How to live a more sustainable lifestylePublished on 2022-03-29
Most environmental experts agree that our consumerist lifestyle is the main driving factor of climate change. Many of us feel guilty about the environmental impact of our way of life, but do not know how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. The good news is that we all can do things to contribute to improved planetary health, and that it really is not that difficult to find ways to adopt more sustainable lifestyle.
- Rethink your energy consumption – The simplest acts make a world of difference.
- Shop responsibly – Make your personal style more unique.
- Save water – Adopt great habits without even thinking about it.
- Go for green transport – Good for your health and for your finances.
- Recycle and upcycle – Because it is so much fun!
What is sustainable living?
Sustainable living can be described as a lifestyle that attempts to minimise the use of natural and personal resources by an individual or by an entire society. At first glance, this may seem hard to integrate with our modern, urbanised society, but the truth is that every effort makes a difference, especially if we all make the efforts as a collective. Nevertheless, it all starts with you, so here are some simple tips on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
1. Rethink your energy consumption
It is easier than you think to reduce your energy consumption. Simple acts like turning the lights off when you leave the room, installing motion sensor lighting, unplugging your mobile charger when you do not use it, and turning your television set off instead of leaving it on standby, make more difference than you may think.
Go for energy-efficient lighting technologies like LED (Light Emitting Diode). LED lights use much less energy to provide the same amount of light as other forms of lighting. Always also check the energy labels of household appliances before you make your purchase and if the equipment you want to buy has an option that makes it more eco-friendly, go for it. Even if it costs a little bit more, it will be worth it in the long run, like this example of green lift technology that makes your home lift up to 45% more energy-efficient.
Making sure that your home is properly insulated is very important to prevent energy waste. Start by checking your windows, given that poorly insulated windows are one of the most common causes of heat loss. If you own a house and want to produce your own energy from a sustainable source, investing in a geothermal heating system or installing solar panels are great options. However, exciting new technologies are developing all the time and soon there could even be solar windows.
If you cannot, or do not want to alter the building you live in, a great way to make your energy consumption more sustainable is to choose a green energy supplier. An increasing number of companies offer electricity and heating from green and renewable resources.
2. Shop responsibly
The textile industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world, and although new recycling technologies are being developed, the recycling of textiles is currently almost non-existent. The fashion industry has the biggest share of the global textile market and the demand for clothes and apparel just keeps growing. So, what can we do to shop more responsibly?
- Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood offers great advice for buying new clothing: “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last”.
- Do not throw away perfectly good garments but offer them to your friends or donate them to charity. If you pass your old sweater on to someone else, that person may not need to buy a new one.
- If you love shopping and renewing your wardrobe, buy second-hand or vintage clothing. The longer a garment is used, the less its environmental impact.
Whatever product you buy, you should always make sure that it has been manufactured in a sustainable way, both from an environmental and humanitarian perspective. Check if the product contains reused materials and to what extent it can be recycled. An increasing number of environmentally responsible manufacturers have Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for their products that provide you with all the information you need, like this EPD for the most popular lift model by Kalea Lifts.
3. Save water
In the rich countries of the world, large volumes of perfectly clean water are wasted every day. Although it is true that most of that water will eventually find its way back into the system, it will go through a long series of energy-intensive water purification processes before it does. In short, the less water we waste, the better for the planet.
One of the easiest ways to save water is simply to turn off the tap. Shortening your showering time and taking the habit of turning the shower off when applying shampoo and soap, will save the water for when you actually need it. Following the same logic, you should never leave the tap running while doing the dishes or brushing your teeth. If you have a house with a garden, you can also consider collecting rainwater to water your plants instead of using purified drinking water from the tap.
Another way to save water is to make sure that you always run full machine loads when using your washing machine or dishwasher and to always use the eco-program. You can also try airing your knitwear and jeans instead of washing them. This will not only save water but make your garments last longer.
To reduce your water consumption even further, you can invest in a water-saving showerhead or toilet. The next time you need to upgrade your bathroom, consider going for water-saving equipment. Today, most manufacturers of bathroom equipment offer a wide range of water-saving alternatives.
4. Go for green transport
We have all heard about flight shame and although it is true that an airplane generates higher carbon emissions than a train, for example, most of us do not travel by air or train every day. However, in terms of everyday transport, achieving a more sustainable lifestyle is easier than you might think:
- Walking or taking the bike instead of the car is good for the environment and beneficial to your health.
- Using public transport instead of your car is the next best choice. It reduces carbon emissions and at least makes you walk to the bus stop!
- Reserving the use of your car for the occasions when you absolutely need it reduces pollution and makes you save money on petrol or diesel.
- Paying the extra fee for climate-neutral deliveries on your internet purchases is also a good deed that most people can afford but buying things locally, without any shipment is of course even better.
There are more things that you can do, depending on your financial resources, living place, and needs. For example, the next time you need to buy a new car, you can consider going electric. If an electric car is not an option, another good way to reduce your carbon footprint is to carpool to work with a colleague. If you live in a city and only use your car from time to time, it may even be possible to get rid of it altogether and join a car club for car sharing.
5. Recycle and upcycle
Recycling has been a thing for a long time, and that is for a very good reason, namely that regardless of how careful and responsible we try to be as consumers, we will always generate waste. However, as we all know, if recycled or composted, waste can become something new. So, if you have not started sorting your waste yet, just buy the bins that you need and start recycling. If you make waste sorting part of your daily routine, it really is not that difficult.
Sorting waste into your kitchen bins is a great start, but there are so many more things that are easy to do! Here are a few ideas on how you can start to reuse or upcycle some of the things that you already have at home:
- Use the plastic bags you have as many times as you can before recycling them.
- Reuse disposable plastic punnets and cups to store food or as handy paint containers for smaller DIY projects before you recycle them.
- Use your worn-out socks and T-shirts to polish your shoes, silver, or brass instead of just throwing them away.
- Upcycle old tin cans and use them to store pens and cutlery or as vases or planters.
- Re-upholster or repaint worn-out furniture that you like instead of replacing it.
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