10 things we can do to be more sustainable

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Have you decided to live a more sustainable life?

Even if we want to take care of the environment, we’re so used to modern life that sometimes it’s hard to figure out how we can contribute to being more sustainable.

However, recently, I’ve realized that the small things we do every day have a great impact on the environment and our future.

So, if you also want to find out the basics of becoming more environmentally friendly, here are 10 things we can do to be more sustainable.

1) Turn off the lights when you leave a room

Let’s start with the simplest thing you can do to help the environment.

And before I do, let me ask you a question.

Do you ever turn off the lights when you leave the room?

The reason I’m asking this is that most people don’t. They leave the lights on, even when they’re not in the room.

At a first glance, it might seem like a minor issue. After all, you’re only leaving the lights on for a few minutes. It’s not like you leave them on for an entire hour.

However, think about it this way. If everyone leaves the lights on when they’re not in the room, it means that there are more lights left on than necessary at any given time.

And that’s a waste of energy and resources!

This is a big problem because most people don’t realize that leaving lights on is a big waste of energy and money.

In fact, I was the one who never realized that leaving the lights on was a problem.

But when I started to think about it, I realized how much energy we waste by leaving the lights on. And I also learned that changing this habit and becoming more sustainable is possible.

And you know what?

Other than helping the environment, by turning off the lights when you leave a room, you can save up to 10% of your electricity bill!

So, the first thing we can do to be more sustainable is to turn off the lights when we leave a room. This is something we should all do every day!

In your home, turn off the lights when you leave a room, and unplug all charging devices when not in use.

2) Use reusable bags for shopping

Just imagine the typical scenario of going to the grocery store.

You go to the supermarket, pick up some groceries, and then you leave.

If you’re like most people, after getting home, you’ll throw away all the plastic bags that were used to carry your groceries from the supermarket.

This is a very common scenario in modern life.

Sadly, we don’t even realize how much we’re wasting.

But let’s think about it for a moment.

What happens to those plastic bags after you throw them away?

They end up in landfills, polluting the environment. And they’ll stay there for thousands of years!

Therefore, this is a big waste of energy and resources that we can easily avoid by using reusable bags instead of plastic bags.

However, it can be avoided by taking reusable bags with you when you go shopping.

Sure, it’s not as convenient as using plastic bags for shopping. I’m even sure that you will find it hard to get used to this new lifestyle.

In my case, when I decided to stop using plastic bags, I had to get used to bringing my own bags with me when I went shopping.

But after a while, it became a habit, and now I don’t even think about it. This is a good thing!

Why am I so convinced that it’s a way to be more sustainable?

Well, a 2022 study shows that bringing a reusable bag for shopping has a positive effect in reducing plastics.

If we all do this simple action, we can save thousands of tons of plastic every year! And that is a great contribution towards a more sustainable world!

So, if you want to help reduce your carbon footprint and live more sustainably, take reusable bags with you when you go shopping!

You’ll save money and help the environment at the same time! Win-win!

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3) Buy locally grown food

Speaking of grocery stores, there’s one more thing I’d like to share with you.

The next time you go to the supermarket, try to buy local products.

Now I’m sure you’re confused and don’t even understand why this can be counted as a sustainable action.

Let me explain my example.

At the grocery store, I try to buy only local food. By doing so, I’m supporting local farmers and reducing the amount of food that needs to be transported from thousands of miles away.

I know that it’s a bit more expensive to buy directly from the producers rather than from supermarkets, but it’s worth it!

Buying local means that you’re helping the environment in many ways.

First of all, when you buy local products, you reduce the distance your food has to travel before reaching your table. This reduces transportation costs and pollution!

Secondly, when you buy local products, you support small businesses and help them grow! That is a big contribution towards a more sustainable world!

And last but not least, if you buy local products, you’ll reduce the carbon footprint of your food.

Why?

Well, let’s think about it for a second. If you buy local products, they won’t have to travel far to reach your supermarket or grocery store.

Therefore, they won’t need so much fuel in order to be transported from the producers to the stores. And that means fewer carbon emissions.

Now, this doesn’t mean that it’s not sustainable to buy foreign products. It can be really sustainable depending on where they come from.

For example, buying organic products from another country is more sustainable than buying conventional products from your country!

So make sure you know what you’re buying before you decide if it’s sustainable or not!

4) Grow your own food

Okay, it’s an amazing habit if you can adapt to buying locally grown food and supporting local farmers.

