Sustainable Hygge-lism; Level I
Zero waste is an achievement that I sometimes imagine as a far off dream that is nearly unattainable. This is not, in fact, the case. A simple search of Zero waste on Google or YouTube, makes this clear as day. What it also makes clear is that attaining a zero waste lifestyle is not something that can be done overnight. It is something to be worked towards slowly, baby steps. One small change followed by another small change, then another, then another, taking the time to let each change settle in before adopting the next.
We do not live a zero waste lifestyle…as of yet. On the path to a zero waste lifestyle though, you walk the path of sustainability.
We do live a sustainable lifestyle…but we could do more. One small step at a time.
Minimalism, Hygge and Sustainability are all siblings, as you get to know one you automatically get to know the makings of the others. Reducing waste and our carbon footprint is a key point of minimalism and automatically leads to a more sustainable, intentional lifestyle. Whether you no longer want everything to come wrapped in plastic, or you no longer want to be throwing out straws, napkins, coffee filters and paper towels only to turn around and buy some more. Minimal lifestyle changes are sustainable changes, and zero waste changes are the most sustainable changes that you could possibly achieve.
I encourage everyone to venture into the world of sustainability with even the smallest changes, here are some beginner level changes that are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle:
–Trade plastic shopping bags for cloth reusable ones.
We have gotten to the point in our society where plastic shopping bags are nearly a thing of the past. Everyone is becoming aware of the massive negative impact of plastic on our world. Cloth grocery and produce bags are available almost everywhere, and there are even highly compact reusable bags that can be carried virtually everywhere so that you will never be caught off guard or unprepared.
–Stop using plastic straws
This too has begun to draw worldwide attention. Alternatives such as paper, metal and glass straws are readily available and small enough to carry along with you wherever you go. In lieu of carrying around a straw alternative, you could always just NOT use one. I struggle to come up with a situation where a straw would be a necessity.
–Get a reusable water bottle, preferably not a plastic one.
Reusable water bottles are wildly popular, and that is fantastic. Unfortunately, lots of times they are still plastic bottles. Research has started to uncover the health hazards associated with using plastic over and over. As well as the negative impact of plastic as a whole as I mentioned before. So when shopping for a reusable water bottle, be sure to explore glass and metal options.
–Transition to glass Tupperware.
Don’t throw away plastic items that you own, unless they are no longer useful. Waste happens when an item is purchased, so throwing something out prior to it becoming no longer useful just doubles the waste. Tupperware is a great example of this, if you have plastic tupperware that is just fine, then keep using it. Once it becomes no longer useful though, recycle it and if you replace it, then do it with glass.
I shouldn’t even have to mention this, if you are not recycling at this point then I don’t even know what to say. Recycle everything that you can. Compost everything that you can.
–Buy a bamboo toothbrush, next time.
Anything that you can do to reduce your use of plastic products is a good thing. Toothbrushes are replaced fairly often, so the next time you need a new one look into a bamboo one. Bamboo is highly sustainable.
–Adjust your commute.
If possible, look into riding a train or a bicycle to work rather than driving a car, or at least try and organize a carpool. Forego the elevator and take the stairs. Small changes like these will help you reduce your carbon footprint.
–Take pride in your clothing.
A minimal wardrobe is a great way to reduce waste by investing in higher quality clothing items made with sustainable materials, and not falling for the fast fashion trends that dominate social media and trendy magazines. Pay attention to how often you wash your clothes, and try and use a clothesline to dry them rather than a dryer. There are plenty of laundry soaps that are much more environmentally friendly as well such as “Soap Nuts”. I also have this post about a hygge-list wardrobe.
We often take paper for granted. 90% of the paper that comes into your life is discarded without even a second thought. Recycle all the paper you can, and then try and go paperless wherever you can. Also read “Cutting the Paper Clutter” for lots of useful tips and tricks.
Incorporating even just a couple of these simple changes can make a world of difference, let’s call this Level 1 of sustainability. Be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on more tips as we flirt with a zero waste lifestyle.