Do you want to be a little more environmentally friendly but you can’t afford solar panels or a hybrid car? Don’t worry, there are plenty of other ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle and many of them even save you money!
I started my journey to a more sustainable lifestyle over 20 years ago. I mention this because I need you to know that nothing is done overnight. It is a process with many stepping stones along the way. My first step was becoming a vegetarian. I am a huge animal lover and I was sick and tired of seeing animals mistreated and abused so I could have a quick meal. Plus the environmental impacts of eating meat made it easy for me to make the switch. Then I got really involved in recycling (and even made it my career for three years), moved on to sustainable clothing, making my own all natural cleaning products and it snowballed from there.
It’s been a long journey that I am still on, constantly finding new ways to minimise my impact on mother earth and inspire people to start making their own small changes. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed as many people think that living a green lifestyle is all or nothing. So I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 ways to ease into a sustainable lifestyle. Try starting off with one and then expand to others every few months. Even if you only make one change, you’re still having a big impact!
But don’t think that you can completely change every aspect of your lifestyle overnight. Turning your life upside down and trying to change all of your habits at once doesn’t work for anyone – I don’t care how ‘type A’ you are. So take a step back, a deep breath and chose one thing that you would like to change this month. I promise that green living is addictive. Once you start, you won’t want to stop!
Here are 10 Ways You Can Ease Into a Sustainable Lifestyle:
1. Start Recycling
Most homes today have recycling facilities. If you live in a condo in Singapore, your building has to legally provide recycling bins. If you don’t currently have these facilities, contact your building manager and request them. Recycling really is one of the best first steps to living a sustainable lifestyle. It only takes a few minutes and it has such a big impact.
2. Reduce Your Energy Usage
One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to conserve energy in your home. Install energy efficient light bulbs, turn lights and air con units off when you aren’t in the room and only turn on water heaters when needed (hot showers are seriously overrated in steamy Singapore). You should also be cleaning your air con filters regularly. If the filters are clogged it is difficult for the cold air to come out and your air conditioners will use more energy (and time!) to cool the room to the temperature you’ve set.
3. Conserve Water
H2O is one of the most valuable resources that we have, plus every drop we use also consumes energy (it needs to be transported, filtered and delivered to your tap). Some easy ways to cut down on your water usage is to take shorter showers (try timing yourself to see how quickly you can get in and out), turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, use water efficient appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines and only water your garden in the evening (so the sun doesn’t soak up the water before your plants can). You can also check out my article on how to make your toilets more water efficient by clicking here.
4. Make Homemade Products
This one can be a bit daunting at first, but choose one product in your home and try out a homemade version. Making your own cleaning products is one of the easiest places to start as many of the ingredients that you need are already in your kitchen cupboard. Plus, these store bought products are filled with toxins that can harm your family, so you will also be making a positive impact on your health.
5. Get Rid of Air Fresheners
They are ridiculously toxic and have been banned in many European countries. Plus they come in packaging that can be very difficult, if not impossible to recycle. Opt for diffusing essential oils instead as they are 100% natural and don’t come in excessive packaging.
6. Buy Used Items
New does not always mean better and with social media, finding that perfect used item has become even easier. There are so many groups online now that specialise in helping people sell their used clothing, furniture and household items. Hop on Facebook and there is a good chance that your neighbourhood or city already has a buy and sell group set up. You can also make it a social event by setting up a clothes swap with friends. Add in a couple bottles of vino and it may even turn into a monthly event.
7. Eat Greener Food
Eating is something that we all have to do, but did you know that your food choices make a huge impact on the environment? The food industry creates substantial carbon emissions during the process of growing and shipping their products around the world. The first step in eating greener is to waste less and the second step is to eat seasonal, local and organic food. Bonus, your health will thank you!
8. Stop Junk Mail!
Contact your local post office and ask how you can opt out of receiving junk mail. You can also hang your own sign on your mailbox which says “No Junk Mail”. Stay tuned for my post which will walk you through this process in Singapore.
9. Wear Sustainable Clothing
One of the most heavily sprayed crops around the world is cotton. The chemicals used as insecticides harm the environment and also harm people’s health. Luckily we have choices. Today you can buy clothing made of organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and even flax. When you are ready to take the sustainability of your clothing to the next level, look into where and/or how your outfits are made. The “good” companies will have all this information on their websites. You may even be surprised that large, accessible brands such as H&M are among the industry leaders in this field.
10. Learn More About Sustainable Living
There are so many fantastic resources available which can help to educate and inspire people to live a greener, healthier, chemical free lifestyle. Some of my favourite reads are:
- Fix It, Make It, Grow It, Bake It: The D.I.Y. Guide to the Good Life By Billee Sharp
- Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health By Rick Smith, Bruce Lourie
- The Everything Green Living Book: Easy Ways to Conserve Energy, Protect Your Family’s Health, and Help Save the Environment By Diane Gow McDilda
Making changes to anyone’s lifestyle takes time. So don’t get overwhelmed, or even worse… not do anything at all. Ease into it and pick one thing to improve on every couple of months. You can even enrol in a workshop which will not only be a lot more fun, but will give you the opportunity to meet like minded people. You can check out the Pure Living Workshops offered by My Pure Earth by clicking here. Learn how to make your own all natural cleaning supplies, pest control products and beauty must haves.
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