But if you want to take your commitment to sustainable living to the next level, why not grow your own food?

I know it’s not easy (at least for me), but it’s worth trying!

Growing your own food is an amazing way of contributing to a more sustainable world. It will allow you to help the environment in many ways!

In simple words, when food is grown in a factory, it uses a lot of energy and water. But when food is grown naturally, it uses much less energy and water.

This is great for the environment because it uses less water and energy, and it doesn’t pollute the air.

How can you start?

Well, just like anything, growing your own food isn’t easy. It takes time, patience, and dedication. But if you really want to do it, here are some tips that might help you:

Start small!

If you aren’t sure if growing your own food is for you, start small and see how it goes!

Growing a few plants in your garden or on your balcony is a great start! You can grow herbs or lettuce, for example. It’s easy to grow them, and they don’t require much energy or water either. So if you’re just starting out, try growing herbs or lettuce!

Experiment!

Don’t be afraid of failing! If it doesn’t work out the first time around, try again.

Growing your own food is a learning experience, and it will probably take some time until you figure out what works best for you. You can also check out this MasterClass by Ron Finley where he teaches gardening online.

So make sure to experiment with different things until you find what works best for your specific situation.

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5) Buy recycled products

Let’s focus a bit more on buying habits and explain why you should try to buy recycled products.

Whenever I need a new pair of jeans or a t-shirt, I check if they are made out of recycled materials.

It doesn’t have to be a big brand to be sustainable. You can find plenty of second-hand clothing in thrift stores and online shops.

But why should you buy recycled products?

I’m sure you’ve heard that recycling is one of the most important things we can do to help the environment.

But how many of you actually do it? And how many of you know that recycling can also be part of a sustainable lifestyle?

Well, let me explain why buying recycled products is also an important part of living a more sustainable life.

First of all, when buying recycled products, you prevent waste from reaching landfills! You save the environment from unnecessary pollution!

Secondly, when you buy recycled products, you support small businesses and help them grow! Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and by buying recycled products, you’re helping them stay strong!

Believe it or not, based on EPA estimates, 75% of all waste is completely recyclable!

Sadly, we only recycle about 67.2 million tons of waste each year from a possible 267.8 million tons. And that’s not nearly enough!

So, if you’re looking for a way to help the environment, start by recycling your waste and buying recycled products.

6) Be a smart consumer

Not only can you help the environment by buying recycled products, but you can also help it by generally being a smart consumer.

What does it mean to be a smart consumer?

It means that you should avoid buying products that are made out of materials that cannot be recycled.

Think about all the plastic packaging you buy and how often these things end up in landfills! It’s sad to say, but most of these products don’t have a second life.

So, here’s what you can do:

When you’re shopping for groceries, clothes, or even appliances, be a smart consumer and buy eco-friendly products.

The reason is that by buying eco-friendly products, you support the environment because their production is less harmful to the air and water.

When you buy products that pollute the environment, you’re actually harming everyone.

Therefore, when you buy eco-friendly products, you’re actually being sustainable for yourself and for others as well.

So, next time you go shopping, try to avoid buying items with excessive plastic packaging.

You can also try to buy fewer disposable items like paper towels and napkins. And when you do buy them, try to find ones made out of recycled materials!

7) Eat less meat and more fruits and veggies

Want to know one of the best ways to be a smart consumer and become more sustainable?

Well, you can just start by eating less meat and more fruits and veggies.

The thing is that when you eat meat, you pollute the air with harmful gasses like CO2 and methane.

When you eat fruits and veggies, you don’t pollute the air with harmful gasses.

Taking care of our planet starts with what we put on our plates. Eating less meat and more fruits and veggies actually helps the environment in multiple ways.

How so?

Because the production of meat, eggs, and dairy products is one of the biggest contributors to climate change.

That’s because producing these foods requires a lot of resources such as water, land, and fuel. And all this comes at a great cost to our planet!

According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), livestock production is responsible for 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions!

And for me, that’s a clear indicator of how important it is to reduce our consumption of meat!

I’m not saying that it’s easy to immediately become a vegetarian. But I am saying that it’s important to start by changing our eating habits!

So, next time you decide to cook a meal, buy more fruits and veggies and less meat.

You can also try to cook your meals using more veggies and less meat. This way, you’ll be doing the environment a big favor!

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8) Use less water when you shower or wash dishes

Let me share another important tip that you can use while cooking.

