If you’ve been trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle for awhile, you’ve probably mastered the basics. You carry a reusable water bottle and have mastered the art of saying, “no straw thanks.” You rarely set foot in a grocery store without a reusable bag, and maybe even shop the bulk bin and buy plastic free cleaning products.
If that describes you, you’re already doing an awesome job reducing your carbon footprint and might be ready to level up your sustainability game to live an even greener lifestyle. However, making these more basic steps is challenging enough and you may feel unsure of what to do next. If you’re trying to be even more sustainable this Earth month, try these advanced sustainability tips to take our eco-conscious lifestyle to the next level.
Think beyond packaging
A quick Google search for sustainability tips will lead you to information on why single use plastic is one of the biggest threats to our environment and a major contributor to climate change. For this reason, a great place to start when trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle is limiting your use of single use plastic packaging.
However, a majority of a product’s carbon footprint comes from the resources required to create that item. From extraction of materials to manufacturing to shipping emissions, an item’s package only represents a tiny fraction of its carbon footprint. While this may feel completely out of your control, begin being cognizant of the full lifecycle of a product to make more mindful choices about what you choose to bring into your life.
When I first learned about the detrimental effects of single use plastic I was pretty horrified. When I realized the environmental impact an item has before it makes it to the store, my mind was blown all over again. Once you develop an awareness of the carbon footprint of each item you choose to bring into your home, it can feel overwhelming to say the least.
In order to reduce your impact on the environment, one of the most simple sustainability tips is to purchase less. By limiting your consumption of new items, you limit the resources used to produce your purchases. And if you need to scratch the itch to buy new things, consider thrifting. By purchasing second hand, you avoid creating a demand for new items to be produced. You also save items that may have otherwise been destined for landfill.
Eat less animal products
When considering which lifestyle changes you’re going to commit to in order to lower your carbon footprint, it’s important to be mindful of which changes will have the largest impact. Switching to a plant focused diet is one of the best things you can do for mama Earth. Meat and dairy consumption contribute to roughly three quarters of the greenhouse gas emissions of an average diet. Even cutting back on these items will drastically reduce your carbon footprint.
Consider your home energy use
I thought I had my carbon footprint pretty under control, to be honest. But then an energy report from my power provider showed it may not be as low as I thought. Everything we do at home—preparing food, showering, doing laundry, watching TV, and switching on a lamp—has an environmental impact. Most utility companies will provide you with a usage summary. You can use to understand where your usage falls compared to your neighbors. This is a great jumping off point to sense how you’re doing and then work to minimize your use.
From here, you can take on simple tweaks to lower your home energy usage. Shortening showers, turning off lights, and limiting heating and cooling will save money and limit your footprint.