Everyday tips for more sustainable living

Posted by: Nellie Laskow

One of my goals going into 2017 was to live closer to a zero-waste lifestyle. I am certainly not zero-waste but I am trying to adopt habits that result in throwing fewer items into the trash day after day. It’s important to live your values – not just in one aspect of your life but in all aspects and one value I feel strongly about is living responsibly. As we say at RA, it’s not about perfection, it’s about striving to do better. I’ve compiled a little list below of things super easy things that I do to live more waste-free and share some stats that have served as a little wake-up call for me. 

Use a reusable bag when shopping not plastic bags. More that 1 million plastic bags are used every minute and it takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade and when it does degrade it just turns into plastic dust instead of biodegrading.

In addition to bringing your lunch in a reusable container use metal cutlery not a plastic for lunch. Even though the plastic in a few plastic forks is recyclable most recycling plants don’t accept them so they end up in a landfill even if you attempt to recycle it. Thus another 500-1,000 years for just a single fork to degrade. Plus, you could save 240 plastic forks a year by using just one over and over. 

rebecca atwood tote bag

Donate your clothes. Leather takes 50 years and nylon takes 30-40 years to decompose.

Keep your freezer full. It actually takes more energy to cool down an empty freezer than a full one.

Water your plants in the morning or evening. Plants lose their water to evaporation during the day. Your watering will go further if you do it early in the morning or at night.

Download the Seafood Watch App. Sushi is my weakness, I could eat it for every meal. This will help you make the right raw-fish choice.

Skip straws. This one’s a no-brainer (see, plastic) but apparently pursing your lips to drink through a straw causes wrinkles so it’s doubly good! 

Get rid of your junk mail. I was getting five credit card offers a day and finally got rid of them using CatalogChoice. The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail a year. Joining this movement saves 100 million trees, protect 28 billion gallons of water and decreases CO2 emissions from 9 million cars.

Air-dry your hair. Even 5 minutes of air drying a day saves almost 45 pounds of CO2 emissions a year. Plus, it’s great for your hair.

rebecca atwood terra cotta plants

Get more plants. This is one of my favorites because I love lots of plants in my home. Pollution-fighting plants can absorb and filter out harmful gasses. Check out this list of air cleaning plants.

Look for trusted eco-friendly trademarks when shopping: EcoLogo, Green Seal, USDA Organic, and Energy Star. 

Don’t use glitter. I only learned this one recently (and it is certainly not a challenge I encounter every day) but glitter is made of microplastics which are reportedly being eaten by fish and traveling up the food chain all the way to humans. The same goes for face washes with microbeads.

I’d love to hear ways that you try to live more sustainably. Leave me a comment below!

 

Sources:

http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2012/01/31/what-happens-to-all-that-plastic/
https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/trash/documents/marine_debris.pdf
http://www.green-energy-efficient-homes.com/energy-efficient-freezers.html
https://extension.illinois.edu/hortihints/0108a.html
http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/no-straw-please/
http://www.41pounds.org/impact/
https://www.ohioenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/e3-Smart-Student-Guide-Generic.pdf
https://brightside.me/creativity-home/the-top-15-plants-for-removing-indoor-toxins-according-to-nasa-160805/
http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/behind_the_label/370100/behind_the_label_nail_polish.html



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