Sustainability starts at home and at any scale. From reducing your plastic usage to adopting a more environmentally-friendly diet or changing your transportation habits, there are many things that you can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Outside of climate change, one of the biggest issues facing the environment is plastic pollution. From forming massive patches of pollution in ocean gyres to choking wildlife and finding its way back into our diet, plastic has become a pervasive issue. The European Union has passed a bill aimed at banning single-use plastics, while several nations have banned plastic bags – and you too can be part of the fight against plastic pollution.
Cutting out plastic is one of the easier ways to start participating in sustainable practices. Saying no to single-use plastics and carrying a reusable bag will ensure you reduce your personal plastic consumption. Buying loose fruits or vegetables and bringing your own containers to the supermarket will drastically decrease the amount of plastic that you consume. When looking to buy a product, whether it is plastic-based or not, think of the 6Rs:
- Rethink: is it really necessary?
- Refuse: if you don’t need it, don’t take it
- Reduce: can the use of materials be reduced?
- Reuse: can the product be used again for another purpose?
- Recycle: can it be recycled once it has been used?
- Repair: can the product be repaired instead of thrown away?
There are many ways to help promote sustainable energy practices, one of the most important things to consider is your individual or household energy usage. Home automation has become a popular implement to new houses and can help track your habits, and show where you can improve, potentially saving you money on your electricity bills while also reducing your electricity consumption. Installing solar panels on your home and learning about various utility companies within your area can also help you make sustainable choices. In some areas you may even opt to only source your power and electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar.
Transportation is also a major source of carbon emissions, and there are several simple steps that one can take to reduce their transport carbon footprint. Walking or taking a bike for small trips instead of the car, using public transport or carpooling when possible and using trains instead of flights as well offsetting trips are all options that will lead to a noticeable drop in your carbon footprint. Investing in an electric vehicle will also help reduce your carbon emissions without compromising your mobility.
Supporting environmentally-friendly businesses and companies promoting sustainable development are easy steps you can take outside your household to help advance sustainable energy practices and sustainable living. Education and proactive efforts are the best ways that society can help with sustainable energy practices, be part of the solution!