I am always looking for ways to live a more sustainable life. Making more sustainable choices doesn’t have to be difficult. There are easy yet effective ways to change your lifestyle. These changes don’t always have to have a big impact on your day to day life. In my research I came across many great tips. I have put many tips in effect in my own life and I can confirm, most of the time you won’t even notice the difference. However, our climate and our environment will. For this article I want to give some of my favorite sustainable lifestyle examples. For this list I have categorized these tips to make the list more clear.
A sustainable lifestyle is in theory a lifestyle based on a few different aspects. The first one would be reducing consumption and making more sustainable decisions when purchasing anything. The second one would be about our travel choices. How we move from point A to point B has an impact on our environment and climate. This has mostly to do with our emission rates. The third aspect is about our energy consumption. The fourth one would be our waste management. This category is not just about how we recycle but also how to limit our waste production. The amounts of options available in your country might vary as not every country is as clean. For this list I will give some sustainable lifestyle examples. Per category I will give some tips on how to put these changes in effect in your own life.
Climate change is a global problem. The decisions that our governments make when it comes to sustainability have a big impact. The decisions that are made by the individual often seem insignificant. However, it is important to note that our individual choices do not distract from the bigger picture. When it comes to a sustainable lifestyle the choices of the individual matter.
Tips on a sustainable purchasing behavior
Over- consumerism is a big contributor to many environmental problems. When you buy something I always encourage you to ask yourself the following questions: , Do I really need this? Don’t I already have an item that is similar? Is there a more sustainable option available? And can this item be recycled?
When it comes to consumerism , I have divided this category into 3 different subcategories. These are all sustainable lifestyle examples.
The food industry still has a lot of errors when it comes to Sustainability. The enormous scale of our meat and dairy farms result in large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Our cattle need to be fed. The amount of food that needs to be grown for our cows and pigs takes up great amounts of space. The meat industry is a huge contributor to our climate problems. The industry is responsible for 14,5% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. (1) But not just the meat industry forms a threat to our climate. The food packing industry contributes massively to our plastic pollution. Besides the form of packaging, food is often shipped and flown all over the world to be packed in different countries to make the process as cheap or as fast as possible. The continuous traveling of our food contributes to our greenhouse gas emissions. Here are some sustainable lifestyle examples you might want to consider:
- Try to eat less meat or avoid it entirely;
If you want to eat meat, please look into your local farm options. The animals that come from these farms often have had a better and longer life. They have also often been fed better foods creating a healthier piece of meat.
- Watch out for over- packaged foods;;
You might have seen the little nets in your supermarket that are there to replace the average plastic bag we used to put our fruit and vegetables in. These nets can be reused. Also, look out for bamboo packaging or other more sustainable packing materials.
- Buy local and seasonal;
Food that hasn’t been flown all over the world before it ends up on your plate, has contributed way less to the greenhouse emissions. Besides that the food from local farms is usually more organic and fresh, it is also a great way of boosting your local community.
- Try to eat less fish or avoid entirely;
The fishing industry is responsible for damaging not only the marine life but also contributes massively to the plastic pollution of our oceans. Overfishing Is also a big problem. By- catch has resulted in thousands if not millions of sea creatures dying for nothing.
- Grow your own food;
Growing your own vegetables or herbs is very eco- friendly. you eliminate the need to buy vegetables that have probably had to travel the world to get to your local supermarket. By growing your own food you can get a healthy supply of fresh food without enlarging your carbon footprint. (2)
This section is about make- up, facial creams, body butter etc. When it comes to beauty products, there are a few questions you could ask yourself. Is this product cruelty free? Does this product contain harmful chemicals for the environment? Is this product vegan?, and where does this product come from? Nowadays there are some great sustainable options in the selfcare Branche. Many brands have put in a lot of effort into creating more sustainable products. Testing on animals has been long overdue. So I encourage everyone to do their own research into brands that fit into a sustainable lifestyle.
Fast fashion is the phenomenon that describes our damaging clothing industry in which the time between making a fashion piece and having it in your wardrobe is becoming shorter and shorter. In this process, animals, employees and resources are often put under pressure. The environmental impact of the clothing industry is immense. Making a more sustainable choice when it comes to fashion is an essential part of a sustainable lifestyle. A few sustainable lifestyle examples would be to thrift! Here are a few tips on how to make more sustainable choices:
- Buy second hand;
Most people only wear an item a few times before throwing it out or simply keeping it in the back of their clothes, completely forgetting its existence. One persons ‘’trash’’ can be another person’s treasure. A clothing item can live much longer than we let them. Buying second hand can help extend the life cycle of a fashion item. It is often cheaper and the most sustainable choice when it comes to purchasing fashion.
