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Swish Cloth - Pack of Three
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A whopping 77% of people are ditching Earth-damaging habits for a sustainable way of life that promotes a healthy, livable planet. If you’re on a tree-free toilet paper website, you must be one of those! And you probably want to be sustainable in other areas of your life— not just in the bathroom or kitchen.
The internet is full of articles promising 5,003 sustainability tips you can start doing today.
But those tips can be overwhelming. And eco-friendly living isn’t just about carrying a reusable water bottle. It’s a way of life. A style of living that ensures the preservation of resources for future generations. And it’s specific to you and your family.
You can find sustainable living tips anywhere, so today we’re going beyond reusable shopping bags. By using a framework, you’re making deep, lasting changes— imagine ditching plastic in the kitchen once and for all. Or drastically lowering your monthly energy bill. A framework gives you the tools to tackle sustainability in the home— no matter where you’re starting. Let’s dig deep into how to live sustainably.
When people set out to make change in their lives, they’re usually derailed by one thing: trying to do everything at once. Being overwhelmed by goals or wanting to do things perfectly can lead to shutdown and inaction. This often happens when we focus too much on the end goal, and not on the steps we need to take to get to that goal. If your goal is to learn how to be more sustainable but you haven’t thought about the small daily steps you need to take, you might get overwhelmed.
Listen to what James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, has to say about goal-setting:
As Clear notes, you’re not just changing habits— you’re becoming a different person. So you may have a goal to start composting, but no idea of the steps needed to actually be a composter. Our framework will help give you the tools to do just that.
Here are some of the ways you can make progress with building your sustainable goals:
Before you even think about making changes, you have to know where you are right now. A home audit gives you insight into how sustainable your lifestyle is, and where it could be improved.
Take time to do this— at least a month. You want to know on average what you’re throwing away, what you’re recycling, how energy-efficient your home is, etc. A month-long audit will give you a great baseline for you to create your goals.
The two main areas where you can make the most impact for the planet are household waste and energy use. Here’s how to audit them both.
The average American household throws 4.4 pounds of trash away every day. That’s over a ton per household per year.
A trash audit helps you understand exactly where the problem is in your own home. Takeout containers? Plastic shampoo bottles? Food waste?
Here’s how you do it:
Keep chipping away at your goals. You can do trash audits about 4 times a year to measure your progress over a longer amount of time.
Did you know the average household emits 70% more carbon dioxide than a typical passenger car? Reducing energy waste is key to sustainability in the home and more mindful consumption of natural resources.
You have two options when doing an energy audit:
Once you’ve identified areas to improve, use the framework from the trash audit above to set goals for reducing energy consumption in your home.
Since we’re all about providing you with a guide to make deep, lasting eco-friendly changes, you now have the tools to audit other areas of your household. Use the same framework to analyze your transportation habits, your water consumption habits— any area where you want to see change.
And once you’ve completed your audits is when the fun begins. Start making changes, one room or area at a time. Give yourself plenty of time— at least a month— to build those lasting habits. Check in with your goals along the way to make sure you’re staying on track.
Most of your changes will fall into three categories: make, buy, or DIY.
After you conduct a home sustainability audit, it’s time to decide how you want to make changes. Are you crafty? Handy? Or do you prefer to outsource? The choice is up to you. Here are some ideas to get you started.
This is where you can put those creative skills to use! Say you use disposable cotton rounds for your skincare routine. If you have basic sewing skills there are tons of tutorials on making reusable rounds from organic cotton or bamboo.
Tired of throwing away plastic hand soap bottles? Try making your own soap.
Concerned about the volatile organic compounds in traditional cleaning products? Make your own eco-friendly cleaning products using planet- and people-friendly ingredients.
Beware— once you get started with making your own household products, you might just get hooked! Imagine creating sustainable products for yourself and your family that doesn’t harm you or the environment!
As much fun as making soap and other household products is, what if you’re not crafty? Or just don’t have the time? The good news is you can buy a more sustainable version of just about anything!
Let’s take the same disposable cotton rounds example. If you’re not crafty or don’t have the time, you can buy reusable bamboo pads for makeup and skincare application.
As part of your framework for sustainable living, anytime you make a purchase, practice conscious consumerism. Ask yourself the following questions:
Asking these questions leads to more thoughtful and satisfying purchases. Bonus points for holding companies accountable! If there’s a product you like, but the company doesn’t address sustainability, or the packaging is single-use plastic, write to them! Demand companies take accountability for what they’re producing.
Doing small energy upgrades is a great way to be more sustainable in your home. You should have a good idea of where your home needs improvement, based on your energy audit. Taking our framework into account, start small with measurable goals. Maybe you want to reduce water use. You can start by installing a low-flow shower head and converting your toilet into a low-flow toilet.
Unless you’re super handy, you may need to call in the pros for bigger projects, like insulation and HVAC upgrades. Decide what works for your lifestyle, budget, and home.
To sum up:
We hope you’ve found our guide on how to live sustainably helpful. Be sure to share it with your friends and family to increase your positive impact on the planet!