-use shopping bags can increase very quickly.

Instead, invest some money into buying reusable shopping or grocery bags. Just keep one in your car. There are also collapsible ones that can contract all the way to become a small pouch. When you put things in, they can expand to fit very large items.

Get whichever one you like and that fits your budget, however, the truth stays. You are reducing your footprint on the environment significantly by using reusable bags than one-time-off ones.

Donate Things You Don’t Need Anymore

I am sure most of us throw away a lot of things over the course of a year. Some things we don’t like anymore, others become redundant when we buy something new, or others are just not used anymore so we don’t see a point in keeping them around.

Everything we ever purchased used up lots of resources to end up in our apartment. From production to transportation to usage, energy was spent at every stage.

Now, when we throw things away, energy will be used to transport them to the landfill as trash, where it will leave a permanent footprint on our planet.

More importantly, many of us are privileged to be able to choose what we want to keep in our life or not. Maybe we want to upgrade our bedding and blanket or buy a new device that will make our lives easy, or keep up with the fashion world by buying new clothes.

Whatever the reason we have for throwing things away, we should always remember there are always less fortunate people out there who would treasure what we have.

So, instead of throwing them away, donate them.

By donating something, not only do you stop contributing to the ever-increasing landfill, but you also avoid a new unit of the same product being produced or purchased.

Buy Used Products

This one is a little controversial. I will admit, even I do this less often than I would like to.

I grew up in a family that hates buying used products. They hate the concept of using something that has been used or worn by someone else, even though the item might be in perfect working condition.

I have had a very difficult time changing that mentality, but I am getting there now.

Buying used products is always more sustainable than buying new ones.

You do the following things by buying used:

    Stop the item from ending up in a landfill

    Reduce the need for the production of a new unit of the item

    Save money

You will have to be a little careful and mindful when buying used. You need to make sure the quality is good and the product has been taken care of over time.

I would recommend checking a few Thrift stores around you to see what’s available. I am sure you will find a few you love!

Avoid Fast Fashion

Fast Fashion has a huge environmental footprint.

The whole business idea of fash fashion companies — H&M, Zara, Forever21, GAP, SHEIN — is to produce trendy clothes at a breakneck speed for very cheap and encourage consumers to keep throwing them away and replacing them with new ones whenever “the trend” changes.

It’s a multi-billion dollar industry.

The clothes tend to be very cheap. So people don’t hesitate to throw them away after wearing them for a few times only.

Apart from the environmental impact, fast fashion also leaves a lasting impact on the employees of these companies. The employees are barely paid minimum wage and they work in dangerous factory conditions. There have been countless factory fires and other workplace disasters because of cost-cutting measures by these companies.

Stay away from fast fashion.

I understand that sustainable alternatives can be expensive for a lot of people. If that’s the case you have other options:

    Buy clothes less often

    Buy used clothes

    Buy timeless pieces that you can mix and match to create different outfits

All of these are better than buying and maintaining a fash fashion-centric lifestyle.

Consume Less

The best thing you can do for the environment and our planet is to consume less.

Consuming requires production and production requires energy which leaves a carbon footprint on the environment.

Instead, adopt a lifestyle of “less”.

The problem is, no one will tell you to consume less. We live in a world where people buy things to impress strangers, buy things to achieve certain status symbols, and on the other hand, you have corporations who only care about their bottom line. That means, they don’t leave any stone unturned to make you feel unattractive and unwanted, so that you go and buy the product that they are trying to sell.

This quote from the book “Story of More” really stuck with me:

Driving less, eating less, buying less, making less, and doing less will not create new wealth.

And because of this, there is no incentive for people to tell you about this lifestyle.

Conserving resources by consuming less is at direct odds with the industries that have helped the United States (and other countries) increase their consumption over the last 50 years and it’s tightly coupled with the pursuit of more profit, more income, and more wealth.

So no one has the incentive to tell you to consume less, even though that is what the environment needs.

We need to detox from this consumption, or things will never get better.

Take Good Care of Your Possessions

To consume less, you need to make sure you take good care of your current possessions.

Whether it’s something expensive like your house and car, or something cheaper like your keyboard or water bottle, take good care of your possessions.

By taking good care of them, you are extending their lifespan, and in doing so you are delaying your next purchase to replace them.

Buy Reusable Travel Cutlery Set

Whenever you eat out, I am sure you are used to using plastic spoons, forks, and knives. It’s very prevalent.

Even when you are going out for a picnic, it’s very natural to take cheap, one-time-use, plastic cutleries.

Don’t do it. As you must know by now, using them means disposing of them, which in turn means more waste.

You can buy a reusable travel cutlery set. I would recommend ones that are made from bamboo. They are incredibly light, durable, and easy to carry around.

If you think about it, by buying a reusable water bottle and cutlery set, you are greatly reducing your environmental impact whenever you are out and about or just eating out.

Eat Less Meat

The environmental impact of the meat industry is well documented now.

Huge amounts of energy are used to sustain this industry. That’s not to mention the acres of land destroyed to grow grain to feed the animals. One of the biggest sources of deforestation is clearing forests for animal farming.

Then you have the cows that release Methane which is almost 4x more dangerous than Carbon Dioxide in contributing to global warming.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not telling you to go vegan.

Just reduce the amount of meat you are having. If you start adding 2-3 meatless days into your week, you will already be making a huge difference.

Irtiza Hafiz