Is living sustainably part of your New Year resolution? If so, below are few things you might want to add to your list.
Use Reusable bags
Choose reusable organic cotton bags in all areas of your life this year, no need for paper or plastic. Up to one billion plastic bags are consumed worldwide every year. When plastic bags are no longer needed and disposed of, chemicals inside the bags leak into ecosystems and human bodies, causing severe damage. Plastic is also ingested by wildlife and marine life, who mistake its bright colors for food. Animals who ingest plastic may choke or have intestinal damage, leading to death. Plastic never fully breaks down and may take hundreds of years to become microscopic. Plastic bags simply turn into microplastics, which may never completely disappear, are now polluting our waterways and soil. We are ingesting microplastics daily when drinking water or eating seafood, and while the health effects of this are still unknowns, the outcome surely isn’t good.
Paper is often seen as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic, but paper bags are actually not that sustainable. Over 18.7 million acres of forest are being destroyed every year, majority of them for paper products like paper bags. Many countries have no regulations for logging, leading to extreme loss of habitat for many animals and eventually resulting in their extinction.
Choose organic cotton reusable bags this year for your groceries, shopping sprees and errands. Reusable bags are designed to last for years and can help you completely eliminate paper and plastic from your life. If you choose organic cotton muslin bags or shopping bags, they will also biodegrade within 6 months if no longer needed. Gallant International’s Fair Trade and organic shopping bags are perfect for all of your sustainable packaging needs at the grocery store, on the go and at work or school. Your choice in bag can make a huge difference in the health of yourself and the Earth.
Take quick showers
The average American’s shower lasts for about 8 minutes, using approximately 20 gallons of water. Reducing your shower by just a few minutes can save multiple gallons of water, around 2.5 per minute. Science has proven that only 3 minutes is needed to remove dirt and germs from your body, anything longer isn’t necessary. Additionally, if you aren’t exercising or getting excessively dirty every day, skip a day of your shower routine. Not only will this save water and soap, your skin will also retain more moisture.
Water is a vital resource to all life. Humans, animals, plants and ecosystems need water to survive. With the increasing global population, global warming and less plant-based diets, water is becoming scarcer. Use less water when showering and doing household chores and spread awareness about the importance of conserving our resources.
Turn off the lights
Majority of power used today is produced from fossil fuels, which majorly contributes to global warming. Turning off your lights when not needed will save on emissions and save you money when it comes time to pay the bills. Turning off the lights can also have great benefits on your body as well. When you flip the switch, you are more likely to spend time outside, taking a walk or spending time with your family. These things are much more beneficial than sitting on the couch at home. Reducing your power usage can also spark change in your community. Let your neighbors know how much you are saving on your utility bill by turning off the lights, and they may follow in your footsteps.
Use Clothing for its Entire Life
The average piece of clothing is only worn around 7 times, resulting in over 26 billion pounds of textiles being thrown out per year. Majority of this clothing is made from synthetic textiles that end up breaking down into microplastics and polluting our ecosystems. Fast fashion culture has convinced us that we need new clothing all the time, but it’s just not necessary. The items in your closet should last years when taken care of properly. Wear and use the clothing that you have or buy second hand. If you have a hole or a tear in a piece, stitch it up, patch it up, or repurpose as for something else. It takes about 713 gallons of water to make one traditional t-shirt and over 1800 gallons to create one pair of jeans. Think before you consume and use up what you have before purchasing new items.
Wash Your Clothing Only When It Needs It
You are probably washing your clothing much more than you need to. Unless you went for a run or were excessively sweaty in your clothing, you don’t need to put it in the washing machine. Clothing, especially pants, can be worn many times before becoming dirty enough to need washed. When you wash your clothing less, you save on water, soap and microplastic leakage. When it does come time to wash your clothes, make sure you wash a full load and use a biodegradable environmentally friendly detergent. Opting for the cold-water cycle can also save energy, as the water doesn’t need to be heated before use. During the warmer seasons, consider air drying your clothes. This will save you money on electricity and extend the life of your garments, so you can enjoy them again and again.
Recycle & Repurpose
When your clothing finally wears out, what do you do with it? Depending on how worn it is, there are hundreds of things you can do with your clothing. The most practical and easy option is to cut your clothing up into rags. Use these rags for cleaning, mopping up spills, or even for messy outdoor activities. These rags can easily be thrown in the wash and used again and again, extending the life of your old clothing. If you are crafty, you can make pillowcases, bags or even new clothing from the fabric of your old clothes. Before you toss those old clothes in the trash, think creative and repurpose.
Get it Delivered
You can save huge amounts of money and stick your budget by having your groceries or other essentials delivered. When you order online, you aren’t temped by snacks or items not on your list, making it great for those on a strict budget. Additionally, you’ll end up saving money on gas, as you aren’t driving to and from the store each week. By ordering delivery, the employee makes multiple stops in your area, eliminating emissions from multiple trips to the store and back. It’s a win for both your budget and the environment when you choose delivery.
Buy Organic When Possible
Organic means that no GMOs, harmful pesticides or insecticides are used when growing, making or manufacturing products, including food and clothing. When you buy organic food at the store, look for the organic symbol, meaning that it was never exposed to harmful chemicals or GMOs. Buying organic also helps support ecosystems and the health of farmers. On conventional farms where pesticides are used, chemicals can leak into the ground and flow into rivers, contaminating land, water and eventually the ocean. Synthetic hormones used in non-organic meat has also been linked to an increased risk of cancer. When it comes to clothing, organic is better for your skin and health because no chemicals can be absorbed into your skin. Choose organic in all areas of your life to maintain a happier, healthier you.
Grow Your Own Fruits & Vegetables
You don’t need to be a gardening professional to grow your own vegetables or fruits. There’s nothing like walking into your yard and picking fresh homegrown produce. The best part is, you control your garden. You know exactly what seeds you used and that there were no chemicals used from home “farm” to table. Growing your own food can also save you a ton of money in the long run, and you will no longer need to purchase expensive produce from the grocery store. Running your own garden can inspire you to be outside longer and get more exercise. The time you spend tending to your garden can contribute to better overall health. Lastly, growing your own food eliminates traditional transportation emissions that would be produced when driving or flying the food from farm to grocery store. No trucks or jets here, just backyard to dining table. If your climate allows it, get to planting and enjoy the delicious benefits in just a few short months.
Pay Your Bills Electronically
This is the easiest sustainable switch you can make in 2019. Choose paperless bills and help save time and energy. Paper bills use paper, stamps, time and fossil fuels in order to be manufactured, printed and shipped to your mailbox. This one small change can make a huge difference and inspire great sustainable change in your community. Chip in and make 2019 your most sustainable year yet!