11 Easy Ways To Live A Sustainable Life
I always pride myself on being eco-friendly. I bring recycle bags with me when I do my grocery shopping. I recycle plastic bags and reuse them as rubbish bags. I put paper products aside for the recycle bin. But I had to look up sustainability on Google because I didn’t fully understand what it means.
What does sustainable living actually mean?
According to Wikipedia, sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the earth’s natural resources and personal resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet.
11 Ways to Practice Sustainable Living
Want to start practising sustainable living? It is easier than you think. You don’t have to go on a recycling crusade to create change. Making a few small changes to go green could really make a difference in your life and for the planet collectively. Here are 11 quick and easy suggestions to live a sustainable life.
1. Get a more natural sleep schedule
I’m starting with sleep because really, what can be easier than going to sleep! Not only is sleeping earlier at night better for your health, it will lessen the amount of power that you use while you are up. Think about it. The later you stay up at night, the more electricity is needed to power your house. Sunlight is free and doesn’t cost anything. Using sunlight during the day helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels on producing electricity and your bulbs and tube lights are going to last longer.
2. Change the lights in your house
By changing the lighting in your home from traditional light bulbs to LED lighting reduce your demand for electricity, which leads to cheaper electricity bills and also helps preserve energy resources significantly.
Our floor lamp uses LEDARE LED bulb E27 400 lumen. It consumes up to 85% less energy than conventional bulbs and lasts up to 20 years. This means you are also reducing the amount of waste going into landfills significantly.
3. Unplug device when not in use
Most of the electronic devices keep on drawing electricity even when they’re off. To reduce energy usage, simply pull the plug when not in use. It will help you to save energy and reduce your monthly electricity bill.
4. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to anything to do with green living is to reduce, reuse and recycle. These means reduce buying new products. If there is less waste, then there is less to recycle or reuse.
And if that isn’t possible, reuse items or repurpose them for a different use than what they are intended for, is essential in waste hierarchy. I often reuse ribbons and wrapping paper for gifts and for the kids’ art projects.
It’s a matter of habit and if we make things easy for ourselves, we tend to practise it more. I found that using these waste sorting bins at home, recycling becomes a no-brainer and even the kids get the hang of it. They are more than eager to help me put papers, boxes and bottles away in the right bin.
5. Buy sustainably produced items
Where possible, purchase everyday products, clothing and furniture from companies that are committed to making sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical products. An eco-friendly attitude is to embrace a “less is better” mindset. Think items that are high quality and everlasting, not super cheap and disposable.
When buying furniture, think renewable, recyclable materials like bamboo, wood and steel. Browse FurnitureSingapore.net for a comprehensive list of furniture stores in Singapore.
Try shopping at your local thrift shop. I believe that a combination of ethically-sourced products and second-hand items is the best way to go when it comes to shopping sustainably.
6. Change your washing habits
Less than three percent of the water on Earth is fresh water. We can all contribute to conserving this precious, shared resource by using slow flow taps or IKEA has taps that come with a pressure compensating aerator, a little device inside the faucet that adds a little bit of air to the water.
You could also practice taking short and times showers, washing dishes in a sink of water and then rinsing them and cutting down on the amount of laundry that you do. We use this watering can and salad spinner to soak and wash vegetables, and reuse the water to water my plants.
7. Start using natural cleaners
Natural cleaners are healthier for you and the environment. Ever since I become a mother, I’ve switched to eco-friendly home-made cleaners because I don’t want my kids to be inhaling toxic fumes and be exposed to harmful chemicals. Vinegar and water can clean most surfaces. Anything that requires some scrubbing, I add bicarb soda into the mix. By using natural cleaners you are reducing plastic packaging being made and chemicals being drained into the water system.
8. Walk, bike or car pool to work
I’ve been using car-sharing (GrabShare) services as it assists sustainability and provides an increased social outlet that can improve the quality of life. I’m considering using bike-sharing (Mobike) next as a form of exercise and saving the environment.
9. Reduce food wastage
I have a whole post on how to reduce food waste at home, along with a table on how to store food properly to make them last longer. I use these PRUTA food containers in my pantry, so I could see exactly what I have and what I need to buy during my next grocery run.
Here’s the single most important thing when it comes to minimising food wastage – thinking twice before you purchase. If you don’t need an item, there’s no reason to get one. Take only what you need, not because it’s on sale.
10. Digitise your mail
Save natural resources and opt for your monthly bank statements and bills to be sent to you via email, instead of snail mail.
You could also opt-out of receiving junk mail by filling in this form or email Singapore Post with your mailing details (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask to be removed from their advertising list. It helps you to reduce clutter, protect privacy and save the environment.
11. Grow indoor plants
Save money and stop buying easily perishable herbs from the supermarket. Grow your own! I started with basil and am now growing coriander. I love that when a recipe calls for these herbs, I can just pluck a few tender leaves off of the plant I have growing in my very own herb garden.
I’ve also recently learnt that some of the indoor plants are like my Snake plant and Money plant from IKEA are excellent natural air cleaner. Indoor air pollution can be caused by pollen, bacteria, and moulds, toxic compounds from chemicals cleaners that we use around the house and outdoor air contaminants like haze and car exhaust finding its way into our homes. Air purifying plants absorb some of the particles at the same time when they take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis. But that’s not all – microorganisms associated with the plants are present in the potting soil, and these microbes are also responsible for much of the air cleaning.
This is officially my favourite corner of the house.