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20 Sustainability Ideas for your everyday life

water drop on leaf

20 Sustainability Ideas for your everyday life

Trying to live a sustainable life or a “zero-waste” life can sometimes feel daunting, overwhelming, and expensive but it doesn’t have to be! Here are 20 easy and not-to-expensive tips to help you achieve a greener life. And remember this is a journey, it will take time to get into habits and obtain the items needed to lead a greener life, but in the end you will feel better about leaving a softer footprint on our one and only earth.

1. Use reusable bags. You can find them just about everywhere these days! So, pick a few up and start an easy journey to help eliminate plastic waste in your life. The hard part is remembering to take them to the store with you! Try hanging them on your door, putting some in your car (if you drive), or putting them in a bag you carry everyday. It may take awhile to get into the habit, but once you do you will feel the rewards of creating less waste!

2. Purchase reusable straws. These are something else you can find just about everywhere and the even make compact ones that can be attached to a key chain so you will more than likely never leave home without it. #savetheturtles

3. Use reusable containers when packing a meal. Instead of using single use containers when packing a meal use reusable containers. The great thing about this is you can use those left-over carryout containers, butter containers, sour cream containers, etc. (please be aware that some of these containers may not be microwave safe) or you can go out and buy containers glass or plastic containers.

4. Ask for no plasticware, straws, or condiments. If you are getting carryout or hitting up the drive thru you can still be eco-friendly. If you’re heading home or to somewhere where you will have access to reusable silverware, dishes, and the condiments you like; ask for no plasticware, straws, or condiments in the bag!

5. Invest in a reusable water bottle. This is a big one! Buying a good quality water bottle and using that everyday rather than buying bottles of water can make a big impact in a small amount of time. You’ll save tons of money in the long run and create less waste!

6. Get yourself a reusable coffee cup. Disposable coffee cups can not be recycled, the paper used to make them are made to not break down when wet and the paper recycling process needs the paper to break down when wet. The coffee cup sleeves are recyclable. You could keep so many cups out of the landfill (and keep your coffee hotter longer) if you switch to insulated reusable cup.

7. Ditch those paper towels! Instead of constantly buying (and throwing away) paper towels, switch to cloth towels in your kitchen. They last longer and can just be thrown into the laundry with your other wash.

8. Compost in your kitchen. If you have a garden, a plot, plants of any kind, they love compost! You can easily compost in your own kitchen, balcony, or back yard. This provides your plants with great nutrition and keeps more food waste out of the landfill. You kind all kinds of advice, containers, and even places that will pick up your compost for you with one quick internet search.

9. Recycle! Recycle! Recycle! If you live in the city limits of Cincinnati recycling is included in trash pick up every two weeks. And it is so easy to recycle, the hard part is knowing what materials can be recycled and what can not, Check out this link: https://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/recycling/ to read about proper recycling practices in Cincinnati

10. Buy used. Clothing, dishes, toys, anything you can think of! Shopping second hand is cost efficient and eco-friendly. You will definitely save money, you will save waste from going to landfills, and you never know what great items you might find. Half the fun of secondhand shopping is finding that unique item that you might not find anywhere else!

11. Save water! If you don’t have a low flow toilet, fill a ½ gallon milk jug with water and place in the toilet tank. While washing your hands, turn off the water when you are soaping up and then turn it on again when you are ready to rinse. Don’t run the dishwasher until it is full. Water your plants with rainwater collected in rain barrels or use the left-over water from when you drain your noodles (this water is full of nutrients that your plant will love). Plus, you will save some money on your water bill!

12. Repurpose/ Upcycle. Turn those old sheets that you still love into curtains, use pallets from a delivery to build something new, turn a 2-liter bottle into a bird feeder. There are so many items that we toss out every day that can be repurposed or upcycled into really unique items, once again the internet is a great source for ideas and inspiration.

13. Reuse. If something can be used again, do it! Even if you have to clean it up or fix it. We throw so many items away that could be repaired easily and save some money in the long run!

14. Grow your own food. This can be done in your yard, balcony, porch, or a community garden. Growing your own food not only gives you fresh food on a regular basis it also instills a sense of pride and accomplishment. Don’t worry, your first harvest or two might not be that abundant but you will learn and eventually reap the rewards. Also, remember to keep it earth and pollinator friendly and only use organic pest control and fertilizer methods.

15. Unplug/Turn off electronics. When you are done watching the tv or surfing the web turn off the device or even better, unplug it! Electronics still consume energy even when turned off if they are still plugged in and again, this will help save you a few bucks each month.

16. Drive less. Walk, ride a bike, carpool, or take a bus (remember to mask up when you ride the Metro!). Skipping the car for a couple times a week is better for the environment and easier on the pocketbook. Cincinnati is becoming a more bike and pedestrian friendly city so now is a great time to start the habit!

17. Buy only what you will eat. When you go grocery store, pick up some carry out, go out to eat remember to only buy or order what you think you will actually consume. American’s produce a ton of food waste every year. It is not only a waste of money, but it creates more waste for the landfills. Be conscientious and try to not over buy.

18. Take a day off from eating meat. Just one day a week. That’s all we are asking! You might soon realize that you don’t need meat with every meal to feel full and satisfied.

19. Make your bathroom more sustainable. If you’re willing to take the leap switch to bar soap (maybe shampoo and conditioner too?), buy bamboo handled toothbrushes, and buy non-disposable razors. These changes and other in the bathroom will help reduce your plastic waste.

20. Reduce. Just in general make an effort to reduce your waste. Look for products with less packaging, shop for reusable products (such as reusable zipper bags for food storage), and spend your money wisely on products that may last longer but cost a little more (such as don’t buy into “fast fashion” buy clothing that will easily incorporate into your wardrobe and will last longer than the latest fashion fad).

Picture by Aaron Burden, Unsplash