During Flow Friday week, we are focusing on living more in harmony with nature and our planet. Today we want to give you a few tips to live a more sustainable life, by making small but significant changes in your household.
Refuse What You Do Not Need
It is ok to politely decline. This can be as simple as saying no to a paper slip which creates waste and instead request an electronic receipt to be sent to your email inbox at any shop or store that you frequent. Decline single use plastics whenever you can. Request paper bags instead of plastic or better yet, invest in reusable grocery bags which can be washed and stand the test of time.
Small individual acts contribute to large lasting impacts. Try to leave the house every morning with your favorite reusable bag and add a reusable water bottle, thermos, reusable straws and even a reusable cutlery set. This is an easy way to significantly reduce the amount of daily waste an individual generates. Fill up your water bottle throughout the day versus having to purchase single-use plastic bottles. Use your favorite thermos when filling up at your local coffee shop and have a glass or metal straw on hand to enjoy your favorite smoothie with.
Eating out? Decline wasteful take-away boxes and instead bring along a reusable container for any leftovers you may have.
Reconsider How Much Stuff You Really Need
Quality over quantity. Take some time to move through your home to organize, declutter and reduce where it is needed. Go through bedroom closets, kitchen cupboards and bathroom cabinets. Decide what you no longer want or need. What haven’t you used or worn in the last six months? Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Give away what is no longer serving you to friends, family, donate to charity, sell or swap.
Now that you’ve cleared and made space, make a wishlist of your needs. If you plan to go shopping, search for quality items. Ask yourself, “do I love this?” Know that quality items are often a higher initial investment but will be with you for a lifetime in comparison to cheaper low grade items which tend to degrade more rapidly and most likely will need to be replaced often. Not only will quality pieces stand the test of time but they may even be passed down from generation to generation.
Fun Tip: Organize a community “Circle Swap” at a friend’s home or a school or a church. Discover that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! No waste is generated and a gathering of like minded individuals is created which harnesses and strengthens a conscious community.
Repurpose Stuff or Use Reusable Objects
Glass is gold! Try to reuse or refurbish old glass jugs or jars that you have accumulated from used bathroom toiletries or grocery items. Once your favorite body cream runs out, try your hand at making a DIY version and re-use the original container. Add your favorite spices to small glass jars. Repurpose an old olive oil bottle as a flower vase. Use larger jars with lids for homemade fermenting or pickling projects.
In the Wardrobe; pick out some tried and true clothing items that may feel a little worn but you still love and know could benefit from a little TLC. Restyle or revamp an old favorite tee by giving it new life. Cut the t-shirt into a cute crop-top to pair with a stylish pair of high-waisted jeans, shorts or pants. Voile. Fresh and new again.
You can even send worn synthetic clothing for recycling. Take very worn items and turn them into reusable rags for cleaning around the home.
Recycle What You Cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse
Packaging. When you do purchase items, look for sustainable companies with products that have been packaged in reusable or recycled materials such as glass, cardboard or tin. This way, everything can be recycled or reused and no immediate waste is generated.
Find a Sustainable Grocery store near you. Try to purchase necessary household items in bulk from a zero or low waste grocer whenever possible.
Organize pantries with reusable containers and glass jars and fill up with bulk staples like flours, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds.
In the bathroom, use refillable glass pumps for natural soap, shampoo and conditioner and refill as needed or if you feel called, try to make your own DIY products.
Understand what can be recycled. Collect and refurbish what you can. Find a drop off facility for the rest and reduce items which cannot be refurbished or recycled all together and try to replace with sustainable alternatives.
Rot, compost the rest
Get creative about food waste. Get creative in the kitchen. Try to purchase smaller amounts of seasonal local produce more frequently to avoid spoilage. Use what you can on a daily basis.
Freeze browning bananas to use in smoothies for a creamy dairy-free substitute. Simply remove skins, cut into segments and freeze. Cook down seasonal fruits into compotes. Blend herbs and pour into ice-cube trays to freeze and be used for future cooking ventures.
Compost. This can vary greatly depending on your city and living circumstances. Your city may already have a recycling and composting system in place. If you have a yard or a community area with outdoor space, consider composting. Compost all vegetable and fruit peels, coffee grinds, egg shells and other biodegradable kitchen scraps.
Composting is a sustainable option which encourages individuals to plant gardens and grow their own sustenance. Over time, the compost generates enriched soil which supports the production of nutrient-dense, high quality local produce. The ability to grow one’s own food greatly reduces an individual’s carbon footprint and encourages a positive connection with the earth. Individuals are more likely to invest time in the kitchen to create their own meals when they grow their own food and share the bounty with others in the community.