Sometimes making a change can feel like an insurmountable task if you’re not sure where to start. The world is so big, can you really make an impact? The answer is, “yes"! All change is made through incremental modifications in consciousness and then through your active decisions.
You don’t have to make large, sweeping alterations to your regiment at first, or ever, if you don’t want to. Living waste-free is awesome, but not exactly realistic for everyone. In fact, it might be easier to start small and work your way up. When it comes to being more eco-friendly, there are small changes you can make to your everyday routine that can pretty significantly help the environment over time. Here are a few that will make Mother Nature smile.
1. Think Fashion and Eco Forward
In general, the fashion industry isn’t great for the environment. It pollutes freshwater sources and most clothing eventually just ends up at a landfill. The next time you’re tempted to buy from a “fast fashion” brand, consider buying your clothes second-hand. Right now, there’s a lot of retro fashion popping back up. Check out consignment and vintage stores. You may find pieces that are right on trend that won’t contribute to a troubling industry.
Understandably, you’re not going to want to buy all of your clothes second-hand, especially your unmentionables. In those cases, do your research and shop for brands that are doing the work to reduce their footprint. Sustainable clothing lines are becoming more important to consumers. If enough people switch to sustainable fashion, it’ll force companies to rethink the way they produce clothes.
2. Say, “Plastic Who?”
Although some people are very diligent about recycling plastic, the fact of the matter is that most single-use plastics just end up in a landfill anyway. One way you can help out the environment is by choosing brands that use as little single-use plastics in their packaging as possible. This may take a little extra thought on your part, but ultimately, it’s worth it!
For example, the next time you notice that you’re getting low on laundry detergent, consider skipping the convenience store and buy online from an eco-friendly laundry company. These companies cut out the large plastic containers and opt for fully dissolvable detergents in recyclable containers. Over time, you’ll be making a real difference.
3. Don’t Shy Away From A Little More Laundry
In order to save more of the world’s beautiful trees, consider taking on just a little more laundry at the end of the week. By switching to products like reusable cotton pads—for removing makeup—and washable “paper” towels, you can reduce the number of trees needed to produce products over time. You may even find that the reusable texture is better for cleansing/cleaning as well as your pocketbook.
2. Weigh Your Choices
Companies tempt consumers with the convenience of single-use plastics all the time. According to Bea Johnson, who has been living an almost zero waste lifestyle for ten years, one of the best ways to go green is by denying these conveniences.
Understandably, those conveniences make using that product easier, which is why you simply need to plan ahead. Pack your own reusable straw. There are reusable straws that can be stored on your keyring, so you never forget to pack them. If you’re an avid coffee drinker, buy your own tumbler. You don’t have to stop going to your favorite places, like Starbucks. They’ll honor that you brought your own container, and even give you a discount for using your own thermos!
5. Catch the Bus Or Train When You Can
Even if you own a car, you can help the environment out by taking the bus or train whenever you can. Public transportation will always be running as close to its schedule as possible. By taking the bus, you won’t be adding to the carbon emissions at that time. It’s true that big companies contribute to the most carbon dioxide being released into the environment, but again, every little bit helps, so do your part whenever possible.
How many times have you tried to hold yourself accountable, but slipped back into old habits? If that sounds like something you’ve totally done, don’t beat yourself up. Simply acknowledge what you’ve done in the past and strive to be better in the future. Trying to be environmentally perfect will only lead to frustration. Doing your best to be sustainable, but extending grace to yourself will make your sustainable choices more sustainable.