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Thinking about the state of our environment can be enough to make your head spin. But don’t let the pit in your stomach stop you from taking action: just like how a single raindrop never feels responsible for the flood, you’d be amazed at the impact you can make with a few simple tweaks.
We’re not asking you to swear off hot showers forever or go zero-waste starting right now. Here are 5 changes that are so easy to make, we promise you’ll barely feel the difference – but mother nature will.
Did you know that tons of cities and countries across the world have already stopped handing out plastic shopping bags? Many others who haven’t yet put a full ban in place are charging a per-bag fee at the cash instead.
You know what that means: we’re experiencing a tote and reusable bag renaissance. From online marketplaces like Etsy to your local handmade store, it’s easy to get yourself a plastic-free shopping bag that’s legitimately stylish. Many reusable bags even fold up into tiny squares so you can carry them with you for spontaneous purchases!
Buying bottled water at the grocery store is insanely cheap. But do you know what’s cheaper? Buying a single reusable water bottle that will last you for years. Plus, no matter how many mountains and streams are pictured on the label, it’s a known fact that tons of bottled water actually comes from the same tap you’ll be using to fill your own bottle!
Just like reusable bags, water bottles are available in tons of sleek, stylish designs and materials (S’well! Hydro Flask! Yeti! Nalgene!). Express yourself, cut down on plastic consumption, and stay hydrated with a reusable bottle.
You might not be able to find them at the pharmacy just yet, but more and more companies are rolling out skincare, haircare, and body products that are totally packaging-free. Instead of buying a plastic shampoo bottle, for example, opt for a shampoo bar that can be stored in a reusable tin.
Keep an eye on this trend: no matter where you are in the world, there’s a strong possibility that either a local shop or e-tailer is already stocking waste-free cosmetics you’ll love.
A few simple cooking hacks will take you far in the kitchen, and cut down on your food waste in a big way. That means less consumption and more yum. Here are a few of our favorites:
– Keep your veggie scraps (skins, peels, tops, etc.) to make delicious homemade soup stock
– Make smoothies with fruits and vegetables that are one or two days past their prime
– Extend the life of your food by storing it in well-sealed glass containers (like mason jars and jam/pasta jars)
– Buy in bulk! Not only will you get a volume discount, but you can usually bring your own containers to bulk shops instead of purchasing smaller quantities in disposable packaging.
Oh, the treasures you’ll find at your local thrift store. Mom jeans, cashmere sweaters, wool coats, denim jackets …
Fashion is one of the most polluting industries on the planet, and buying secondhand is a great way to reduce your dependence on “fast fashion” and overconsumption. That doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to something new now and then, but the thrill of thrifting (and the associated savings!) might just become your new addiction.
If you integrate just one of these eco-friendly tips into your life, you’ll already be making a difference. It’s not about how many changes you can make all at once – it’s about adopting lasting habits that you’ll be able to maintain over time. Slow and steady wins the race!