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If you love the idea of a sustainable lifestyle, you will love these simple tips from the minimalist vegan that we have curated especially for you (with a few anecdotal additions from our side).
One can say that living a healthy lifestyle is easier than a sustainable lifestyle. But if you look closely, it seems like a sustainable and healthy lifestyle are different faces of the same coin. Or just ask around people. If they love a healthy lifestyle, they would love the idea of it being sustainable too.
And that made us think if such is the case then why many people get sweaty hands when it comes to adopting a sustainable approach? Perhaps the answer lies in their fears about moving away from the status quo, their daily comforts (necessities?) of life. Do we have to give up our cars and go free-wheeling on a bike? Do we have to start composting to grow our own food? Line-drying clothes, giving up our modern lives or worse than that – going make-up free for a week!
Well, here’s our lazy person’s guide especially brought to you so that you can save the world, one sustainable act at a time. We really love the 100 tips that minimalist vegan has given us, but we have picked only a few that we can easily implement in our lives. As we progress, we can pick more from the list.
1. Save Electricity Now
Open up your blinds, rise and shine. And why not! When the world out there is bright, it should be good that you could use as much natural light as possible. And if there is no natural light, make it a habit to turn off lights when not needed.
I keep my clothes in a walk-in closet in a room with no windows. Incidentally, I share this closet and the room with my husband (yes, marriage vows). No natural light around so it’s natural that I will rely on artificial light. To top that, I always have this habit to turn the lights off whenever I leave that room. And even when my husband is around, my hands automatically turn the lights off. This annoys him for a few seconds until I realize and turn it on again for him but I can't help it. That’s the power of habit!
Once you get used to natural light, you will not like the light bulbs and you will notice it and turn it off even if someone else in your family forgets to turn it off.
2. Say no to plastic bags
I simply don’t get it why people use plastic bags at checkout. Instead, you can take your own bags for groceries. Yes, I know you will say what if I forgot my bag? And I know it happens most of the time, so now what do we do? We can just ask the staff at the grocery stores to simply put everything back in the cart. You might get this question when you refuse bags and ask for cart refilling – “Are you sure?” But don’t worry you will get used to it. Once you have taken you cart to your car and put everything in the trunk and have reached home, you can always get your bags or you can keep a big box in your garage to collect everything.
It’s not that difficult, trust me.
3. They sell you plastic bottles, not bottled water
Yes, this is another thing I despise – why do you need bottled water? Why do you have to drink it with hormone-disrupting chemicals along with the water of that plastic bottle? There are great filters available at cheaper rates that can be installed for your whole house, in your tap, in your refrigerator or you can simply get a filter in the jug. I am okay with bottled water if you’re travelling, especially in tropical countries where water-borne diseases are quite prevalent.
But I have made it more of a habit in my family is that whenever we do short trips, we bottle our own water but for very long vacation that goes more than a day’s travel, we get bottled water.
4. Your wash cycle can make an impact on the planet
This is for the real lazy ones. You do not need to wash your clothes or line-dry them frequently if you believe in a sustainable lifestyle. The thought alone can be difficult for a beginner. But believe me, just by washing your clothes as less as possible, you can save the planet.
For example, did you know that the denims you wear don’t need to be washed that often? Unless you live in a humid and polluted locality, you can go on for weeks wearing the same pair of denims. Just make sure that you do not tumble dry but air-dry them inside out. It is but one fabric that gets better with age.
Can we say the same about our pajamas. We love them more than denims but is it okay if we wear the same pair of pajamas for weeks at a time? Turns out if you love PJs and wants to wear them only before going to bed and remove after waking up, a week is not at all a problem.
5. Your system needs a break too
This is easy. Turn the monitor off when you take breaks and turn it off fully in the night. You may also want to consider the phantom energy (energy lost simply due to unused equipment plugged in) of all your appliances as they account for 15% or more of total energy used by these appliances.
6. Do not let plastic straws strangle nature
Do we even need them to drink? If you have not heard about anti straw movement then check this out. A whopping 500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the United States alone. That’s 175 billion a year filtering into landfills (environment) and littering our waterways and oceans. Ask for your drink with no straw at restaurants and use glass or stainless steel straws at home.
7. Use less water and less energy
I was surprised to find out that energy-efficient dishwasher only uses less than 4 gallons of water while hand washing takes 5 times more. But it won’t help if you are obsessed about rinsing your dishes before you load them in the dishwasher. Remember, a dishwasher can take care of bits of food if you have taken care of big stuff scraping them into trash. Just let the dishwasher do its job. It’s cleaner and more water and energy efficient than you think.
8. Dispose off disposable tissues
This is something nostalgic for me - My aunt used to carry this when we were kids and used to lend it to us. This summer she gifted me a couple of handkerchiefs and I suddenly realized this old forgotten habit that is very green. Get some for yourselves and keep clean ones to lend so you can build up new relations and conversations.
So now you know, once you get used to sustainable practices, they will turn into healthy habits benefiting you and the environment. Small actions that if we keep repeating everyday without fail can become the cornerstone of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. What easy and lazy tips do you have for living a sustainable life? Share with us.
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These are the simple things we can do to help save environment.