Welcome back to the Conscious Consumerism intro series!
Conscious Consumerism, Part 6 - Sustainable Solutions
by Lore and Lotus Founder, Jackie Brink
Decided you want to add a little sustainability to your life? Not sure where to start?
Here's some solutions, thoughts, and little practices to get started.
"We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly."
- Anne-Marie Bonneau @ZeroWasteChef
The most sustainable thing you can do, is use something you already own.
Switch it Out: Start by switching to a reusable, insulated water bottle and/or coffee mug.
- Budget: Reuse a glass or stainless steel bottle you already own, or a ceramic mug from home. Even a mason jar makes a great reusable option for on the go!
- Investment: Buy a really good quality one that will last you a long time and keep your drink actually hot - or cold - for hours.
BYOB: Bring your own bag to the grocery store, market, or department stores.
- Budget: reuse the standard plastic bags from your supermarket, or several, over again until they breakdown, then if possible, try to recycle them. Or buy a ¢99 reusable tote from your supermarket, dollar store, etc, and bring it everywhere.
- Investment: Buy a beautiful canvas tote bag you love, and bring it everywhere.
- Tip: Leave several reusable market totes in your car (folded in the back seat pocket), for quick and easy access for whenever you end up at the store. When they're already in the car they're hard to forget. (We also stash a tiny reusable foldable / pocket bag in our Beach Bag, just in case!)
- Make a Note: Always ask for no napkins, plasticware, or other excess packaging when you order food for delivery or takeaway, especially if you're at home, or if you have a stocked kitchenette at work.
Portable: Carry a portable set of silverware with you wherever you go, in case you need to grab food or order delivery while out and about.
- Budget: Bring a set of your own silverware in a pouch (pencil case works great), with a washable, cloth napkin. (Or buy a designated 'travel' set from the thrift store, for cheap).
- Investment: Buy a couple of high-quality reusable, washable utensil sets in your choice or stainless steel, bamboo, or silicone, with it's own designated case.
- Tip: Keep these in your purse, car or near the door for easy access, and bring one when you're travelling. Note: bamboo or silicone will travel through airport security, while a silverware or steel knife may be confiscated if packed in carry-on luggage.
Carry Out: Bring your own Tupperware when you go out.
- Budget: An existing Tupperware from your kitchen can be used on the go.
- Investment: Eat in. Use the restaurant's plate, bowl, or cup, and leave after you've eaten. And when you can't eat in, invest in a quality reusable takeaway container and keep it in your car, or "to go bag" with all your other essentials.
- Note: not every restaurant will allow you to use your own containers to take out food, due to sanitation reasons, so ask beforehand, and respect their policy on the matter.
- Power Source: Be more power conscious! Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Turn off your computer, laptop and other appliances when you go to bed at night. Unplug any unused electrical cords.
- No Flow: Turn off the water when you brush your teeth, or wash your face. Use less water overall, especially when showering or washing dishes. Filling a sink or a bathtub is actually more sustainable and uses less overall water.
- Transport: Take public transportation, carpool/ride-share, ride a bike, or walk when travelling short distances, like heading to work or a local restaurant. Riding a bike (or walking) is by far, the most sustainable, and it's enjoyable (and healthy, too)! Now that it's Fall in Florida, the weather is getting much more accommodating for a good bike ride again!
- So, so clean! Switch to a natural or DIY detergent for your laundry. (We use Puracy currently, but let us know if there's an even better alternative). Wash less frequently and do larger loads to save power/water. Never use a dryer sheet again, use a Wool Dryer Ball instead. (Plastic dryer balls just release more plastic pollution into the world). Wool Dryer balls are nearly endlessly reusable and can be accentuated with your favorite essential oils.
- Eat less meat: The meat and dairy industry are some of the worst for our environment. If you're able to eat just a little less meat than you used to, that's already a huge start, and I am proud of you! Meatless Monday's are a good place to start. But if you can commit to an anti-meat and dairy diet, try to go vegan. I am working on getting there, and I am not by any means a vegan yet, but I am trying to eat less meat an dairy, and am working on my own addictions. We need to try. Going vegan one day won't kill us, but not trying it at all, probably will.
- Stop Shopping: Try not to buy anything new. But if you can't avoid it, then before you order online again, or buy a new piece of clothing at the fast fashion shop, consider where you're buying from. Consider, who made my clothes/accessories? Are these sustainable brands? If you can't go without it, try to find a sustainable producer of the item you need. If you must buy, buy from an ethical, sustainable or fair trade (or better yet, all the above) Brand and choose instead to support the life of workers/artisans, women, and the planet!
- Try Zero Waste challenges, and see how long you can go without buying anything or bringing any plastic into your home. (I have yet to be able to achieve this either, personally, but that's no reason not to try, and to continue to try to reduce your in-coming waste.)
- Invest in sustainable power sources, if money is an option: try solar, wind or other options.
- Tell your local representatives, congress and more that you support alternative power sources.
Check out or sustainability directory for some awesome sustainable resources!