Zero waste and conscious consumption are becoming more popular, which is not surprising: if you do not act now, it can only get worse. Here’s how to understand that your lifestyle is not as sustainable as it could be – and what you can do to make a difference.
You take packages in stores
In the 80s the transition from shopping bags to plastic bags from supermarkets was a sign of a new life, many rejoiced at the opportunity to finally not save on packaging. More than two decades later, the world has changed – it became clear that plastic bags do more harm than good (just remember that each one takes twenty years to decompose).
Many supermarkets have stopped giving out plastic bags for free – but their symbolic price stops few people. If this is your case, you never refuse a package, and at home, you have a separate drawer for them in your kitchen cabinet, think about whether you need them so badly. Instead, try going to the store with a bulky canvas bag.
You waste water
It is unlikely that anyone reading this text is deliberately wasting water. Nevertheless, there are many situations in which we could be more economical, but for some reason, we don’t. This includes, for example, the habit of leaving the tap open while you brush your teeth, or letting the water run out while you thoroughly scrub your plate or skillet, all of which are easy to refuse.
Dishwashers also help to save water – provided that this is a modern model, you load it completely, and do not start “empty” and do not rinse the dishes first (this does not mean that there is no need to remove food residues from the plate – it is just better not to do this water, for example with a fork).
A conscious approach is also useful if you use a washing machine – it is hardly worth starting a whole wash cycle for a couple of things. At the same time, it is worth repairing the taps on time so that they do not leak – all this helps not only to protect nature but also to save on bills.
You buy bottled water
A habit that many of us still find it difficult to give up: on a hot day, go to the store and buy a cool drink. The problem with this approach is obvious: plastic bottles take four hundred and fifty years to decompose, and aluminum cans take two hundred. With other drinks, take-away is no easier: a cup of coffee will be present in the life of our planet for another half a century, and cocktail tubes – two hundred years.
The solution is simple: give up cocktail tubes wherever they are offered to you (or buy a reusable one, they are easy to find on AliExpress), buy a reusable water bottle and take drinks from home, and for coffee, if you want to buy it in a coffee shop, use a Thermo mug. Of course, all these are additional expenses – but they are instantaneous.
You use your car a lot
Cars, car-sharing services, and taxis have long become a familiar element of city life. You can treat them in different ways (we all know, on the one hand, how convenient it is to drive a car for large purchases, on the other, how little fun it is in traffic jams and trying to park in a busy area), but one thing is clear for sure – for the environment, they are not very useful. Of course, the question of what is less harmful to the environment in itself – public transport or a car – is not as straightforward as it seems at first glance. But if you travel alone to work by car, you are more likely to harm the environment than if you were traveling on the subway with other passengers.
You don’t recycle the garbage
Look for separate waste collection points in your city and hand over at least one type of waste – the easiest way to do this is with plastic, glass containers, or waste paper (they can be collected in separate bags and take it to the right place every couple of weeks, so it does not require huge efforts). It is no less useful to give away unwanted clothes – for example, H&M accepts them for recycling, and things in good condition can be given to charity organizations that collect them.
You throw away a lot of food
Probably, no person in this world has never thrown away food – a tomato forgotten at the bottom of the fridge or the unexpectedly spoiled remains of yesterday’s dinner. It’s another matter if throwing away food has turned into a sad habit: food is regularly spoiled or you have to throw out a lot because you do not calculate the portions that way and are simply not physically able to eat so much. Planning and a sober assessment of habits will help: analyze how much food you buy and how much you actually eat (you can even create a special diary).
You do not save electricity
Another habit that harms not only the environment but also your bills. We hope you remember from childhood that it is worth turning off the light when leaving the room – but this is far from the only way to be more careful with energy. Use energy-saving lamps instead of ordinary ones, turn off electronics that you do not need right now (it is clear that the refrigerator cannot be turned off, but the TV or speakers are complete), and do not forget to remove the chargers from the outlet. The last point is neglected by many, but in vain – of course, electricity, in this case, is spent very little, but in the long run, it turns out to be unhappy.