Earth Day 2022 marks the rapidly increasing adoption of sustainable living tips by people across the U.S. In fact, according to GreenPrint’s First Annual Business of Sustainability Index:
- 77% of Americans are concerned about how the products they purchase affect the environment.
- 76% of Americans would be willing to start using packaged goods brands that offset carbon emissions. 74% feel the same way about gasoline brands.
- 75% of Millennials, 63% of people from Generation Z, 64% of people from Generation X and 57% of Baby Boomers indicated a willingness to pay more for products that are environmentally sustainable.
These are examples that pertain specifically to products, but they point to a growing embrace of sustainable living practices across categories.
This trend highlights two essential truths about sustainable living:
- More and more people are recognizing the importance of protecting the environment.
- Adopting sustainable living practices isn’t hard!
How to Make Your Lifestyle More Environmentally Friendly with These Sustainable Living Tips
- Use less water
- Replace plastic products with reusable ones
- Take alternate forms of transportation
- Consume eco-friendly produce
- Choose quality over quantity in your wardrobe
- Use non-toxic products at home
- Give renewable energy a try
1. Use Less Water
It’s easy to think of fresh water as an unlimited resource. In reality, a mere 3% of the Earth’s water supply is fresh. The remaining 97% is too salty to consume.
This number becomes concerning when you consider the following water usage statistics:
- Each person in the U.S. uses approximately 82 gallons of water per day in their home.
- 40 out of 50 state water managers anticipate water shortages to occur under average conditions in their states by 2024.
- The average U.S. family spends more than $1,000 on water bills per year.
Fortunately, by adopting water conservation practices like the following, you can significantly reduce the impact made on fresh water sources:
- Turning off the tap while you brush your teeth can save 8 gallons of water each day.
- Doing the same while you shave can save 10 gallons of water per shaving session.
- Waiting to run the dishwasher until it’s full saves the average family 320 gallons of water on an annual basis.
Simple gestures like these go a long way in conserving our limited fresh water supply.
2. Replace Plastic Products with Reusable Ones
Animals that call the ocean home are at risk of getting harmed or killed by the alarming amounts of plastic that end up in these waters. Estimates from studies conducted on the subject conclude there are currently 15 to 51 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans. And because plastic is so durable, the chances of it degrading anytime in the near future are slim.
You can help protect the oceans and their animal residents by ditching plastic products in favor of other materials. Examples include:
- Drinking out of metal or paper straws
- Taking reusable bags to the store
- Carrying beverages in reusable water bottles
- Asking grocery store employees not to wrap your produce in plastic
3. Take Alternate Forms of Transportation
While hybrid vehicles have gotten a lot of buzz in recent years ― and they’re certainly beneficial for the environment ― you don’t have to purchase one to help reduce fuel emissions.
A study conducted by the University of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit found that walking or cycling could reduce personal carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from transport by about one-quarter.
Don’t own a bicycle? Don’t worry! Many cities are now spearheading bike sharing programs that allow you to rent a bicycle for a nominal fee.
4. Consume Eco-Friendly Produce
Do you eat fruit and vegetables on a daily basis? Good for you! While all fruit and vegetables provide nutritional benefits, those farmed using traditional practices are treated with pesticides and fertilizers. These chemicals pollute the land and water, and can be harmful to both animals and people.
Organic produce is farmed without pesticides and fertilizers. Look for fruit and vegetables that are marked with the USDA Organic label. In addition to being better for the environment, organic food is healthier for your body.
Choosing organic food is one of the tips for living sustainably that could reduce your carbon footprint.
5. Choose Quality Over Quantity in Your Wardrobe
Clothing might not be the first culprit of environmental damage that comes to your mind. But discarded clothing is overflowing landfills. Cheaply made clothing, dubbed “fast fashion,” has dominated the market in the last couple decades. “Fast fashion” pieces aren’t made to last. They’re meant to be worn a season or two, perhaps a year at most, and then discarded in favor of new clothing.
Due to the cheap prices at which “fast fashion” is sold, consumers can afford to buy more of it. And they are much less hesitant to get rid of it.
Traditional processes used in clothing production are detrimental to the environment, as well, because they may:
- Use excessive amounts of water
- Create plastic microfibers that pollute oceans
- Incorporate harmful chemicals
- Use unethical methods of resourcing materials
If you invest in high quality clothing produced with materials and processes that are eco-friendly, you will have pieces that look nice for many years. And you will ease the detrimental effect of clothing waste and traditional production methods on the environment.
6. Use Non-Toxic Products at Home
The presence and concentration of indoor pollutants has increased in the 21st century due to factors such as the use of synthetic:
- Household cleaners
- Personal care products
- Building materials
As a result, the following contaminants could be present in the average modern home:
- Particulate matter
- Volatile organic compounds
- Combustion byproducts
Pollutants are not only harmful to your health, but they also have an adverse effect on the environment. You can help reverse this effect by using all-natural, non-toxic cleaning products, personal products, laundry detergent, fragrances and candles.
Natural cleaners don’t have to cost a fortune. You can make your own at home using different combinations like vinegar and water and dish soap diluted in water. Is your carpet a bit stinky? Sprinkle baking soda over it and follow up with a vacuuming session to banish the funky odor.
7. Give Renewable Energy a Try
Burning fossil fuels produces greenhouse gasses, which accelerate climate change and the rise of global temperatures. The Earth’s average temperature increased by approximately two degrees Fahrenheit during the 20th century. This seemingly minute increase is already causing significant and influential environmental changes that include:
- Trees flowering earlier in the spring
- Shifting animal and plant ranges
- Ice on lakes and rivers deteriorating sooner
- Glaciers shrinking in size
While these changes might not sound alarming, they’re setting off a chain reaction that’s causing the intensity of heat waves to worsen, the rise of sea level to threaten populated areas at an accelerated pace and the loss of valuable sea ice to threaten to upset the delicate balance of the Earth’s water and land percentages.
Power Your Home with Solar Energy
Here’s a bright sustainable living tip: power your home with sunlight. Solar panels produce electricity that’s renewable, clean and free of carbon dioxide emissions.
A single home equipped with a solar energy system helps offset the damaging effect of environmental contaminants significantly. Using this clean source of electricity has the potential to eliminate the same amount of carbon emissions generated by burning over 5,000 pounds of coal per year.
Coal, natural gas, crude oil and uranium are non-renewable energy sources that are being used heavily. As non-renewables, they’re going to run out at some point.
In addition to being clean and eco-friendly, the sun is a totally renewable source of energy. Leveraging solar energy to power your home helps ease the relentless demand on nonrenewable sources of energy like fossil fuels.
And in terms of energy supply, the sun’s might is impressive. Just one hour of sunshine has the capacity to provide enough power for the entire Earth for a year!
Tips for Living Sustainably: Small Changes Create Big Results
Protecting the Earth is important not just for us, but for the generations that come after us. By adopting even just one or two of the tips for living sustainably listed above, you’ll make an enormous difference in the well-being of this amazing planet we call home. These sustainable living tips are simple to implement, won’t break the bank and will create a better world for everyone.