Use less water when showering or washing dishes.

The first time I was impressed by how sustainably people were trying to reduce their water consumption was when I visited Oslo.

I was just brushing my teeth when I suddenly noticed a small poster on the wall, right next to the sink.

The poster had some text that said something like “If you want your kids to drink clean water in the future, start by using less water now.”

Not to mention that generally, I was fascinated by the sustainable lifestyle of Norwegians.

So, I just had to ask my host about the poster. And it turned out that the Norwegian government was trying to encourage Norwegians to take more responsibility when it comes to water consumption.

The thing that made me think about it is that Norway is a country with a lot of snow and rain. So, they have plenty of water!

But they also have a lot of trees and forests that are being destroyed by too much water consumption. So, their government decided to put up these posters in all public bathrooms across the country!

And now I’m wondering: why don’t we have any such posters in our bathrooms?

I know that this may look like a small thing, but if we all start taking responsibility for our water consumption, we will be able to save a lot of water!

We’ll be able to reduce the damage done by drought and make sure that our environment stays green for future generations!

That really got me thinking about how important it is to use less water in everyday life.

And I’m not just talking about using less water when you’re washing dishes or showering.

I’m also talking about using less water when you brush your teeth and when you take a shower!

You see, if we continue with our current ways of consuming and wasting resources, our planet is going to run out of fresh water!

So let’s make sure that we don’t waste it!

9) Don’t buy too many things you don’t need

Here’s another thing I realized when I was in Norway:

Another easy way to be more sustainable is by not buying too many things you don’t need.

As the locals in Oslo told me, we buy too many things, they end up in landfills and they pollute the environment. So, most Norwegian people don’t buy too many things they don’t need.

There are a lot of advertisements on TV and in magazines in Norway. But most Norwegians I’ve talked to don’t believe in them!

It seems that people in Norway have learned to be more selective about the things they buy. And I think this is great!

So, why don’t we all start doing the same?

Just start by buying fewer clothes, but better quality ones!

I mean, I’m the first one who buys tons of new clothes when there’s a sale at some clothing store. But after some time, I just realized that I don’t even like those clothes anymore!

The truth is that when we buy cheap clothes that don’t last long and end up in the trash sooner than later, we’re actually harming the environment!

That’s because every year, millions of tons of clothing end up in landfills or as waste on beaches.

And that’s just not sustainable! So, how can we do better?

Well, one way is by buying fewer clothes, but ones that last longer and are made out of recycled materials.

Another way is by buying second-hand clothes from thrift stores or even from other people who no longer need them.

You can also try to repair your old clothes instead of throwing them away after they get damaged.

Finally, you can avoid buying fast fashion items like t-shirts with logos on them or sweatpants with words printed on them.

Instead, look for quality clothing that lasts longer and makes you feel good about yourself without having to spend a lot of money on it!

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10) Go for a digital detox

And here’s the final tip I’d like to share with you about being more sustainable:

One of the best ways to go green is through a digital detox!

What does a “digital detox” even mean?

Well, it’s another term that my friend in Oslo used to explain to me when we were talking about the importance of being more sustainable.

So, what is a digital detox?

It’s a term that refers to avoiding technology whenever you can.

Digital detox means that you unplug from technology for a certain amount of time. It means that you should get out of the digital world whenever you can in order to be more present and keep a better connection with the people around you!

When you unplug from technology, you use less electricity, and you actually help the environment.

When you’re using technology, you’re usually using electricity. However, when you’re not using technology, you’re not using any electricity.

Here’s what I mean:

The digital world is full of distractions.

You can’t just turn off your phone when you’re at home or in the office. It’s now so easy to be connected via your phone. And that’s also a reason why we spend so much time on our phones nowadays!

So, if you really want to be more sustainable, you should try avoiding being too connected all the time.

Final thoughts

To sum up, there are more things that you can imagine doing in order to be more sustainable. Most times, even a small step can be a big step for the environment.

And that’s why I really do hope you will take the time to read this article and try to use some of the tips that I’ve shared with you here.

So, whenever you can, try to think about all of these ideas and find ways to actually implement them in your life.

Nato Lagidze

Nato is a writer and a researcher with an academic background in psychology. She investigates self-compassion, emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and the ways people make decisions. Writing about recent trends in the movie industry is her other hobby, alongside music, art, culture, and social influences. She dreams to create an uplifting documentary one day, inspired by her experiences with strangers.

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