Our everyday habits—like our commute to work, trip to the store, or shower at night—might not seem like they impact anyone. But our choices make a bigger difference than we think when it comes to the environment.
We live in a world where pollution, climate change, and environmental degradation are a daily reality. For the situation to change, we must come together to minimize our damage, build more sustainable practices, and move toward a future that centers the health of our environment.
As conscious consumers, the tiny bit of effort we make to build more sustainable habits can add up to a huge collective change. To get started, keep reading to learn about the sustainable habits you can start building now.
What are sustainable habits?
Sustainable habits are choices that support the environment, our communities, and the world around us. Many of these habits come down to making simple, mindful decisions about what we eat, where we shop, and how we spend our money every day.
When it comes to making more environmentally-friendly choices, building habits that protect the climate, reduce carbon emissions, and promote a fairer, more just world is easy when you know where to begin.
But before we start building more sustainable habits, we must look at ourselves in the mirror to understand which of our lifestyle choices hurt the planet. That way, we can start making small but smart shifts toward a more sustainable future.
What are unsustainable habits?
From brushing our teeth in the morning to reading before bed, we all have our daily habits. Research indicates that habits make up 40 percent of our behaviors and significantly impact our world.
Unfortunately, many everyday habits are also bad for the planet, including:
- Buying clothes from fast fashion brands
- Driving too frequently
- Using single-use plastic
- Drinking bottled water
- Online shopping
- Throwing recyclables in the trash
- Buying more food than you need
- Gardening with pesticides and weed killers
Changing these habits can be challenging, mainly because they are ingrained in society. However, kicking even just one of these habits can reduce your carbon footprint, and it only takes a few minor changes to succeed.
To get started, let’s go over the sustainable habits you can build today.
Sustainable habits at home
Your home is your sanctuary. It’s where you spend time with your family, cook nourishing meals, or curl up to read a good book. With how much time we spend at home, it makes sense to find opportunities to make the space greener and less taxing on the environment. Here are a few sustainable habits to build at home:
1. Swap everyday products for eco-friendly options
Many household items we use daily—like cleaning products and plastic containers—are harsh on the environment. Luckily, many eco-friendly products available today are easier on both your body and the climate.
If you want to make eco-friendly swaps, bathroom products are a fantastic place to start. Traditional toothbrushes, shampoo bottles, and razors are usually manufactured with plastic, so switching to reusable options can help reduce your environmental footprint.
2. Use less water
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water daily at home, 70 percent of which occurs inside. Chances are, there are several opportunities for you to use less water in your day-to-day routines.
If you haven’t gotten around to fixing a leaky faucet or drippy showerhead, now’s the time to do it. The EPA estimates that a faucet dripping at one drip per second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water annually, which amounts to around 180 showers! This shows that by making small changes, we can have a huge impact on conserving water.
Prioritize sustainable shopping choices
3. Ditch plastic bags for good
We’re all familiar with that one junk drawer, cabinet, or spot in the closet that’s overflowing with plastic bags. Unfortunately, those bags are challenging to recycle, can take 300 years to degrade, and eventually become toxic particles that pollute the environment.
The next time you head to the grocery store or go shopping, bring your own reusable bag instead. They’re compact, lightweight, and can fit easily into a purse, so it’s easy to grab one before you head out and cut down on your plastic usage.
4. Bring your own container to the grocery store
What do peanut butter jars, plastic wrap, and juice jars all have in common? They’re made of plastic that rarely gets recycled, usually ends up in a landfill, and can harm your health.
When you head to a supermarket, it can seem like everything is wrapped in plastic—even produce! However, you can move toward a zero-waste shopping routine by visiting bulk grocery stores and stocking up on things like pasta, peanut butter, and grains with your own container.
5. Clean with all-natural products
All-natural cleaning products are a green-living staple. While shopping for them, take a look at the ingredient list. The shorter it is, and the more ingredients you recognize, the less likely it is to be toxic for you, your family, and the environment.
You can also make many cleaning products with items you probably have in your pantry. Things like white vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia make powerful homemade cleaning agents that are softer on the environment.
Changing one small habit is a step forward toward making the world a better place
You’re only able to vote with a ballot every few years. But as a consumer, you can vote with your dollar every day. Making green decisions while shopping or at home can be difficult if you’re not sure how to begin, but luckily, many sustainable options are available.
By following these five tips, you can start building sustainable habits that add up to a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle.
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