People are now becoming more aware and conscious of the environmental impacts our daily actions have on the planet. More and more of us are taking an interest in wanting to live more sustainably, but there is a misconception that this is a timely task that requires drastic lifestyle changes. The reality is that living a more sustainable lifestyle can actually be a very effortless task. Sustainability is the key.
Re-use / Repurpose / Recycle
Good waste management is the key to sustainability. How we manage our waste has drastic impacts on the environment, and neglectful or wrongful waste handling can harm our planet. Despite having such damaging impacts, handling our waste better is actually a very easy and simple task, which requires very little effort.
Almost all items we use could have a life beyond their intended purpose through the means of re-use. Many items which are classified as single-use (e.g. water bottles and plastic bags) can be reused countless times before they begin to lose their ability to fulfill needs. Before disposing of items and products, we must decide whether they can be re-used, either for the same purpose or provide us with a different one. If they no longer can be used successfully, they must then be disposed of, ideally through the means of recycling. The majority of items we use are now very easily recyclable – so it is important that we are correctly and effectively recycling, in order to avoid contamination and rising landfill levels.
An ever-mounting issue that we are facing is food waste. These levels are rapidly growing and causing detrimental environmental issues. However, if we change our attitude towards food and how it is managed and its waste handled, we can help to cut down on these issues. If the issue is the levels of food waste, we must focus on what is causing this, and usually, it is down to over-purchasing or incorrect storage. When doing your food shopping, make sure you are only buying what you need and want – helping to ensure that no food is getting wasted when it is forgotten or unused. If we do have excess amounts of food, which have the potential to become waste, we must decide how we can extend its lifespan, this is usually done by freezing or re-purposing.
How we travel can be altered to ensure we are doing it in the most resourceful way. Avoiding air and individual road travel when unnecessary is always a good option, opting for communal transport such as buses and trains is far more eco-friendly than car travel. Even better than this biking or walking to your destination is the best possible transport option.
Litter / Waste Management
As stated earlier, waste management is one of the easiest ways to live more sustainably – this is extended to litter. Littering is the subject of poor waste management and careless consumer behaviour. Whilst many are quick to blame the littered item based on its material or the manufacturer – for example, a littered plastic Coca-Cola bottle. When the real culprits are the persons that irresponsibly discarded the litter in the first instance. Litter is not excusable and our waste should always be managed accordingly, thrown into waste bins (preferably the correct recycling bin), if one is not available then the litter must be taken home.
You do not have to move mountains to sustainability, simple but effective steps can make drastic environmentally beneficial changes to our planet.