Sustainable living? You know it’s a good thing, but what exactly does it mean and where to start? We know this is one of those phrases that feels a bit catch-all, possibly even overwhelming. So here’s the deal, in its most basic form, sustainable living is really all about simplifying. That’s it, simplifying to reduce the use of resources, both your own personal resources and the earth’s. Ultimately, the idea is that your life becomes just a little more manageable while making your personal impact on this amazing earth just a little less noticeable.
Where to start? Wherever you want. If turning off the lights when you leave a room is easiest, go for it (think, save energy, save money). Growing veggies and herbs, have at it. Find a starting point that works for you and build from there. Check out these sustainable living ideas and resources to help get you started or to help you broaden your scope if you are already on the sustainability path. No matter what you do, the earth’s natural resources will thank you.
REDUCE HOUSEHOLD ENERGY
- Get Appliance Smart
- Appliances are still using energy when switched into their “standby” mode. Unplugging them when not in use ensures that they are not using energy at all when not in use.
- Look for the stars in energy efficient appliances.
- Look at Your Lights
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room and install dimmers where possible to reduce the energy used by lights that remain on more often.
- Replace your lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs), or halogen incandescents.
- Install a “smart thermostat” that will automatically reduce heating or cooling during the hours when you are asleep or away
- Use less hot water by turning down the thermostat on your hot water heater and choosing cold water for your laundry cycles.
- Weatherize your home through energy efficient windows or by sealing up any cracks in the walls, vents, windows, and doorframes that allow for air leaks. Providing insulation to your home in areas such as attics, crawlspaces, and basements can also cut down on added energy being used to regulate your home’s temperature.Control Your Temperature
REDUCE HOUSEHOLD WATER USAGE
- Cut it Short
- Instead of letting the faucet run, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and scrubbing your hands.
- Commit to shorter showers, and place a bucket under the shower to catch the cold water while you wait for it to warm up… this can water be used to flush your toilet!
- Multi-Use Water
- Find multiple ways to use one source of water; like using that leftover boiled (and cooled) pasta water to water your plants, or to catch running water that falls from your shower head while waiting for it to warm up, and using it to flush your toilet.
- Outdoor Consumption
- Reduce the size of your lawn to a xeriscape option that features unique rocks and succulents.
- When washing a bike or patio furniture, place them over the grass so your lawn can absorb the run-off.
REDUCE YOUR SHOPPING FOOTPRINT
- Bring Your Own Bags
- Reusable bags can be used in the produce and bulk departments, as well as in the check-out lanes.
Pro Tip: Fill a reusable bag with reusable items such as a cup or bottle, straws, a cloth napkin, and more reusable bags.
- Bring Your Own Glass Jars
- Glass jars are great for filling up on bulk items like flours, beans, candies, and freshly ground nut butters. Always ask a cashier to weigh your empty jars prior to filling, so they know how much the pre-filled tare weight is.
Pro-Tip: Create even less waste by by writing the tare weight directly on each jar with a sharpie, and by taking a photo of the PLU number for each item instead of writing them down on a twist tie or sticker.
- Skip the Prepping Shortcuts
- Reduce unnecessary plastic packaging by purchasing fruit and vegetables whole and chopping them up yourself when you get home.
Pro Tip: Odds and ends of produce are great for salads, pestos, and slaws.
- Watch Your Paper Trail
- Just say no to paper receipts and keep your grocery list on your cell phone through the Lucky’s Rewards app, digital notes, text, or email.
Pro Tip: The Rewards program allows you to view your receipt digitally via the app.