Sustainability is usually seen as this unobtainable lifestyle only certain people can commit to and afford, but there are a lot of small habits you can adjust in order to be more sustainable that are both easy and affordable. There are many actions that you as an individual can take to make a difference, even if it’s a small one. So here are a few simple ways you can contribute!
1. Shop Smart
Whether it be buying more responsibly or being more conscious of where your money’s going, there are lots of easy ways to bring sustainability into your shopping. You can shop secondhand, which in of itself is an experience that can offer a lot of unique finds, and reduce waste in the process. Another way to shop smart is to opt for eco-friendly textiles, such as 100% organic cotton (which uses 91% less water from freshwater sources) or eco-friendly denim (a normal pair of jeans uses up to 10,000 liters of water).
2. Out with the new, in with the old
Taking care of your garments can ensure they last much longer and avoiding over washing them can even reduce your emissions. Getting clothes tailored or fixed rather than simply throwing it out can also extend their time with you, reducing the amount of clothes that fall into the buy, use, release cycle— the last two steps of which account for 25% of a piece of clothes carbon footprint. And if you do choose to get rid of your clothes, try to consider what happens to it after. It’s estimated that 85% of textiles will wind up on a landfill somewhere. Reselling clothes in good conditions, up-cycling them, or donating them are easy, more sustainable ways to get them out of your closet for good!
3. Take a look at what you eat
Switching to a plant-based diet has proven to reduce food emissions to up to 73%. It’s one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint. However, you don’t have to alter your diet too much to contribute to sustainability efforts. For example, while I didn’t want to drop meat altogether, I started opting for chicken rather than beef whenever possible, since the beef industry not only contributes substantially to increases in greenhouse gas emissions, but also to deforestation and the overall degradation of the environment.
4. Avoid single use plastics
Most food comes packaged in single use plastics, a lot of it unnecessarily so.
Condoms, foods, straws, menstrual products, hair products, soap bars… the list goes on and on. Cutting down on packaging by using reusables is a great way to contribute to sustainability efforts.
You can try to use solid shampoo bars and soaps, look for brands with recycled packaging and invest in brands with take-back schemes (an initiative to collect used products and reintroduce them to the original manufacturing cycle)! You can also try to switch to menstrual cups, biodegradable condoms, biodegradable wipes etc. Even switching to reusable water bottles or cups can go a long way.
Also look to reduce or eliminate micro-plastics. Just washing your clothes can lead to millions of micro-plastics entering the ocean. Buying a micro-plastics filter for your washing machine can help eliminate these!
5. Beauty products
There are so many ways to contribute to sustainable efforts in beauty brands, I’m going to be listing some of the major ones.
– Switch to cruelty free brands. The Leaping Bunny Program certifies companies as cruelty free under the requirement that no animal testing be used is in any phase of product development. They have a full list of certified brands you can check out on their website! (www.leapingbunny.org)
– Look out for Blue Beauty products. Blue Beauty is an initiative beauty and personal care brands take on that go beyond being sustainable, contributing back to the planet in some way shape or form.
– Try buying from Waterless Beauty brands. Many brands use water as the main ingredient in their products. Looking for waterless beauty brands can heavily reduce your water footprint. Especially since, brands that use water as a filler are a lot less effective, meaning you end up using more of it. Make sure to check both skin and hair products!
If sustainability is really important to you, you should research into the brands you love to make sure they’re putting in the work. From their product production cycle to the conditions of their workers, accountability is an important part of achieving sustainability. Hopefully this article helped give you a few ideas on ways you can try to be more sustainable this year, whether it be as simple as switching a product, to adjusting a large part of your lifestyle, any form of commitment towards sustainability can help.
Below, there’s a list of brands and how they contribute to sustainability efforts. If you guys have any questions or recommendations for sustainable brands or practices, feel free to leave them in the comments below!
Lotus Eco: Tampons made from 100% cotton and packaged in biodegradable pouches
Nixit: Menstrual cups with sustainable packaging
Evergreen: For the coffee addicts, reusable coffee capsules!
The Friendly Cup: We’ve covered this one before, but it definitely belongs on this list! It’s a brand that sells reusable, biodegradable cups and mugs!
Guppyfriend: Microplastics filter for your washing machine
Personal-Care and Beauty Brands:
Gisou: A honey-based hair care line that’s cruelty free and organic. used are from a six generation family of beekeepers
Glossier: A skincare brand that’s vegan and affordable!
Pacifica: A clean, vegan and cruelty free skincare brand
Desert Essence: A skincare line that uses pure oils, organic ingredients and is cruelty free
Meow Meow Tweet: Affordable, cruelty free, vegan skincare
Drunk Elephant: Higher end cruelty free skincare brand which commits to using natural ingredients
Pinch of Colour – A waterless skincare and makeup brand
Lush Cosmetics: Blue Beauty skin and hair care brand that’s affordable, uses sustainable packaging, and is cruelty free!
– Eco-friendly women’s jeans
Warp and Weft:
– Men, women, and kids jeans
– Men, women, and kids jeans
– Send your old jeans back and it’ll wash and donate them to a shelter, giving you a 10$ store credit in the process
– Donates a portion of their sales to environmental non-profits.
– Sustainable and affordable clothes
– 100% cotton