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Simple Ways You Can Start Living More Sustainably

by Meagan A. Culberson about a year ago in Sustainability
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Going Green is easier than you think!

Simple Ways You Can Start Living More Sustainably
Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

I was cleaning out my refrigerator before my weekly farmers market trip and realized I waste a lot of food! I was so disappointed in myself while throwing away produce I had never even touched and that I had so many plans for such as making a delicious Moroccan recipe called Zaalouk. I let the eggplant rot and the bok choy that I wanted to make a shrimp stir fry with wilted. So did the lettuce that I was going to use for my lunch salads. I got so preoccupied with work and errands that I did not have the energy to cook like I wanted to and let all that good food go to waste and was literally throwing away my money.

I later began to look at other ways that I have been contributing to the increase of global waste and global warming. I soon realized that I have been leaving a large carbon footprint and needed to make a change. After doing some research, I curated this little guide on how we can all alter our ways and go green!

Eat Less Meat

By Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

This is ranked first on my list because the meat and dairy industry accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which affects the depletion of our Ozone layer. Our Ozone layer is responsible for absorbing any harmful ultraviolet energy, which in layman's terms, it protects us from getting scorched by the sun.

If you're a die-hard Carnivore this may seem impossible but believe me, it's doable! I used to consume meat with every meal and challenged myself to reduce my meat consumption. The best way to start is with Meatless Mondays. I’ve saved some pretty yummy recipes that are either Vegan or Vegetarian on my Pinterest board that I love and were incredibly easy to make when I first started going meatless. Now I am 80% vegetarian and allow myself to consume meat now and then. I have tried to commit to the Vegan/Vegetarian lifestyle but the truth is…. I love BBQ and I don’t want to give it up completely. What counts is that I have decreased my consumption to aid in the reduction of the industry’s effect on the environment. You can too just by starting with this simple change.

Give Up Fast Fashion and Start Thrifting

I know, Fashion Nova has some pretty cute pieces and all of their celebrity collections hit, but no matter how cute their pieces may be, it's fast fashion and it's contributing to the increase of waste in landfills. According to UN Environment Programme, the fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water and is responsible for dumping half a million tons of synthetic microfibers into the ocean annually. If we all began thrifting more instead of continuing to buy low-quality garments for every occasion we could help decrease the effects that the fast fashion industry has on the environment.

I have found some pretty great pieces at some of my local thrift stores and even sold some of them on the Single Girl Club Poshmark and eBay pages. In turn, it has allowed me to make some extra cash to invest in my business. Plus thrifting can be significantly less expensive than buying new.

Cut Back on Plastic & Use Sustainable Products

After making the first two changes I decided that I was going to support businesses that were actively trying to improve the environment too. While scrolling on Instagram I came across an ad for a period care company called Saalt. Their vision is to make cleaner and more sustainable period care accessible to everyone. They have created high-performance products that are healthy for both their consumers and the planet.

I liked the idea of only having to buy one product for my period once every ten years and cutting back on my waste was an additional bonus. However, I wasn’t so excited about having a literal cup in my vagina all day. But to my surprise, it was incredibly comfortable! The cup’s material is sustainably sourced, flexible, and discreet. Additionally, the company is giving back by helping to fund initiatives in menstrual health, education, and sustainability.

Along with switching my period care products I cut back on my use of plastic and made the switch to bamboo. Bamboo is an excellent green alternative and absorbs carbon dioxide while releasing 35% more oxygen into the air. It grows at a rapid rate of about 3 inches per day and is 100% biodegradable! There are a lot of products that are made from bamboos such as toothbrushes, dishcloths, cutlery, makeup remover pads, and storage bins. Not only do these products look sleek and fashionable, but they also last much longer than their plastic competitors.

Bike, Carpool, or Walk

If you live in a large city like I do this is much easier to achieve. Larger metropolitan areas tend to have better public transportation and safer bike routes that make it easier to get around. However, there are ways that you can make a difference if you live somewhere where things tend to be more spread out. One rule I live by is if it is less than 3 miles away, I have to walk or bike. Not only do I get some exercise but I also get to spend time in nature, all while reducing the number of carbon emissions released in the atmosphere. I hope one day individuals who carpool and contribute to reducing car pollution receive a tax deduction, but some elected officials can not seem to comprehend that climate change is real and it may take a bit longer for something to pass Federally. For now, I continue to stay motivated to change my habits because I want a better world for my decedents and getting some extra steps in is a major bonus!

Compost & Recycle

This one is simple because all you have to do is separate your trash. Recyclable products are aluminum, cardboard, glass, paper, and plastic (but remember to cut your plastic usage). Place these products in your recycle bin or reuse what you can. I reuse all of my old wine bottles for decorations within my home and transform them into flower vases and candlestick holders. If your funds are low, you can even collect all your recyclables and cash in at your local recycling center. Money is Money!

Composting is easy and is great for the plant mamas out there! Composting requires you to collect your food waste such as vegetable and fruit scraps, used tea and coffee grounds, plant trimmings, natural paper and place it in a separate bin in your home and wait for the matter to completely decompose. Then mix all the decomposed matter in with your plant's soil to provide it with extra nutrients. If you are not a plant mama you can donate the compose to your local community garden.

The key is to start with small changes and in time these changes will transform into habits that can help save the planet. Everyone can make a difference if we work together. Working together will allow us to experience faster results and create a better world for our descendants and the generations after us.

If you have any other suggestions on how to save our planet, please let me know! I am always looking for new ways to treat our planet better.


About the author

Meagan A. Culberson

Meagan A. Culberson is the creator of the lifestyle website A platform that encourages single women to build a better relationship with themselves. Additionally, she is an aspiring producer focusing on diverse stories.

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