What is sustainability?
The definition created by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development says, “Sustainability is the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Based on that definition, here are five ways to use less resources and produce less waste to decrease your environmental footprint.
1. Stop unwanted mail
Let’s face it: junk mail and unwanted mail are a daily nuisance, but they are also bad for the environment. There are a few ways you can minimize your intake of mail. You can remove your name from mailing lists, opt out of phone book and catalog delivery, even tell charitable organizations that you donate to not to send additional mail. Here are six more ways to stop junk mail. You will enjoy having less clutter and knowing that you saved a few trees.
2. Start using natural cleaners
Green cleaning products are better for your health and the quality of your indoor air, because they do not contain toxic chemicals. They are also better for the environment, because they are oftentimes produced using more sustainable methods. Of course, beyond that, their ingredients are also safer, more natural, non-toxic, and less burdensome on the ecosystem. With a little research, you can choose to make your own cleaning products or buy them from a trustworthy green manufacturer.
3. Buy products with less packaging
3 in 4 consumers say that they would prefer packaging that is more sustainable, even if it costs more. While you wait for brands to respond, you can choose products with less packaging. Say no to the convenience of individually packaged foods and make purchases in bulk. Also, be sure to recycle any packaging materials you can; glass, aluminum, paper and most plastic can be recycled. Additionally, look for packaging that is biodegradable or made from recycled material. Finally, to really consume less packaging, just buy less “stuff.”
4. Breakup with plastic
Plastic does not biodegrade. Think about that for a second. It is made to last, yet many of the plastics we use every day are only intended for single use. A fantastic step towards creating a more sustainable life should include eliminating these types of single-use plastics: straws, grocery bags, food storage bags and wraps, water bottles, disposable cutlery and more. Check out these nine tips for living with less plastic.
5. Look for sustainable clothing
According to the fast fashion documentary The True Cost, “the average American discards 80 pounds of textile waste each year. That adds up to 11 million tons of textile waste from the U.S. alone.” Just a few decades ago, Americans made clothing purchases that they would wear the following year or even in ten years. Fast fashion has changed how we consume clothing – making 5 weeks the average amount of time an item lasts in our wardrobes today. Take a look:
To change this, choose items that will last. Look for materials such as organic cotton or even recycled material like RPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate), which is made from water bottles and is very soft!
There are many ways to be greener and more sustainable. What tips do you have for others looking to make a few positive changes?
For more information on using natural products that are earth-friendly and safe enough for everyday use, check out Gone to Green Market.