Living a sustainable lifestyle isn’t as difficult as you may think. Gone are the days of hemp kaftans and tree-hugging; now, there are smart, simple changes we can all be making to reduce our impact.
What defines a sustainable lifestyle?
A sustainable lifestyle is one that lessens our individual impacts on the Earth’s resources. At the Sustainable Lifestyle Awards (SLAs), we want to celebrate the best designers, products, and media that support this way of life. From wooden-framed bikes to corn-starch sneakers, we’re looking for innovations that promote style and substance, without sacrifice.
How can I be more sustainable in my life?
If this is your first brush with the world of sustainability, we’re excited to highlight some of the easiest ways you can live more sustainably without too much effort. Here’s our list of ideas that will enable you to live a little more eco easily:
1. Eat more whole foods and shop seasonably
Staying in touch with nature’s seasons will help you to purchase the best quality whole foods when they’re more abundant and highest in nutrition - think fruit, vegetables, nuts and herbs. While supermarkets have their uses, shopping from local markets and greengrocers will make this even easier, and you’ll also be supporting your local community.
2. Support sustainable brands
Show you support for sustainable businesses by shopping with them over mainstream alternatives, and share your experiences on social media to spread the word. Sustainable platforms such as Reve En Vert, Gather & See, and The Keep Boutique are great places to get started.
3. Look for cruelty-free cosmetics
No-one likes to think their makeup has been tested on animals. To avoid this dilemma, look for the Leaping Bunny mark, as well as international variations, which show products have been independently verified.
4. Switch to renewable electricity
5. Scatter textiles across your home to save on heating
Heating (and conversely, air conditioning) can be one of the biggest energy-wasters in our homes. Alongside insulating your home, try scattering blankets and cushions around, which you can snuggle up in when the temperature drops.
6. Take more local holidays
Everybody loves a holiday, so why not ditch the airport and go local? You’ll reduce your annual carbon emissions by up to a third, and you may stumble across a beautiful holiday spot you can return to again and again.
7. Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable
Another incredibly easy swap is batteries: instead of heading to the shop every few weeks, use up the last of your disposables, recycle them safely, and then invest in rechargeable ones. They’re more convenient, and they pay for themselves after only a few charges.
8. Give pre-loved clothes to take-back schemes
If you love to ‘Marie Kondo’ your closet, make sure to give your unwanted clothes to charity or a high street take-back scheme. You’ll feel lighter, and someone else will benefit from your kind generosity. Check out Recycle Now to find your nearest clothing and textiles recycling organisations.
9. Invest in good quality homewares
With planned obsolescence on the rise, it can be frustrating to find homewares break and need replacing every few years. Instead, look for brands that provide long-term (or even lifetime) guarantees. The investment is better for you, and for the environment.
10. Carry a reusable coffee cup
If you like to commute with a cuppa, it’s well worth getting a reusable cup. Disposable cups are not yet recyclable - even the paper ones - so your simple swap will reduce a lot of waste creation. Rachel Fortune, the SLAs Founder, swears by her collapsible Stojo cup!
11. Reduce your shower by a few minutes
The average Briton uses 150 litres of fresh water every day - and most of that is through our ablutions. Try reducing your shower time by a few minutes to drastically change this.
12. Walk or cycle on short journeys
If you’re not quite ready to invest in an electric car, use the next best thing: your legs! A walk or cycle can reduce your carbon emissions, and also help you to reconnect to nature if you live in a rural or green area.
13. Store leftover food in jars
When it comes to food waste, there’s nothing better than a glass jar. Store leftover food in jars in the fridge or freezer - frozen chopped brown bananas make for great smoothies, and meals will stretch just that little bit further.
14. Bring a bag with you when grocery shopping
We all know this by now: circumvent the 5p bag charge and plastic waste by bringing a tote bag to the shop.
15. Purchase verified vintage items
If second-hand fashion doesn’t already appeal, what about verified vintage pieces? Platforms like Cudoni or Vestiaire Collective provide genuine vintage high fashion, and business is booming.
16. Offset your unavoidable carbon emissions
When you do have to fly, drive, or heat your home, think about offsetting your emissions. You can make a donation to a charity, or purchase carbon offsetting credits.
17. Start using natural home cleaning products
Some home cleaning products contain industrial-grade chemicals, which are unnecessary in the average home. Switch to vinegar or harmless acid-based products, or go for eco alternatives like Bio-D, Ecover, or Method.
18. Switch to organic cotton period products
19. Reduce the amount of meat in your diet
You’ve probably heard of Meatfree Mondays, and the flexitarian diet by now. Both promote a more sustainable approach to food, as meat takes a lot of energy and creates a lot of emissions to rear. Reducing your intake is great for your health, and the planet.
20. Rent fashion for special occasions
21. Use tech to do the research for you