Six Tips for Sustainable Living
January is the time to make change, and if you’re looking to make a difference in your life and the lives of others in 2019, consider reducing your environmental impact this year. It’s a well-known fact humans are the number one reason for climate change, so it’s in our hands to preserve this planet for future generations.
Here are some easy tips to reducing your environmental impact—however slight, it makes a huge difference to the planet.
1. Say no to single-use items!
Not just plastics, but paper as well. Yes, sometimes you forget your travel mug and just have to have your latte, but consider buying it in a for-here mug and sitting a while, or get just a paper cup and avoid the plastic lid.
Live as though you had to keep and dispose of your waste personally, not abandon it in a garbage can on campus or have it be picked up from the curb every two weeks. When you make the choice to be conscious about your waste, you’ll find yourself automatically avoiding single-use items, and this will soon become second-nature.
2. Take public transportation more often.
If you have a vehicle, try to cut down on how much you drive. Your OneCard allows you unlimited public transportation across Greater Victoria, so use it! Even just making an effort to take the bus instead of driving once per week will have an impact and reduce your carbon footprint.
3. Cut down on plastic packaging.
Sometimes, it’s really difficult to avoid plastic packaging, especially at the grocery store. Some quick ways of avoiding plastic packaging on food items are:
- Bring your own reusable produce bags or jars for fruits, vegetables, and bulk items (the cashier can take off the weight of the container or bag at the till).
- Skip the plastic bag and bring your own bags (the UVic Bookstore bags are perfect for this!).
- If you use a Keurig, Nespresso, or other type of coffee pod machine, you can purchase reusable pods and pack them with your own coffee instead (available on Amazon.ca, Staples, or Keurig.ca).
- Skip the plastic wrap and purchase reusable beeswax food wraps (available at the UVic Bookstore, on Amazon.ca, or from local companies such as this one), which you can reuse and then compost when they’ve lost their tackiness.
- If you’re someone who purchases beer, skip the six-pack with plastic and get into the practice of filling a growler at any of the multitude of local breweries.
4. Eat less meat.
The meat industry produces a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing your meat consumption, even by just going vegetarian one day of the week, drastically reduces your environmental impact. If you’re on the fence about going vegetarian, watch this short video to learn more about how the meat industry impacts the environment and the animals themselves.
5. Buy secondhand.
You can find pretty much anything at a thrift store. Buying clothing items secondhand at stores like Value Village or through Facebook marketplace isn’t only great for the environment, but thrifting is in!
Buying secondhand reduces waste and pollution, and reduces your environmental impact in regards to fast fashion.
I have found most of my favourite clothing items for super cheap at the thrift store, and it’s my personal New Years resolution to not buy clothes brand-new from the store. It’s cheap, it’s trendy, and it’s good for the environment!
6. Pay attention to where your money is going.
Large corporations are huge contributors to global levels of greenhouse gases. Think about buying from local shops and purchasing items that are sustainably sourced and Fairtrade. Pay attention to what companies you are supporting through your purchases to ensure your money is going to organizations that promote sustainability and hold themselves accountable for their environmental impacts.
When it comes to reducing your environmental impact, any effort makes a difference, no matter how small. These six tips are only a tiny portion of the ways you can be more green, and if you have any more, don’t hesitate to share!