This week I’ll share three simple sustainability tips you can easily incorporate into your daily life. Living more sustainably is not about buying expensive things nor is it a lot of hassle. It’s about being a little bit more aware what you already own and what you consume.
Carry a bag
I’m sure you have numerous bags lying around in your home. They might be plastic, paper or canvas bags. Before you read any further go and collect a couple of the bags, and put them where it’s easy to grab them. It might be your backpack, your car or your handbag for example. And once you’ve finished using them put them back. This is an easy way to create a habit. If you’re reading this on the go set yourself a reminder to do it when you get home.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of it you might realise that not many new plastic bags come into your home. Well done! Now might be a good time to see if you have any reusable bags hiding in the cupboards. If you don’t, consider buying one or two good quality ethically sourced reusable bags. Make use of the bags you already own before buying any new ones though. You will save money, time and resources.
Once you carry a bag with you, you’re ready to take it a step further. Wherever you go shopping and you’re buying vegetables see if anything is sold loose. At least in the UK most shops sell packaged vegetables. However, in all of the shops I’ve always seen at least few items being sold loose. Next time you’re food shopping try to buy few vegetables loose. This works best with larger items and/or when you buy one or two of them. For example an aubergine, a bunch of bananas, a lemon and a couple of apples. As you already carry a bag with you, you can simply put the vegetables in there after paying.
Once you keep an eye out for loose items you’ll start noticing them everywhere. This might be a good time to get some produce bags. As long as they’re light, so you wouldn’t pay for the weight of the bag, and machine washable you’re good to go. Worth mentioning that you should regularly wash your shopping and produce bags.
You might have some light bags lying around in your home, or you could make some – just google DIY produce bags. Or you could buy some. Once you have some produce bags it’s easier to buy any type of loose items including bread.
Carry a water bottle or a coffee mug
My final tip is to first start reusing your single use water bottle you already probably own. Then consider purchasing a good quality water bottle. If you live in Europe chances are the tap water quality is very good, so you can refill your bottle at cafes, work or at home. Also, water fountains can be found at airports. Take an empty bottle with you, unscrew the top at security, so it’s obvious it’s empty, and after the security fill the bottle at a water fountain or a cafe. All of the cafes have always kindly refilled my water bottle for free.
Just remember to take your water bottle when you leave the house. It will save you a lot of money in the long run and ensures you’re hydrated, which is good for your health.
If you enjoy a hot drink during your commute consider getting one of the numerous reusable coffee mugs out there. A lot of cafes offer a discount when you bring your own mug. Alternatively you might want to make your hot drink at home. I have a thermos bottle that I fill with my favourite coffee or tea when I go for walks in the park. My drink stays hot for hours, which is a great bonus.
In summary, I encourage you to carry a reusable bag, buy loose when possible and use a reusable water bottle or a coffee mug for your drinks. You’ll soon notice that you need to take your bin out less often and you’re saving money.
What are your top three tips for living more sustainably?