3 simple ways to live a sustainable life in 2018

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Welcome, 2018! There’s a new year new you attitude in the air and the world seems rife with possibilities for self-improvement, change and good intentions. With new year’s however also comes disappointment, fad diets, impossible resolutions no one can achieve and the guilt of having another year go by with the feeling that you really aren’t making a difference.

We at Gallant want to ring in the new year by encouraging you and reminding you that you CAN make a difference and that it’s the little things that really count, not the over-the-top promises or grandiose ideas that change the world. Aa Confucius himself quoted over 2500 years ago:

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

To ring in 2018, here are 3 small stones you can start to carry that won’t take much effort at all and will really make a difference for people in your local community and across the world.

1.Eat locally

A powerful way to live more sustainably is to eat locally. The convenience of supermarkets has changed how people think about food, but products shipped from across the world consume huge amounts of fossil fuel energy to get from those global locations to your corner supermarket. Get outside, meet your local farmers and get some free samples! Farmer’s markets are great ways to support your local economies, eat fresh produce that actually tastes like food and to be less wasteful on a daily basis.

2. Recycle

Recycle as much as possible! I know the colored bins can be confusing at times (which one is plastic? Composting? What’s that?) but here is a resource to help you learn more about how to properly dispose of your waste. Even though Americans pride ourselves on being the best at jsut about everything, it turns out that Europe is kicking our butts when it comes to recycling waste. 69 percent of the things Americans toss out end up in landfills. This is compared with 1 percent in countries like Belgium and Sweden! Both Germany and the Netherlands have completely eliminated their landfill usage, with 62 percent of trash being recycled or composted. The other 38 percent is turned into energy from waste.

If your neighborhood or apartment complex doesn’t offer recycling pickup, either find a drop-off location or request the curbside service. Buying products labeled post-consumer lets companies know that recycling is the way to go! Goodwill Industries International also accepts electronics for responsible recycling.

3. Purchase Fair Trade Products

When you purchase items that are imported from all over the world — particularly coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, chocolate, and fruit — look for the fair-trade certification. This designation tells you that these items were grown using sustainable methods of agriculture and that local people are receiving fair prices for the goods they produce.

Items that don’t have the fair-trade certification may have been produced unsustainably and may be the product of exploitative labor practices that don’t benefit the local people. We at Gallant pride ourselves on using the best Fair Trade labor and environmentally sustainable practices to produce every bag, tote, and product in our line, and a purchase with our company is another small stone that will help create a more sustainable 2018.