• Austin Green

10 Easy Sustainable Swaps!

The science shows our earth is heating, sea levels are rising and trash is overflowing in landfills and in the ocean. It is something that I have a hard time just accepting. There must be something we can all do right? I decided to make a list of 10 easy sustainable swaps that we can all make to be better stewards of this earth.

Reusable bags at the store. Plastic bags pile up in landfills and oceans, they continue to live much longer than us and even our children. Taking your own bags to the store is an easy way to shrink you carbon footprint on the earth. I recommend canvas tote bags, not only are they durable and long living but they are also biodegradable once their life has ran its course. I have a few canvas tote bags that have lasted nearly 5 years and are still holding up great.

Reusable produce bags. Recently at my local health food market I saw compostable produce bags but after thinking about it for a minute I realized it is still much more sustainable to use my personal reusable produce bags because of the energy used to create those compostable produce bags. You can buy useable produce bags at your local market or you can even create you own from old t-shirts or bed sheets. I purchased mine at the local health food store and they are now over two years running and have lots of life still left. You can search Pinterest and find endless ideas on how to create your own.

Bamboo Toothbrush! We all brush our teeth and its an easy swap. Bamboo is much more sustainable for many reasons, it grows quick, uses little resources to grow and can be composted back into the earth when after it has served its purpose. Plastic is toxic to humans, animals and the earth. The less demand we can create for plastic the better. Plastic has a toxic process from which it is made, uses fossil fuels and once it is created it can never fully be put back into the earth, only breaking down into micro plastics, polluting water and damaging the environment. Bamboo toothbrushes are now accessible almost anywhere you buy a toothbrush. You can also tell your dentist after your check up that you don't want your free plastic toothbrush and you hope that someday they will hand out bamboo toothbrushes, if enough people request it they will have to make it the norm.

Use reusable food wraps. Beeswax wraps are not just the current trend but they are also saving millions of plastic bags from entering the landfill. Three weeks ago I looked up how to make mine own on Pinterest, after about 10 dollars and a quick trip to the craft store I had everything I needed to make my own. They were hit Christmas gifts and will be the gift that keeps giving (or saving). If you don't have time or the will power to make your own you can also buy them at a local store or you can check out one of my favorite brands, "Lily Bee Wrap" a family owned company making their products sustainably.

Carry your own water bottle. Putting plastic water bottles out of business is a crusade that is much easier than it sounds. Making sure you always have a water bottle with you won't just be great for the environment but also great for your wallet. Also while you always have water by your side you will find yourself more hydrated, more energized and making healthier eating decisions. I was once a soda addict but easily dropped the addiction once I started drinking lots of water, I no longer had a thirst for anything else.

Swap the meat and dairy for fruits and vegetables. Did you know one steak takes 7,500 liters of water to produce? Animal agriculture is extremely harmful on our environment and moving to a fully plant based diet is one of the biggest changes a person can make to have a positive impact on the environment. If you think eating a plant based diet is not for you or not something you could do long term, try starting out with having a meatless Monday or just one plant based meal a week can even have a huge impact.

Say no to Fast Fashion! Rather than binge shopping at Forever 21 and H&M go to a local thrift store where more money stays local and you can give clothes a second life. Its the new trend, wearing vintage is on the up. Before you go shopping for clothes make sure you know what you're going to buy and why, this will keep you from buying something that will sit in your closet with the tags still on them (we've all done it).

Use it all up first. We all see cool sustainable products that look so cute but we already have something that works great. If you don't need it don't buy it. Before buying eco friendly products make sure you use up everything you already have. Not feeding into consumerism can be liberating and healthy for us all.

Growing your own food not only tastes better but is much more sustainable. Growing all of your own food is not possible for just about all of us but most of us can easily start a windowsill garden, grow our own herbs or even find a small patch of land in the yard or park strip to grow some of our own food. Growing you own food makes you much more grateful for it and helps ensure that it was grown in a healthy manner without harmful chemicals. If you look on Pinterest or Instagram you can find awesome ways to start a garden out of veggies scraps.

Making your own food is a rewarding labor. Eating out creates lots of waste and uses lots of unnecessary energy. Making your own breakfast, lunch and dinner helps you monitor what you are putting into your body, connects you with your food, kickstarts your digestive system before eating and ultimately reduces the carbon impact of each meal you eat. You can even try making your own condiments, pasta sauce, salsa and hummus. Its fun, sustainable and much more enjoyable knowing you made it yourself.

We are all on our own journey to living a healthier and more sustainable life but as we continue to work together to make the world a happier place we can start buy looking at the small things that we do on a daily basis that will create a positive long lasting effect on the earth. We don't need to nor should we go out and buy all the sustainable, zero waste products offered but we should audit how we are living our lives and make the necessary changes to create a more sustainable lifestyle.

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