It’s one thing to say, “I want to be more sustainable,” but you may not know where to start! I really wanted to write this post to show you that there are EASY ways to become a more sustainable you! These are sustainability examples that will jumpstart your path to a more sustainable life. Think of me as your free “sustainability consultant” today. I want to tell you all the ways you can be more sustainable as a broke millennial!
I always wondered as a teen/college student how to protect the environment when I didn’t really have a voice. Now as an adult I really focus on the small things I can do that can make a HUGE impact if a lot of people decide to do them together! Aside from purchasing eco friendly products, these are just a few ways that will allow you to make your mark on the environment (in a good way!).
1. Use a Re-Useable Shopping Bag for Groceries (Or Multiple!)
This is one task I’ve been doing since I started college in 2015. The main reason I started doing it was so that I could help the environment. It also helped me in the way that it made me take less trips too! I religiously use my Apolis tote and that’s because it can carry up to 150 pounds.
It IS a little bit pricey, but I’ve now used this bag to move THREE times in a year, I use it for groceries weekly, AND it’s my blogging bag that carries everything I need when I shoot outfit looks every week! If you have kids you should most definitely invest in on of these because it carries it all!
The reason this is a more sustainable option is because you are eliminating a minimum of five grocery bags a week. If you calculate that over 52 weeks a year that is OVER 250 BAGS PER YEAR! Now think about that multiplied over your friends and family and think about how much you can save if we all do this together!
2. Thrift Shop/Be a More Conscious Shopper
I eventually want to do an entire post on how to thrift shop like a pro, but until then I want to talk about it here! The fashion industry is the SECOND most polluting industry behind petroleum. Yes, I said it! The fashion industry is detrimental in all aspects of it (people, planet, etc.) and thrifting can help
Thrift shopping saves clothing from going to the landfill where it can stay for HUNDREDS of years before it breaks down. The longer a clothing item stays in circulation, the better! It’s also more affordable for obvious reasons. Thrift shopping is also fun to do!
Now I get it, everyone wants to buy the latest trends too! I obviously do as well. If you want to do that, be sure to do thing like re-sell your clothing (I have a post about 5 Apps to Use to Re-Sell Your Old Clothing), try to wear your clothes as many times as possible before getting rid of them, and only buy pieces that last!
3. Reduce Household Energy Use
Energy conservation is very very important especially with where we are at now when it comes to climate change. There is a limited amount of energy in the world and it’s NOT currently renewable. These energy reduction tips can help the environment AND also help you save money on your power bill. It’s a win-win for the broke millennial!
Before you leave for class or work, shut off your A/C or turn it up to like 85. When I do this, my apartment only gets to around 77 degrees after 9-12 hours of it being off. I then turn it down when I go to sleep! It keeps my energy bill lower and also saves energy that is crucial for us to conserve.
4. Use a Brita Pitcher and/or a Reusable Water Bottle
My Brita pitcher is my life!!!! My mom ONLY used our two Brita pitchers growing up and she even pours our dog water from it. They last for literal years (I swear the ones my mom has are older than me). The only thing you have to do is change the filters every three months or so!
Brita also offers a variety of sizes and shapes so you can have the amount of water you want/need! They also offer faucet attachments too so if you prefer to just get some water from the tap, you can do that too! My aunt got me a purple Brita and I used it for four years throughout college.
Brita also has reusable bottles that filter water for you too! I just suggest using any type of reusable plastic or glass water bottle. Imagine how much money you’ll save not buying plastic throw-away bottles! You’ll also help the environment by now throwing them into the trash to get taken to a dump.
5. Contact Local Representatives About Going Green
This task is a bigger ask than some of the others. That being said, it’s honestly the only completely FREE option! I am that person who was insanely excited to turn 18 because I could vote. That meant more to me than turning 21 if we’re being honest. Contacting a local representative is an AMAZING way to create a more sustainable world.
Your local representatives can make change in YOUR OWN community. Atlanta has MARTA as a train system, but it could honestly be a lot better. Adding more routes to MARTA and stops could greatly cut back on commuter pollution from the trillion cars in the city every day! Adding public transportation is a great thing to call/write/email your representatives about.
Another thing you could reach out about the overall threat of climate change. Your local Senators are IN Washington making and enacting laws. They are the ones who have the ability to tell Congress this is an issue their constituents care about. Sound like something you want to do? Click (here) to find out who your representatives are and how you can contact them.
6. Use CFL Light Bulbs
There are many sustainable energy solutions, but one simple one is the switch your bulbs over to CFL’s! I did a little research on this one because I know CFL’s are better, I just didn’t know the specific reasons as to why. CFL’s are a better option than regular bulbs for many reasons!
CFL’s are four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but use 50-80% less energy (source)! The initial cost is obviously going to be a little bit more, but in the long run you’ll save money on your energy bill AND they will last longer. Just one CFL bulb can reduce a half-ton of CO2 from the atmosphere over the life of the bulb (source)!
7. Switch to Online/Paperless Billing
Online/Paperless billing is a way for companies and individuals to save the trees! With the huge targeted fires in the Amazon a few weeks back, I really try to print less at work and go paperless with my bills if possible. A lot of companies offer discounts with this too!
My internet bill is $10 less per month because I do online billing/paperless statements. You’re helping the environment AND saving money on the bills you have to pay. This is such a fantastic thing that the internet has provided and I’m happy that we have the ability to do this now. My only wish is that I would stop having banks stalk me with spam mail!!!
8. Clean with Reusable Cloths
I have been notorious for using paper towels while cleaning. It’s easy, they take two seconds to rip off, but sadly they aren’t sustainable. I recently purchased a floor mop that has a reusable pad you can just throw in the wash! This is a great alternative to the Swiffer mop where you have multiple little cloths you can’t reuse.
You can buy a two pack of reusable mop pads for just $15 (here)! Another alternative to cleaning is dish towels! Instead of drying dishes and hands in the kitchen with paper towels, grab a few cute dish towels (like the ones below) that you can just throw in the wash instead of throwing away!
9. Cut Down on Water Useage
You may not know this, but water sustainability is a thing! The worlds fresh water supply is dwindling and is being slowly depleted every day. Eventually we’re going to run out and then where will we be?! Like the people in Wall-E. These few small tasks will help conserve just a little water, but will be important in the long run!
The first thing you can do is cut own on shower time! I know, showering is literally my only solace in the day. That being said, if every person cut their showers down by just one minute a day, IMAGINE how much water we would save! Another easy water saving hack is to turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Super easy to do!
10. Unplug Appliances You Aren’t Using
This is something I only started doing religiously when I got my first apartment where I had to pay utilities (sorry mom). Having your appliances and things plugged in when they aren’t in use is draining energy without you even knowing! This can cost you a ton of money every month.
Before I go to bed every night I turn off y surge protector and make sure my fan/light in the living room are off. Before I leave for work, I unplug my surge protector in my bedroom and turn off my A/C! It might seem like a lot up front, but it literally only takes a minute at night and a minute in the morning.
I hope you guys loved this post! These are just a few ways to live sustainably even if you don’t make a ton of money! As a college student with a part-time job I was still able to afford to make these sustainable choices. These are not all of the possible sustainable solutions that exist obviously, but these 10 will definitely help you on your way!
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