Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” The truth is that now, more than ever, sustainability is a necessary aspect of both our present and our future.
Every person must do their part to help repair the damage that we as a society have done to our incredible planet. This is where small changes come into play and make far bigger impacts on our environment than you may think. Below are seven sustainability practices which you, as an eco-conscious individual, can do to be a part of the cure rather than the cause. The best part? They can all start today and move forward from there to grow and expand with you and your daily lifestyle.
1. Opt for a Minimalist Lifestyle and Office Space
One of the first things you can do is learn how to clear desk clutter and organize your workspace and home. This means getting rid of things that are wasting space, energy, and time in your life to begin a more minimalist lifestyle that encourages sustainability instead of infringing upon it.
Start by removing unnecessary documents, electronics, and furniture. Next, focus on the bare essentials and work around them to create a home and office that is dedicated to green living rather than clutter and waste.
2. Find Ways to Be Energy-Efficient
Whether it’s as simple as switching to energy-efficient bulbs or as in-depth as cutting light use and air conditioning while removing unnecessary electronics and appliances, finding ways to be energy-efficient in your life can make a significant impact on the environment. Furthermore, being energy-efficient is a simple way to be a part of the movement without breaking the bank or working extremely hard to do so.
According to Energy.gov, “[Energy-efficient bulbs] typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescents, saving you money, [and] can last 3-25 times longer.”
Energy efficiency can not only help the environment significantly but actually save you money in the process.
3. Try Transportation Alternatives for Getting to Work
Whether it’s biking, walking, carpooling, or even just riding the bus to work, being able to reduce the amount of times you drive your car to work can make a serious impact on the environment and reduce your carbon footprint significantly.
According to Car Talk, “Burning one gallon of gas creates 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, and the average car emits about six tons of carbon dioxide every year.” With this said, by simply riding your bike or walking to work instead, you can reduce your carbon footprint by six tons annually.
4. Use Plants to Improve Air Quality
A lot of people think that plants are nothing more than ‘pretty’ decorations for your home and office, but they can actually help the environment — and your air quality — significantly.
According to Treehugger, “The benefits [house plants] confer should make us consider them a necessity rather than an object of décor, because honestly, good health should never be out of style.” In fact, having houseplants not only improves air quality, and helps the environment because of it, but also helps deter illnesses, boost healing, and help individuals work better.
With this said, being able to incorporate plants into your home and office space will help the environment, as well as your health and focus.
5. Choose Sustainable Office Supplies
With spring cleaning finally here, purchasing new office supplies is ideal — especially ones that are sustainable as well. The best way to do this is to start with the essential home office supplies and work your way down from there.
For instance, if you know that you use pencils, staples, tape, and paper every single day when you are in the office, these will be the things you will want to focus your efforts on first. Finding sustainable versions of these things may seem difficult but with so many companies jumping on the sustainable bandwagon, this process is actually easier than ever before.
Once you have your sustainable options in place, the key is to reduce your waste and use every bit of these items. A good way to do this is to find creative ways to transform the leftover supplies into DIY decorations for your office. In doing this, you can use every bit of your office supplies and know that you have made a positive impact on the environment because of it.
6. Purchase Reusable Containers and Bags
According to a study performed by Clean Water Action, “Reuse is far superior to recycling. A detailed study showed that using reusable water containers (glasses, bottles) has far lower global warming potential impacts than recycling single-use
For many people, the idea of using reusable containers may seem daunting, but the truth is that with the right reusable items, you can not only help the environment but also do so in a simple and stress-free manner.
A good example is choosing to bring your own bags to the grocery store. If you were to do this every time you shopped, you could save a significant amount of plastic bags each year and create your very own sustainable initiative with clear results.
7. Only Buy Products You Are Sure to Use
Lastly, one of the best things you can start doing to help the sustainability initiative today is solely buy products you are sure you will use. What many people don’t know is that the food waste problem in our society is outlandish, to say the least.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year— approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.” Although these staggering numbers only continue to increase each year, one way to help reduce this is to only buy food and food-related items that you are sure you will finish.
A good introduction to wasteless food consumption is to go to a restaurant. Order only half of whatever you want. Although this may seem outlandish, the truth is that most people only eat half of what they order, leaving the other half to either be dumped or left to rot in their fridge before being thrown away.
By taking this approach to your food consumption, you can create a sustainable diet that will help the environment—and save you money as well.
In the end, sustainability is all about attainability. By changing even the smallest of aspects of your current lifestyle, you can help the environment, be a part of the future of our society, and not even break a sweat doing it. After all, every big leap starts with a few small steps. So, why wait?