Living sustainably will help restore our planet to health and create improved lives for everyone. The good news is, living sustainably isn’t hard to do; all it takes are small, conscious choices on a daily basis. It can also save you money in the long run. Here are some eco-friendly ideas for your home and family.
When you shop, look for products with minimal packaging. Excess packaging not only uses up resources, it takes a financial toll in the form of recycling or landfill costs, which are passed on to consumers and residents. Tip: When grocery shopping, don’t bother putting loose produce in separate plastic bags; after all, you’ll wash or peel everything before eating it anyway.
The transportation sector, including large trucks and private vehicles, accounts for about one-quarter of greenhouse gas emission in Canada. Those emissions contribute to climate change. We can all help by buying local products whenever possible, which also supports area businesses and helps nurture our connections with our community.
Water is abundant in Canada, so we forget it is still a limited resource. Try taking shorter showers, teach your children to turn off the tap when brushing their teeth, and wait till you have a full load before running your washing machine and dishwasher. Tip: Try washing most of your clothes in cold water. It won’t reduce water usage, but it will help lessen the energy it takes to heat the water while shrinking your utility bill.
When buying clothes and footwear, keep your eye open for fashionable items with recycled content. For example, the Canadian clothing company Call It Spring has announced its stylish collection will soon be fully sustainable and 100% vegan. The company even recycles old mattresses by transforming them into shoe insoles. How’s that for Canadian innovation?
Giving milk bags a second life
The days of refillable milk bottles delivered to our door are over, but that doesn’t mean milk bags can’t be reused as well. Give them a quick wash and rinse, set them aside to dry for a few hours, and they can be used for everything from storing leftovers to packing lunches and even saving flower and vegetable seeds for planting next year.
A sustainable home office
Living sustainably means making your home office as eco-friendly as possible. A laptop computer not only uses less energy than a desktop, it also takes up less space. Tempted to print everything related to your business life “just in case”? Try reducing your paper and energy use by saving important documents on a USB stick. And when it comes to paper, look for products with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification; they come from responsibly managed forests.
Washing windows? Hot water, a bit of vinegar and a drop of dish detergent does just as good a job as store-bought glass cleaner. When cleaning sinks, bathtubs and many other household surfaces, try all-natural baking soda. Dampen the surface, sprinkle a little baking soda on your wet cleaning cloth, scrub and rinse. In the shower, try a shampoo bar, available at drug stores. You’ll like the results, and it means no bulky containers clogging up the recycling system and landfills. More green cleaning products here.