Something that has been so important to me lately is reducing my carbon footprint. I never thought that my actions alone would make much of an impact, but then I had a thought… If everyone thinks this, nothing would ever change.
My childhood best friend of 10 years (Wow, I feel old just saying that) has made a conscious effort over the past year to preserve and restore our planet. I have taken in so many useful and practical tips just from being in close proximity to her. I figured there was no one better than her to share some tips on how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Below you will find 10 tips that Kate recommends implementing into your daily routine. These tips were written by her in hopes that they would be easy, practical, and affordable. Enjoy!
1. Eat less meat – Try Meatless Monday!
After trying to go completely vegetarian for a week, I realized the lifestyle was not for me. For now. A lot of you probably feel the same way! Perhaps your mom still cooks meals that you want to take advantage of, or maybe meat is your absolute favorite thing to eat and giving it up sounds like a nightmare. I get it. The thing is, though, you do not have to have a completely meat-free diet to help the planet. I made the decision to stop eating both beef and pork, as I had discovered that these industries had an especially harmful impact on our environment. I also decided to participate in Meatless Monday. For more information on that, check out meatlessmonday.org.
2. Buy secondhand clothes!
A sad truth I’ve learned in the past couple years is that the fashion industry is horrible for our planet, especially with the rise of fast fashion – cheap clothes made with cheap products. Businessinsider.com informs us that “The fashion industry produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions, is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply, and pollutes the oceans with microplastics.”
I love shopping and playing with different styles, so I have discovered some alternatives that allow me to do this while still being mindful! Next time you are looking for new clothing consider purchasing from a thrift store. I have found so many deals on unique items doing this. It’s kind of like going on a hunt for hidden treasure; you never know what you’ll find! Other options are to buy from or swap with your friends, or to shop with companies that are taking real steps towards sustainability. Also consider buying items made with sturdier fabrics. They will probably be more expensive, but will last you a few years vs. a season or two.
3. Say no to the straw!
Start using metal straws, or even reusable plastic ones. Single use plastic straws often slip through the cracks and don’t make it into the recycling bin. This leads to them ending up in our oceans. You may have heard it before, as it has been circling the internet for a few years now, but our oceans are projected to have more plastic in them than fish by 2050!
It’s a small change, but to our ocean friends it makes all the difference. The turtles will thank you.
4. Turn off the lights!
This saves energy and lowers your electrical bill! A win-win.
5. Turn off the water!
Use less water by remembering to turn it off while you brush your teeth or wash your hands. It’s such a simple thing I often forget it myself!
Look into your city’s recycling guidelines and see which items you might be able to send off to a new life, instead of to the landfill!
7. Use less toilet paper.
This one is not something I ever thought about it until I became more interested in an eco-friendly lifestyle. As a single use paper product, it is already bad for the environment, but what really causes the issue is the production of it, specifically its correlation with deforestation. According to National Geographic we flush approximately 27,000 trees down the toilet every single day.
Next time you go to the restroom, take a second to consider how much toilet paper you need, versus how much you’re actually using. You’ll probably be shocked, as I was, at how much extra your absentmindedly tearing off!
8. Reusable cups!
This one is super simple to implement into your life, and it keeps loads of single use plastic bottles out of our landfills! I first started using a reusable water bottle for school and travel purposes. This is pretty easy to do these days because many public places such as universities, airports, and places of work, have added bottle filling stations to their fountains. The hardest part is remembering to bring your bottle each day, hahaha.
As a coffee lover, and frequent Starbucks customer, I decided it would also be worth my while to invest in a couple of reusable coffee cups. This change is a little more difficult because, unlike a water bottle, you’ll probably want to wash it between every drink. If you drink coffee as much as I do this can feel like a bit of a hassle. That is why I sometimes opt to simply go inside if I have time and ask to have my coffee in a glass or mug! Yes, they have them!
9. Bring your own shopping bags!
This one is fun because you get to save the planet, and look cute doing it! Hahaha. Much like reusable cups, the most difficult part of making this switch is remembering to bring your bags to the store. Try leaving your bags in the trunk, or if you only need a couple things consider just carrying them to the car!
10. Don’t strive for perfection, strive for improvement.
You are going to mess up. You’ll forget your cup or your bags, you’ll tear off too much toilet paper, and you’ll leave lights on when you’re too tired to get up and turn them off. These things are inevitable. Instead of beating yourself up every time you make a mistake, use it as a reminder to do better next time. We are all on our own journeys toward sustainability and the growth process looks different for everyone. What matters to our beautiful planet Earth is that you continue to try, and by doing so, inspire others to do the same.
I hope you have found these tips to be helpful. All of these are attainable and realistically so simple for all of us to implement in our lives.
I’d like to give a special thanks to my sweet friend Kate for taking the time to write these tips out for y’all. If you don’t already, follow her on instagram @thekatesaylor. She posts wholesome earthy content and has a way with her words.
What are ways that you contribute to living an eco-friendly lifestyle? We’d love to hear.