Sustainability. When most people hear that word they think about hippies, peace signs, complicated time consuming “solutions” or they are just confused/uninterested about the whole idea in general. My goal is to change that. Being sustainable is all about paying attention. It’s the easy, simple everyday changes that make a huge difference. So here are my top 5 easy ways to become a sustainable badass. (because being sustainable is badass)
1. USE A REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG
We’ve all heard of this step and have seen the reusable bags at the checkout counter but most of us just ignore it thinking one or two bags is no big deal. True one or two bags isn’t a big deal but one or two bags each trip to every store you go to for a year is. Now multiply that by how many people go to those same stores and get one or two bags. It adds up…fast. An estimated 380 billion plastic bags are thrown away by Americans each year. You might be thinking “the store I shop at uses paper bags that has to be better” right? Wrong, paper bags are cool and all but they don’t biodegrade in landfills so once you throw them away they are basically the same as plastic. Spend the 2$ on the reusable bags at your local store or look online for more fashionable ones. Remembering the bag is the hardest part to this step.
2. Reusable Coffee/Water Bottle
Plastic bottles and cups are the same as bags. I would go get a coffee in the morning in a plastic cup, then buy a bottled water or two throughout the day, maybe grab a bottle juice for lunch and then with dinner I’d order my meal with another bottled drink. That’s 5 plastic bottles each day thrown away just by me. After realizing that was F$@#*ng insane I now carry a stainless steel water bottle as much as possible. I prefer to use the insulated stainless steel ones because they are more versatile, I can put my coffee in it in the morning and it will keep it hot for hours and then rinse it out and use it for water throughout the day. You could also use a glass bottle if you’re not a hot drink person. The best part is you can take your bottle of choice into wherever you are ordering a traditional drink that comes in plastic and ask them to use your cup . 9/10 times they will say yes and you might even spark their interest into using a reusable option. PLUS, some places even give you a discount for bringing your own cup.$$$$
3. Reusable Straws
Over 500 million plastic straws are used everyday in the United States. Everywhere you go and order a drink your server always either brings a straw with the drink or even worse already in your drink (which always makes me feel weird). After you use that straw one time, in the trash it goes. A few months ago I saw a video of a turtle with a straw stuck in its’ nose and I think it scarred me for life. 80% of the pollution in our oceans is plastic and considering how many straws we waste daily a good percentage of that is from straws. Almost everything you use has a reusable option and straws are no different. Reusable straws are not only cheap, but they will make you look cooler than everyone else, honestly. So #refusethestraw.
4. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is probably the “hardest” thing on this list but only because depending on where you live there may not be that many options. This link has a pretty good list of stores offering bulk food items by region and state. On average 1-10 percent of product cost is packaging. So by buying in bulk you’re not only saving the environment, you’re also saving money. Hollaaaaa
5. Be a Conscious Consumers
The last step is to just be a conscious consumer. Take a look at your garbage and pay attention to all the things you are buying and throwing out. Once you start paying attention you will automatically start making small changes that will result in a big change. Just by reading this you are already making a difference. Remember no one is perfect and all your small efforts add up.
*Below I have linked a few of my favorite videos of people who live completely zero waste lifestyles. They explain how they can live normal lives while avoiding plastic and other single use daily products at all costs.