Sustainability Tips

Sustainable Living Guide

Here are a collection of things that I've switched to this year to start living more sustainbaly.

Sustainable Living Guide

This sustainable living guide is just a combination of ideas to inspire you to start becoming more aware of the things you buy and consume in your everyday lives. There are many little things that you can change in your daily life that will help you start living more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Some of these suggestions may seem pricey, but keep in mind that it’s an one time cost for something you can use over and over again. Here are some of the things that I started to do to ease myself into this way of living.

10 Tips for Sustainable Living

  1. Shop second hand. The best way to reduce your carbon footprint is to shop second hand of course! There are so many things that can be found in a thrift store, consistently checking different stores increase your chances of finding what you’re looking for. 
  2. Switching to Reusable Bags. This seems like a no brainer, but remembering to keep one in your bag when you go out is the hard part. Keeping one that can be compacted in my daily bag as been helpful. There are so many different styles to choose from. Look around your home, you may be able to re-purpose an old tote as your new favourite grocery bag!

    I was able to find two matching brand new reusable bags at our Kerrisdale location!

    Canvas totes are trendy, useful and you can easily find very unique ones at the thrift.

  3. Switching to Reusable Produce Bags. When I first decided to stop using the plastic bags at the grocery store, I just put my produce such as potatoes and onions, straight into a tote bag. I then ran into the issue of what to do with wet produce or small produce like carrots and Brussels sprouts. I found some handmade produce bags at SOS and bought some others in different sizes for my different shopping needs. It makes organizing your shopping when you get home a lot easier and quicker!

    Thrift, make or buy different types of produce bags.

  4. Use Reusable Cotton Rounds. I wear makeup most days of the week. I noticed that I use 2 cotton rounds every time I remove my makeup, that can add up to whopping 14 rounds a week! My sister made these cotton rounds for me out of cotton yarn that was thrifted (DIY post on how to make these coming soon!). I also purchased some from a local store which sells handmade items. The different sizes and shapes are perfect for removing different types of makeup. 
  5. Changing your Shopping Habits. This point is quite vague, but what I mean is once you’re aware of the things you’re buying and how its packaged it really puts things into perspective. Little things like bringing your own container to the store and starting to shop in the bulk section will reduce your plastic use and you might even find a better deal!
  6. Switch to a Reusable Water Bottle and Tumbler Did you know that in Canada, we consume two billion water bottles per year?* I was able to thrift a brand new Nalgene bottle and there are always good quality tumblers that can be found at the thrift! All you really need is one for hot drinks and one for cold! 
  7. Reevaluating Household Staples. This is still something that I am struggling with. My household still uses Tide pods which is great because there is the right amount of detergent being used but Tide uses an excessive amount of plastic packaging. Some alternatives that I have found include: making your own pressed detergent cubes and detergent strips (which are currently an online exclusive). In the near future, I would like my family to stop using dryer sheets and fully transition to using dryer balls instead. Something we have started using are Swedish dish cloths instead of paper towels. They come in lots of different designs and are machine safe and 100% biodegradable!
  8. Reduce your Plastic Use. Every day items such as toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, etc), and cosmetics were the things that I noticed first when monitoring my plastic consumption. I have switched to using a solid shampoo bar which has no packaging at all. I have also stopped purchasing new makeup after I discovered the #panproject on Instagram. It’s quite a simple concept- don’t buy new makeup until you finish your pan, bottle or tube of product. This has really put into perspective how much I over buy and how slowly I use product.

    Don’t be shy to ask for samples if you’re not sure that this type of product is for you!

  9. Pack your own Lunch. I recently received this collapsible lunch box in a subscription box. As a university student, I noticed a huge difference both monetarily and with how much time I save packing my own lunch. Bringing a reusable box around with you is also great for going out to eat at restaurants. If you have left overs you can use your own box so you don’t have to use single use plastic or use one of those paper boxes that get soggy quickly.

    There are lots of different types of sectioned lunch boxes on the market to choose from to fit your dining needs.

  10.  Ditch Plastic Straws. Save those turtles! Switch to a reusable straw. There are so many to choose from and you won’t be limited to what you can or cannot drink. I personally prefer my thin glass straw, they’re clear so you’re able to see if its dirty on the inside. My sister enjoys the ones with a silicone topper since cold drinks can make her teeth sensitive. Did you think you would have to give up those extra thick smoothies or bubble tea? Think again! There are straws made just for those types of drinks, mine happens to be a gorgeous duo chrome pattern. 
  11. Bonus: Biodegradable Tea Bags. Over the years I’ve transitioned from drinking copious amounts of coffee to drinking a healthy amount of tea everyday. I find that if I am in a rush, I tend to just buy a cup of tea since the ones I have at home are loose leaf. Once I started filling my own tea bags, I’ve been able to save money and time. I found teabags that are biodegradable so I know I won’t be ingesting any micro plastic from my drink and I am able to control how strong I want my beverage to be. They can be found at David’sTea or online (I purchased mine at Nikaido in Steveston). Some teabags that are prepackaged use a synthetic tea sachet which are not compostable and can release micro plastics when heated.

Those are some of the things that I started doing this year after realizing how much plastic I consumed in my daily life. Making these small changes one at a time makes this journey less overwhelming. I hope this post was interesting and helpful, lets all change for the better!

Best of luck,

Yammy Alice

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*Interesting article about Canadian plastic bottles consumption: https://www.readersdigest.ca/culture/niagara-now-plastic-bottles/