- Upcycle and repair;
Learning how to fix a hole in your favorite jeans is a skill I believe everyone should learn. Just plain throwing everything out that got the slightest bit of damage is not sustainable. Lately it has become a trend to upcycle your clothes! If that dress does no longer do it for you as a dress, it might flatter you better as a shirt, or a skirt! Learning how to upcycle and repair your clothes is a great way to extend the life-cycle of your fashion piece.
Recycling your clothes should be no- brainer. Almost every fabric can be recycled. There are some great ways to turn recycled clothes into an eco- friendly fabric. Please check for your local recycling bin for clothes and other fabric- pieces.
- Buy from eco- friendly brands that make their clothes from eco- friendly fabrics;
There are some great eco- friendly fabrics available and many brands have dedicated their clothing lines to be a more sustainable option. These clothes are often of great quality and have fantastic durability. There are many many options available, like vegan leather and econyl.
Tips on sustainable traveling methods
Should I take the car or the bus? Should I walk or take the scooter? We have all asked ourselves questions like these. Choosing your vehicle is a decision that can be made in a sustainable way. Obviously, driving your bicycle would be a more sustainable option than taking your car. Taking the train would be preferred over taking an airplane when it comes to the environment. However, I do understand that there are more factors that play a part in this decision. Distance, money, physical ability and simply the availability of a specific vehicle all play a part in the matter. Here are however a few tips you might consider when it comes to traveling sustainably:
- Avoid cruise ships;
The average cruise ship uses up to 250 tons of fuel in a day. The fuel they use comes from a non- renewable source. The type of fuel used in cruise ships emits a toxic fume when burned. This causes harmful air pollution. Cruise ships are also responsible for excessive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. However, I would like to state that there is a positive shift going on. Ferries and smaller cruise ships have shifted from fuel motors to sustainable electric motors. (3) If you want to enjoy your holiday without damaging our environment, eco- tourism might be a great option for you.
- Use the public transportation instead of your own car;
Taking public transport reduces the carbon dioxide emissions by 45%. The average bus can seat up to 40 people. Imagine if all of these people would go by their own car? It makes a huge difference. The same can be said for metros and trains of course. These vehicles even drive electrically. Even better! (4)
- Take your bicycle;
This one obviously speaks for itself. A bicycle is driven by body power. Maybe the most sustainable form of energy in the world!
Just like the benefits of public transport, sharing a vehicle reduces the greenhouse emissions.
- Take a walk;
Can you get there on foot? Do it! Walking is healthy and the most sustainable way of traveling.
Tips on sustainable energy consumption
Much of our energy is still obtained from non- renewable resources. This means that the more energy we use, the more pressure we set on these resources, which is in turn bad for the environment and our climate. Watching your energy usage can be done in a few simple ways. Turning off the lights when leaving the room for example. Another great way is by installing solar panels on your roof. However, this can be quite a costly change. Another way of making a difference is checking where your energy comes from. There are energy suppliers that get their energy from renewable resources more than others. I encourage you to do your own research but here are some simple tips:
- Choose for rechargeable batteries;
- Use LED lighting;
- Instead of heating up your house, put on an extra layer of clothes;
- Hang up your wet laundry instead of drying them in the machine;
- Turn off most of your electricals at night.
Tips on sustainable waste management
The way we deal with our waste has a huge negative effect on our environment and climate. Recycling can be done with most of our waste. Not just plastic, glass and metals can be recycled. Also make sure that your e- waste is brought to the right place. The landfills exist for a bigger part out of organic waste. Your organic waste however can be turned into a useful compost. Composting is a great way of giving your waste a second ”live’. Another great way to put your ‘’used’’ water to use is by using your wastewater, like the water you showered with, to flush your toilet.
What to do next?
Choosing to live more sustainably most of the time comes to making some small changes in your life. I hope this article gave you an insight in how you can usually quit easily and make your way of living better for our planet. These are however just a few tips. There are many more Sustainable lifestyle examples on how to live more sustainably! So go out there and create a lifestyle that suits you and our planet best!