I’m not sure if living in Kelowna has turned me into a sustainability and tree-loving hippie, or if I’ve just recently become more self-aware of my impact on the environment. Either way, over the past few years I’ve made small changes to my lifestyle that have helped to reduce my carbon footprint. It may seem intimidating or challenging to live more sustainably, but it’s actually very easy and some things you may not even realize you’re already doing!
1) Use reusable grocery bags and don’t use plastic produce bags for fruit and vegetables
From the age of 16 or 17, we’ve always used reusable grocery bags in our home. When I moved out and lived on my own, it was only common sense for me to continue using them. This is such a small and easy way to make a real difference in the amount of waste that goes into the landfill. Also, stop using those small plastic produce bags to put your fruits and vegetables in! Just throw them into your cart or basket! You’re going to wash them anyways when you get home, so why are you putting them in a wasteful bag? If you buy a lot of produce, you can buy reusable produce bags to keep everything together.
2) Reduce your meat consumption
Did you know that if more of the world’s population shifts toward plant-based diets and reduces their meat consumption, it can significantly boost the planet’s ability to fight climate change? Emissions from land use practices such as agriculture – cause nearly a quarter of human induced greenhouse emissions. There are some great documentaries on Netflix about the benefits of plant-based diets, and Ahmed and I have actually challenged ourselves to eat vegan for two weeks to see how we feel. I believe that I can easily eliminate meat from my diet, but even if you have a few vegetarian meals a week, you can make a difference.
3) Shop at second-hand clothing stores and donate old clothes
There are some really great second-hand clothing stores in Kelowna like Frock and Fellow where you can get designer clothes for a fraction of the original price! Each season, go through your closet and donate the clothes that you don’t wear anymore. I have two full bags sitting in my room right now that I need to donate, and I bet if I went through my closet again I could find more. We live in a very materialistic society that has created a lifestyle of excess. With online shopping, it’s so easy to buy clothes that you don’t need, and end up collecting a closet full of items you never wear. When you buy second-hand or support local businesses, you’re lowering your environmental impact and living more sustainably.
4) Bring a reusable cup when you buy coffee
Although coffee chains have made the move to eliminate plastic straws, it doesn’t make a big difference when you’re still buying a non-compostable cup. If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you can reduce your footprint by using a reusable cup. Also, try to support local coffee shops whenever you can! Buying from local businesses puts money back into your community and helps to stimulate your economy. It’s also better for the planet!
5) Change single-use products in your home to sustainable products
There are a lot of single-use products in your home that you can easily switch out to its sustainable counterpart. For example, we used to use A LOT of cling wrap for wrapping up leftovers. We switched to using reusable beeswax wraps instead and it’s been really great. We use them to wrap up leftover produce as well. Another example for females is eliminating pads and tampons! I switched to the Diva Cup this year and I’ll never go back to disposable products! It’s so much easier, more comfortable, and more affordable. I was hesitant to make the switch for so long, but I’m so glad that I did. If you’re on the fence about it, I highly recommend it.
Living a more sustainable life doesn’t have to be a dramatic lifestyle change. There are simple changes that you can make in your daily life that make a difference. It doesn’t have to be expensive either! In the long run, living more sustainability will actually save you money.
Stay tuned for next week’s post, I’m going to share the vegan recipes that I’ve been eating and loving!
That’s all for now.