Continuing with our Dudes against Destruction series, Chris aka, The Sustainable Guy, shares his top 5 tips for living sustainably.
As Zero Waste Week is ongoing, in this piece, I’d like to lay out my favorite tips to achieving a less wasteful lifestyle in addition to unveiling the solutions I’ve adopted to some stubbornly wasteful items.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
1 – Keep it simple
Part of being sustainable is to own and buy less stuff. It’s that simple. Doing that means that you’ll have to analyze your belongings with an eye for simplicity and versatility, so that you can do more with less.
Do I really need 15 different t-shirts, of which I only end up wearing a handful anyway? Or how about that overstuffed kitchen drawer, can I downsize to only have a few all-around items that can accomplish multiple demands? The idea of simplicity even rings true when it comes to sustainable gear… you can only use so many reusable bottles, after all.
To maintain a minimalist lifestyle, a simplicity hack that I abide by is ‘gear-singling’, which is a made up word that means I choose gear that can be used both in my everyday life and for my hobbies, like camping and cycling.
Examples of my gear singling items:
- A bowl/cup (‘Snow Peak Titanium’)
- Steel spork
- A reusable bottle (‘Made Sustained’)
- Reusable bags
- A rechargeable lantern (‘BioLite Powerlight Mini’, which I double as a bike light)
- A metal tin (‘Ecolunchbox’)
All of these items are pictured below, in my waste deterrent kit.
Have a gear-singling tip? Share it with me in the comments!
To keep, or not to keep: If you are unsure whether to give up something, hide it for a month and see if you need or forget about it during that span.
2 – Shop second-hand
This tip goes without saying. Heck, I’ll say it anyway.
There is an overabundance of clothes on the market today; some are kept for the long haul, while others aren’t so lucky. Many of these unlucky clothes hang in the isles of your local second hand store for a bargain. Apart from the low price tag, you give a second or even third life to clothes by going secondhand, which is very green of you.
Let’s face it though, sometimes you just have to buy new. In that case, my favorite green materials are hemp, linen, wool, and organic cotton. Some sustainably minded companies even experiment with recycled PET waste as a basis for clothing, so keep on the lookout for that as well.
The best type of waste, sustainable or not, is the one that is never created to begin with.
3 – Prepare a waste deterrent kit
Custom kits, of any kind, are cool. For the purposes of sustainability, my handy waste deterrent kit is my best sustainable friend.
Let’s say I’m at my favorite local coffee shop for a to go cup of joe – check, got my insulated reusable bottle handy. Or how about when I’m out to eat at a food truck for lunch – here’s my metal tin good sir!
Constructing your kit depends on what you’re up to on a daily basis, so get creative and think gear singling!
4 – Refuse
Sometimes to be green, you just have to say no. No thank you, that is.
No to that free but useless trinket that your work is doling out for the holidays. No to that plastic filled bag of candy that you’ve got your eyes fixated on. No to gifts from family and friends.
I’ll admit, this is the least fun value, and probably the most difficult. It is, however, the most powerful. Saying no sends a clear message to businesses and people alike that you do not agree with their actions. To boot, by saying no, you can use the opportunity to inform about sustainable alternatives. This invites conscious positive change. Just ask my family and friends!
The hardest choices require the strongest wills…
5 – Unplug that charger!
E-waste is waste too, especially when the energy is coming from coal-fired plants – that’s a topic for another day. By leaving an idle charger plugged in, unnecessary amounts of kilowatt hours are being consumed, creating e-waste – each kilowatt hour equals about a pound of CO2 emissions generated. Every charger consumes different amounts of energy, some small, some large. No matter the amount though, it’s waste all the same.
Plug it in, plug it out.
Some challenges and solutions
Where I live, shops that sell food in bulk are increasing at a rapid rate. Beyond food, here are a few of the stubbornly wasteful items I’ve come across, along with the solutions that I’ve adopted:
- Toilet paper – solution: plastic free TP from ‘Who gives a crap’
- Sunscreen – solution: biodegradable ‘Butterbean sunscreen stick’
- Toothbrush – solution: rechargeable ‘Lamazunu toothbrush’
- Dental Floss – solution: ‘Vömel natural silk waxed dental floss’
- Razor – solution: MÜHLE safety razor
- Shaving cream – solution: Aleppo soap, or any high oil soap
My motivation, what’s yours?
Like anything in life, you have to know why you’re doing what you’re doing to keep striving to be better.
I choose to be sustainable because I see it as an opportunity to achieve a simple, positive, and fulfilled life. I also see it as a way to make a positive impact on planet earth and its inhabitants, from nanobes to people, and the like!
Earth is breathtaking, and we’re not so bad either; but it’s all looking like a diamond in the rough right now. Question is, are you a jeweler?
Chris is a simple guy who talks, writes, and designs with sustainability in mind. He loves the great outdoors and the little things in life. Most often, you’ll find him picking up litter, enjoying a nice beer with friends and family, cycling, or camping. Chris does his best to live zero waste, and has been since 2016. His ultimate goal in life is to promote sustainable living and thinking to the people around him and to those across the globe! See more from him at www.thesustainableguy.eu.