In today\’s world of climate change and diminishing resources many people want to develop a more sustainable lifestyle. At the same time we are faced with an uncertain economic outlook. Can we afford to live with sustainability in mind? One answer to that is that we cannot afford to live unsustainably. Or, at least, we can\’t if we want to leave anything for our grandchildren.
The growing movement for recycling and reusing is nothing new. Our grandparents, who lived through war and depression, would be horrified at the amount of waste that most of us in the 21st century create. To those people, and the pioneers before them, the idea of throwing things out because they had been used only once was simply wrong. We need to return to that mindset, where almost everything we use can be used again and again.
What follows are three ways that can help you make a start on living sustainably. Use your creativity and start thinking about other ways you can reduce your waste, recycle and bring sustainability into your lifestyle. And don\’t forget to share your tips with everyone here at world.edu.
The USA uses 60000 plastic bags every five seconds Most of these will go straight into the landfill. Other countries are using similar amounts. So think about what you can do to reduce that. Re-use the bags when you go back to the market. Recycle the bags as pedal bin liners or pooper scoopers for walking the dog. Charity shops and schools often go through lots of plastic bags. Collect yours together and donate them. Many supermarkets now offer recycling programs, if your local store doesn\’t, ask them to start one. Or you could do what your granny did, buy a decent cloth shopping bag and give up the plastic bags altogether.
Selecting goods with less packaging in the first place is a good start. However there will still be some packaging that you can recycle at home. For example aluminum food trays make good drip catchers for your pot plants. Egg cartons, plastic bottles, tetra-pak cartons and toilet paper tubes can be recycled as seedling pots. Paint pots can be cleaned out, have holes drilled in the bottom and used as planters for your deck or patio. Plastic bottles can be filled with snail bait and put out into the garden so that they keep your pets safe. Cardboard and paper can composted or soaked and used as weed mat or mulch around your gardens.
Buying quality clothes is more sustainable than repeatedly buying the cheaper stuff that needs frequent replacing. If you buy locally made clothes there is less environmental impact due to reduced transportation. If you are lucky enough to live in a country that has strict labor laws, your purchases will be more ethical too. The local clothing is often more accurately designed for your particular climate and activities anyway. If you don\’t have the money up front to buy new quality clothing, check out local charity shops and yard sales. Often you can get a real bargain on some very good gear. If you are thinking of changing your own wardrobe, have a yard sale to let someone else recycle your clothing. It\’s also a good time to recycle some of those books, toys and furniture you no longer need. And you should even make a little extra cash.
So how do you recycle or reuse? Leave a comment and let us know.