There is a lot of talk about living more sustainably, and a lot of product solutions out there that claim to be better for the earth. But it can be really hard to navigate how you can actually live in a more sustainable way. Here are some ways you can actually reduce your consumption and make an impact right now:
Minimize fast fashion:
The fashion industry is one of the most pollution filled industries. It takes a lot of energy and natural materials to produce fibers, fabric, garments, and then ship them to the US. Clothing has become seen as disposable in the last decade and it is so wasteful. I love to shop and try new things, but I’m trying to be better about how much clothing I’m consuming. I resell things I no longer wear on Poshmark, and have started doing Rent the Runway to have a few new fun things to wear each month, without having to keep them.
I have literally had things that I was going to throw in the garbage that I thought I would list for cheap on Poshmark, and people have bought it! It’s also nice to buy gently used clothing from my favorite brands at a discount! If you want to try it, get $5 off your first purchase with code THEMISSJENN.
Rent the Runway has a monthly subscription that I talked about in my post here. I recently found myself buying more winter clothes since this winter has been SO long, but decided to renew my monthly subscription so I had a few new things to wear these last months of winter. If you would like to try Rent the Runway, get $30 off a rental with this link!
Instead of throwing away furniture and home goods, find somewhere to donate them. There are some great organizations in the Minneapolis area that collect furniture and home goods and let families in need shop for free. Just because we think something is out of style or not wanted, doesn’t mean it should go in the garbage.
A lot of furniture can also be repurposed with paint. I have a tutorial on how I upcycled my college dorm ikea tables into night stands by painting them white and adding ceramic tile to the top! This would have been something that I just threw away, but I’ve now used them for years longer!
Our county also has a recycling center where you can bring old electronics, batteries, and household chemicals like cleaners and paint that can be reused instead of thrown in the trash!
Minimize single use food containers:
One of the biggest ways I have changed the way I consume things is to minimize single use food containers and utensils. In any given day, I might throw away a starbucks cup, plastic silverware for breakfast and lunch, ziplock bags for lunch and snacks, and a plastic water bottle (which I would recycle).
Earlier this year, I gave up drinking Starbucks and have saved so much money by just drinking coffee made at home. My next goal is to go back to regular grounds, instead of K cups that have to be thrown away. I also try to only drink water from a reusable cup, instead of buying bottles each day. I use reusable tupperware with mini compartments for lunches, instead of packing everything in a plastic bag.
I still use plastic silverware, which I want to get away from using. It’s not that hard to pack and wash my own! When you start paying attention to how many things you throw away each day, it really starts to add up.
Say no to plastic bags:
If you take and throw away plastic bags, please stop!!! I keep a bunch of reusable totes in my car for whenever I go shopping. And if I’m shopping at the mall, I try to carry things in one store bag and just add to it (unless it’s lululemon because those make perfect lunch totes!). If I forget a tote and have to take plastic bags, I save them to use as my garbage bags (so I never have to buy them!). Minneapolis has even been trying to ban plastic bags all together, which is a hassle at first, but changing convenient behaviors is never easy, but sometimes has to be done!
Recycle everything you can:
Minneapolis has a really easy recycling system, and you literally just put everything recyclable in your curb side can. I end up filling my large bin when they come to collect every other week. Because I can recycle so much, I end up only having a small plastic bag of trash each week. Check your local recycling program and recycle as much as you possibly can instead of sending it to the landfill.
If you didn’t notice, a lot of these tips also help you save money by reducing how much you are consuming. You don’t have to completely overhaul your life in order to live more sustainably– it’s about making the little things add up to make a big impact.