December 3, 2021
Yara Bakker

Going green: 8 habits for a sustainable lifestyle (pt. 2)

The takeaway message of David Attenborough’s newest Netflix documentary A Life on Our Planet is clear as day: we need to start living more sustainably, or else the wildlife of our planet will perish (and mankind along with it). But how do you translate this grand objective into feasible daily habits? To help you on your way, we will discuss four cheap and easy ways to start living a greener lifestyle.

Last week, we shared our first four tips on how to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. However, there are even more things that you can do to be a bit kinder to our planet! This week, we will discuss the following topics:

5. Use eco-friendly cleaning products
6. Reduce your waste
7. Opt for a sustainable mode of transportation
8. Vote consciously

5 Use eco-friendly cleaning products

Many cleaning products contain harmful ingredients and are sold in plastic containers. However, there exist several brands that require you to buy a container only once, which you can later refill by mixing tablets or concentrated liquids with regular tap water (such as SophieGreen). You could also use an empty container that you have laying around to save some extra money. There exist refill packages for dish soap, washing detergents, kitchen cleaner, you name it! An additional benefit of this practice is that your groceries will be much easier to carry from now on.

If you have a bit more time on your hands, you can also choose to make your own cleaning products from scratch. The girls from the Zero Waste Project share many simple recipes for home-made cleaning products in their book. It’s cheap and fun!

A third option is ceasing to use certain products altogether. For example, you can refrain from using fabric softer with every wash by using wool dryer balls that will soften your laundry naturally

TIP: In case you happen to be a fan of DIY, there are also many beauty products that you can save some money on by using what you have already stored in your kitchen cabinets. Just Google the product you need followed by ‘recipe’.

6 Reduce your waste

A simple way to save money is by getting more value out of what you already have. Limiting your waste is one of the easiest ways to live more sustainably, and you might even perceive its mention in this list as somewhat superfluous. However, mankind still produces tremendous amounts of waste on a daily basis. For example, the average family throws almost half of their food in the bin.

Start saving your scraps in your fridge using small containers to enjoy at a later time. Or, in case you don’t want to eat them in the near future, store them in your freezer. As a general rule of thumb, food stays tasty in your freezer for up until three months. You can also use leftover ingredients in a creative way, such as by making soup from vegetable scraps.

Getting rid of your waste properly is another aspect that requires attention. Separating your waste is an easy thing to do, but it has a big impact on our planet. The better you sort your waste, the more materials can be reused or recycled. Check out the information on the website of your local government, or use our service to get rid of your unwanted items.

7 Opt for a sustainable mode of transportation

Transportation is usually harmful for the environment. The only fully sustainable modes of transportation are walking and cycling. However, it would be a bit extreme to consider it a sin to enjoy travelling. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the negative environmental impact of your trip.

Two traditional solutions are making use of public transport and carpooling with acquaintances. However, there are some other innovative concepts on the market. Blablacar, for instance, enables you to share your ride with fellow travellers while splitting the costs.

Flying will ultimately remain the most harmful mode of transportation, but sometimes there is no alternative. In that case, you can compensate your flights for just a few euros. It will not completely reverse the negative consequences of your flight, but every bit helps!

8 Vote consciously

Yes, politics can be boring sometimes. But our vote is one of the most direct sources of influence that we have on the world around us and we might as well make good use of that.  Even though we will all suffer from the deterioration of the environment (left- and right-oriented thinkers alike), political parties have different notions of what it means to live sustainably and the degree to which they think that the matter is their responsibility.

David Attenborough emphasized the importance of political involvement in his speech at the World Trade Organization about the issue of overfishing, stating that large-scale international regulations might be our only hope. The future of our planet is in our hands, so vote according to your beliefs to make sure that your voice will be heard.

Besides voting for a political party that cares about the environment, you can also sign petitions and write letters to government officials to express your concerns. Lastly, you could also join a social movement that stands up for the environment.