Now that we've covered what sustainability is, let's go over how to start a sustainable lifestyle. Sustainability isn't just about focusing on green living. It can be about human rights, animal cruelty, organic and recycling, or a combination. It all depends on what you want to focus on. I don't think there's one right way to start living an ethical lifestyle. Which is why I'm giving you four basic tips to get you started living sustainably.
Tip 1: Choose Your Focus
What are you looking to accomplish through sustainable living? Do you want to live greener and focus on recycling and natural, organic products? Do you want to support justice causes like human rights or animal cruelty? Or are you looking to just live more ethically overall? It's important to figure out your starting goal so you can focus your efforts later. And you can always shift or add a new focus at any point.
Tip 2: Figure Out Your Spending Habits
One major way to start focusing is figuring out your spending habits. Where do you usually buy items like clothes, food, consumables, electronics, etc.? This will help you narrow down where to cut any unnecessary spending. It also gives you an idea of the stores you frequent and what you tend to buy the most frequently.
Tip 3: Inventory Your Items
Figure out which of your items are sustainable and which aren't. From there break the non-sustainable items into three categories: Usable, Essential, and Non-replaceable.
- Usables are things like clothing, furniture, dishware, accessories, and other items. These are things you can replace later down the road, but should hold on to because they're still usable. Once they're unusable, you can recycle or reuse them.
- Essentials are items like food and other consumables. Cleaning supplies, hygiene, and similar. Basically, once you've used what you have or recycled them properly, you can look to replace them pretty quickly. Keep in mind your budget though, because some of these may go into your Non-replaceable's category.
- Non-replaceables are the big-scale items and electronics. Appliances, vehicles (unless you can afford to sell it and use a bicycle or walk for travel), phones, and other items that environmentally-conscious alternatives aren't easily available for. Some of them don't really have sustainable options, or the sustainable options are extremely expensive. These are the items you have to make do with what you have for now.
Tip 4: Research Sustainable Alternatives
The last tip is a really simple one. Just open up Google or whatever search engine you prefer, and search for eco-conscious, sustainable stores and brands either in your area or that are easily to buy online. You may have to do some digging to find brands that fit your budget, but also remember thrift stores count here, too! They're more expensive than a regular dollar store, but they're a lot cheaper than the average department store and sometimes Walmart. Plus, there's the added bonus that money is usually going back into the community rather than to produce more slave-made goods.
This can be kind of overwhelming at first, so I've compiled a free printable checklist you can use to start your sustainable lifestyle journey with these tips and more. All you have to do to get it is subscribe using the box below, and let me know how you're doing with the hashtag #startersustainability!
Keep in mind that you don't have to do these tips or the checklist in order, and you can even prioritize based on what you want your eco-conscious life to focus on. Remember there's no set or right way to start your sustainable lifestyle. All that matters right now is being aware of what's out there and conforming your lifestyle to include more eco-conscious choices. Next time, we'll be tacking saving money while with a sustainable lifestyle!