With the state of global climate change, many of us are looking for ways we can live more sustainably, and reduce our impact on the environment as a whole. Unfortunately, sometimes sustainable living can feel like an impossible task. It’s important to remember that every little step we take towards sustainability counts, and you don’t have to own a solar garden or organic farm to live a sustainable life. Here are 5 ways we can all work to live just a little more sustainably:
#1 Grow Your Own Produce
Here in the US, the distribution of produce is far from sustainable. Fruits and veggies are driven clear across the country from places like Florida and California and are even shipped in from other countries like Mexico and Chile on large, gas-guzzling trucks. Just growing some of your own produce can massively reduce your family’s carbon footprint, helping you live more sustainably.
Not sure how to get started? If you’re searching for a new home, look for a neighborhood that offers a community garden or greenhouse, where you can grow your own produce right on the premises. Bonus points if you can keep chickens for meat or eggs. Livestock maintenance is also a major contributor to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
If you can’t grow your own produce, try to shop local or at least purchase vegetables and fruits that are in season. Not only is shopping local good for your city or town’s economy, but it helps reduce the waste that comes with commercial distribution of produce.
#2 Drink Tap Water
Switching from bottled water to tap water is an easy win if you’re looking to live more sustainably. Not only is bottled water contributing to excess plastic waste, but shipping bottles of water across the country also puts a lot of carbon emissions into the environment. Pick up a reusable water bottle, and start filling that thing up! If you’re worried about water quality, simple on-tap filters or filtered water pitchers cost less than $20, and only need to be replaced every three months or so. You can also opt for a water bottle that comes with a filter included. That small switch alone can make a big difference on your journey to living sustainably.
#3 Recycle & Compost
This might sound like an easy one, but a surprising amount of Americans still aren’t on the recycling train. Even if your community doesn’t have a recycling program, your city or village probably does, and most programs are making it easier than ever to recycle! Just make sure you rinse out all recyclables thoroughly before you recycle them. Also remember that things like electronics, cellphones, and batteries can and should be recycled. Goodwill accepts electronics for responsible recycling, and so do many businesses that sell batteries, cellphones, and other electronics.
It’s also always a good idea to start a compost pile, or even just a compost bucket if you live in a more urban area. Composting can help reduce quite a bit of the waste your family would normally accumulate. Essentially, every food product, from coffee grounds to eggshells to orange peels can all be composted. Those foods will slowly break down in your compost pile, creating a huge source of nutrition for your personal or community garden!
#4 Choose Energy Efficient Appliances
One of the fastest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce the amount of energy your household uses. This is actually a lot easier to do than you think. You can start by installing energy-efficient appliances, or by choosing a home that already features energy-efficient appliances.
Then, make sure you’re only using energy when you need it. Use a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature for less energy use while you’re not at home. Make sure you turn off lights and unplug appliances when you’re not using them, and consider letting clothes line-dry when possible, instead of using the dryer. All of these tactics will reduce your carbon footprint and help you live more sustainably, while also saving you on your energy bills. It’s a win-win!
#5 Build with Sustainable Materials
If you’re considering making a move or building a new home, it’s good to start off on the right foot. A great way to improve your sustainability in the long-term is to build with sustainable materials. Choose locally sourced or reclaimed lumber, recyclable building materials like aluminum metal roofing, and more to ensure that the way you build your home doesn’t negatively impact the environment now, and won’t in the future.
A brand new home also gives you the opportunity to invest in those energy-efficient appliances we mentioned above. There are a lot of ways to make a new home completely sustainable, and even a potentially net-zero building — you just have to make sure you’re looking for a sustainable builder who can help you reach your goals!
If you’re interested in living more sustainably, why not choose a sustainable living community? Here at Couch Mountain, sustainability is our top priority. Check out what we do to maintain a sustainable community, and get a taste of peaceful, mountain living while you’re at it!