Sustainability is much more than a buzzword. It’s an approach to life that helps reduce the use of Earth’s natural resources and counteracts climate change.

It can be overwhelming to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, but every little change counts. Experts from have some easy tips to get you started.

Conserve Water

Water conservation is the process of reducing and avoiding waste. Water conservation is also a means to preserve the way of life and ensure that future generations will have access to water.

Only 3% of the water on Earth is fresh and usable. Many species rely on good quality water to survive, and overuse of the water supply threatens those animals and plants that help keep our ecosystem balanced.

Water conservation is not only good for the environment, but it also saves you energy. The process of treating the water we use in our homes requires a lot of energy, so consuming less water will reduce that demand and lower emissions from power plants.

You should also conserve water if your area is prone to water shortages and droughts. Even in places where there is plenty of water, if it is wasted or used excessively, the resources will quickly be depleted. Even though we pay a lot for our water we should treat it like a precious resource and not waste it. After all, replacing it is not cheap.

Eat Local

Growing numbers of people are focusing on local foods by choosing those that are grown or produced near where they live. Local foods are more environmentally friendly than those shipped from farther afield. They travel shorter distances thereby using less energy and creating less pollution. Eating locally also supports the local economy, and fosters a community.

For some, “eating local” means eating within 150 miles of your home, while for others, the standard is more loosely defined. Regardless of the precise definition, there are many ways to support eating local:

Shop at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Many of these establishments have labels or signs that identify their source, making it easier to make sustainable choices. Ask about the farm’s methods of production, if it uses pesticides or herbicides, growth hormones or any animal-based fertilisers.

Consider joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) program or other community-supported agricultural venture, such as a neighborhood food co-op. These organizations bring the farmer directly to you and eliminate the need for a retailer intermediary.

If you have a backyard, try growing your own vegetables and fruits, which is great for physical health and the environment. If not, look for community gardens and food-related projects in your area that help urban dwellers get closer to the land.

Reduce Waste

It is important to reduce waste in order to live sustainably. By reducing waste, we can save energy and preserve natural resources. Less waste also means that fewer hazardous materials are used and that landfill space is conserved. The best way to reduce waste is to prevent it from being created in the first place, which is known as “source reduction.” This includes avoiding single-use items such as plastic straws and paper plates, and purchasing reusable goods like metal cutlery, resealable food containers and cloth napkins.

When purchasing products, try to buy items in bulk and in large economy-sized packaging. This will reduce waste and save energy from packaging that’s thrown away after each use. Many grocery stores will also give discounts to customers who use their own reusable bags and bottles.

Another way to reduce waste is to compost at home. Composting yard waste and food scraps will reduce the amount of garbage going to landfills, while also adding nutrients to your garden. It is easy to start a compost bin with a 5 gallon pail from your local hardware store and some newspaper and fresh soil.

You can reduce your meat consumption and avoid contributing to the massive water use, pollution, or greenhouse gas emissions that are associated with animal farming. In addition, over 40 percent of edible food is wasted each day, which further contributes to environmental degradation. Preventing food waste is simple with careful planning and shopping, using leftovers, and storing foods properly.

Buy Recycled Products

Buying recycled products is one of the best ways to reduce waste and support sustainable production practices. Many companies produce products with recycled material and have labels that show the percentage of recycled material used to make the item. By making a conscious choice to buy recycled products, you can help save our environment and improve the quality of life for future generations.

Purchasing products with recycled content also helps to create markets for recycling materials. In order to increase demand, manufacturers will produce more products using recycled materials. This will also allow them to keep their prices competitive. Producing new products using recycled materials requires significantly less energy, air and water than manufacturing them from virgin materials.

Look for products made with recycled content. They can be made using post-consumer material that has been collected by office/curbside recycling or a mixture of post-consumer and prior-consumer materials. Consider buying zero waste products online, who use recycled packaging with carbon neutral shipping.

You can also find recycled products at local stores and shops that are environmentally friendly. Whole Foods Markets and Trader Joe’s, for example, package their products with recycled paper and sell reusable grocery bags that can be used again and again. The Green Store also has a large selection of recycled products and is a good resource for finding green living products in the Bay Area.

Reduce Carbon Emissions

Reduce your carbon footprint if you want to live sustainably. Carbon dioxide and other carbon emissions are major contributors to global warming and climate change. By changing your daily routine, you can reduce your carbon impact.

Buying local foods instead of food that has to be shipped all over the globe reduces greenhouse gas emission and supports your local economy. Also, try to avoid eating animal products like meat and dairy as they have a bigger impact on the planet than plant-based foods.

You can also reduce your carbon footprint by using less energy in your home. Install water-efficient toilets, showerheads and dishwashers to reduce your household water consumption, or switch to solar power. Also, invest in a rainwater harvesting system to collect and reuse rainwater.

Choose low-impact transport options to reduce your carbon footprint. You can reduce your emissions by carpooling, taking public transport or making shorter trips.

When shopping, look for shade-grown coffee, which keeps forest habitat intact for migratory birds and other wildlife, and choose fair trade products, which support businesses that prioritize sustainable production and pay their laborers a decent wage. Also, choose organic produce whenever possible to limit the amount of harmful pesticides that end up in your environment, food and water supply.

It’s estimated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Composting can be a great way to reduce food waste. If you can’t do this, then make sure to organize your fridge regularly and write grocery lists before you head to the store.

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