#SustainabilityWednesdays: Simple Ways to Adopt a More Earth Friendly Lifestyle (Part 1)
Updated: Feb 12
I became concerned with our environment back in 2012. I had just started working at my church's resale store and quickly began to realize how much stuff we use and get rid of. And while we were receiving tons of donations from people all over Dallas, I realized that there were still some people that trashed their unwanted goods instead of donating or reusing them. It made me think about everything that tends to get thrown away and how much we actually waste. After all, trash has to go somewhere. Where will we hold our stuff when there's no more room?
Not only that, but I began to wonder how much of earth's resources we abuse. Cars use gas and emissions from that gas attack our atmosphere. More cars hitting our roads means more pollution. And how much water is really necessary for us to wash our dishes, our clothing or our bodies? Let's not forget our devices. Can you imagine how much electricity it takes to power a smart home?
I'm not saying all of this to scare you, or to be overly dramatic, but we have to start realizing the impact we are having on the earth and our climate. It's everyone's responsibility to make sure that we leave this world in a better condition than when it was entrusted to us. After all, it has to last for future generations. So if you're like me and want to start building a more sustainable lifestyle, here are the first three tips in our 3-part series on how to adopt a more earth friendly lifestyle. Check back with us each Wednesday in the month of January for more tips. And just remember-it's not about making huge changes all at once. It's about making smaller, everyday choices that you can maintain and that will directly impact the environment for the good.
Tip #1: Save your utilities.
Water, electricity and gas are all resources that we use on a daily basis. I mean, we cook, power homes, watch TVs and do a number of things that require earth's resources. However, excessive use can deplete the earth and contribute to climate change. So be mindful of how you use your utilities. Make sure that you are washing full loads of clothing instead of one or two pieces at a time. Load full loads into the dishwasher so that you're running full loads less often. Cut the water off when washing your dishes by hand. Also, don't leave your air or heat on full blast when you aren't there to use them. These tips will not only save you money, but will save the planet.
Tip #2: Re-purpose items you already own.
Before tossing your old things in the trash, consider ways they can be reused. Glass jars can be used as storage containers for things like pens, cotton balls and Q-tips. Old shoe boxes can keep you organized as drawer dividers. And furniture can get new life with just a few coats of paint and some sweat equity. Think about the things that you no longer use. Can they be used for something else in your household? If there is an immediate need, re-purpose it. If not, and it's still in good condition, donate it to an organization that will resell it. The ultimate goals is to keep it out of the landfill. Donating to organizations that have a social cause not only clean up our earth, but help people in need.
Tip #3: Be mindful of how your purchases will be used now and in the future.
We have a tendency, as a culture, to make immediate, self-gratifying purchases. If we see something we like, we get it without a thought to how or where it's made, or who produces it. The rise of fast fashion means that we can get clothing produced at record speeds, sometimes at a lower quality. We are in product overload, with the rise of online shopping making it easier and easier to see something and buy it. But what if we took a moment to thoughtfully consider the things we bring into our homes. Ask yourself a few questions before making your next purchase. Do I really need it? Can I re-purpose something in my home or buy it used? Are the pieces that I'm purchasing quality pieces that can be reused multiple times? I have a 24-hour rule. If it's something that I'm thinking about getting, I give it 24 hours before I make a final decision. If I wake up and I can't stop thinking about it and I don't have anything else that will serve the same purpose, then I get it. But if I forget about it, then I don't need it. Developing techniques like this will not only help you save money, but will keep fewer products in circulation and out of the landfill.
We all have to do our part to preserve our planet and its resources. Developing sustainable habits in your household make a difference. Imagine if each of us made daily decisions that would directly impact our environment. That would be a little less in our air, in our landfills and in our oceans. Come back next Wednesday for the next three tips and if you have any questions or sustainable solutions you're currently using in your household, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. And for more information on our Fabric Recycling Program and how you can contribute, click here.