I grew up in a small town in Ohio. I played outside everyday and had a very active imagination. My parents took my brother and I on long road trips across the country in the summer months so that we could see National parks, camp, hike and experience nature.
Those memories of my childhood are precious to me, but seeing nature is as far as it went.
I didn’t grow up living Eco-conscious. We produced a lot of waste. We used so many chemicals and ate processed food at every meal.
Although I’ve always been an outdoorsy person, my appreciation for nature didn’t come until I was in my mid-twenties.
“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.”Aldo Leopold
That quote from Aldo Leopold in his book A Sand County Almanac stayed with me after I read it.
I grew up only seeing the pretty of nature, I didn’t realize that I could have an affect on it.
Now that I know that my actions and everyday choices make a difference, I feel a personal responsibility to take care of the earth.
Living sustainably isn’t difficult, in fact it’s pretty easy. It really simplifies your life.
For me, too much stuff = Anxiety.
When you start using reusable products, you aren’t constantly bringing in things that need to be disposed of, allowing you to live simply. You have exactly what you need and nothing else.
It’s difficult to cut out the excess waste completely, but moving toward using items that are reusable and that will last years will reduce a lot of waste.
Before you buy, think of what it takes to make that product. Was it made using sustainable methods? Were toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing process that caused damage to the ozone and animals living near by and now could harm you?
Shopping online has become a huge convenience and unfortunately it seems like it’s becoming the only way to get good products.
Shipping items uses fuel. Driving to the shop uses fuel. Gasoline and diesel cause air pollution.. So what can we do to reduce this?
Make a list. I have a local shop list and a online shopping list. Try to purchase as many items on your lists at the same time.
This will help you reduce trips to the shop and when ordering online, items coming from the same shop can be put in a large box instead of smaller boxes. This reduces fuel and packaging.
Look for ways to reuse what you already have. Most items can be re-purposed which further reduces waste.
Old clothing can be turned into rags or towels.
Egg cartons can be used as seed starters. Cans can be used as cute pots for your plants.
Also read: 10 ways to reduce plastic waste
Donate items that are still in good use to thrift shops, while you’re at it, shop at thrift shops before you buy new. Sometimes you can find some great items!
Before you buy, ask yourself Can it be recycled? Could you reuse the packaging in some way?
Not all items are recyclable, but most are.
As much as you can, recycle instead of throwing out items you no longer need.
Separate your waste. Have bins for paper products, plastic recyclable plastic products, non-recyclable products and food waste that can be composted.
Paper products can be used as fire starters. Some paper products can be composted or re-purposed as gift wrapping. Cardboard items can be used as a liner for your garden beds to prevent weeds from growing.
Recyclable plastics should be recycled. Get your guide for recyclables here
Non recyclable products sometimes can be re-purposed for use around the house. If it can’t, then it’s waste and should be disposed of properly.
Food waste can be re-purposed as food for your plants, garden and yard. Find out more about composting and sustainable gardening in here
We as consumers have a powerful impact on what companies make. Most companies follow and live by the almighty dollar. The less crap we buy, the less companies will make it. They will begin to make sustainable products because that’s what we buy.
Choose sustainable products, reduce the waste you produce, Recycle as much as you can.
One person can make a difference.