Please raise your hand if you’ve ever made a News Years Resolution.
Now put them down.
Now how many of you felt personally victimized by your News Years Resolution?
Haha, so maybe that quote didn’t really work out the way I thought it would, but you get the gist – New Years resolutions suckkkk. No one ever keeps them and they are always cliche and un-motivating. Find me one person who managed to keep their New Years resolution, and I will eat my socks.
Up until this year, I never made a single resolution because my perspective was that if I really wanted to change something about myself, I’d do it right away. Why wait till January 1st to do it.
This resolution was different though, because it didn’t have anything to do with me (directly, anyway). It had to do with the environment. My New Years resolution was to change 5 things about my lifestyle to become much more environmentally conscious and reduce the amount of waste I produce.
In my Why I Stopped Eating Meat post, I talk about how agriculture directly affects climate change and what we can do to combat that. I’m following up on that with other small changes I have made around my household and day to day, to live a sustainable, eco friendly lifestyle.
5 Ways to an Eco Friendly Lifestyle
1. Buy a Compost Bin
A compost bin took AGES for me to get, and I was seriously bugging Adam about it every single day. In Toronto the condo board is supposed to supply compost bins. I guess they gave it to our landlord, who never offered it to us when we moved in. So instead I made Adam part with some of our Amazon gift card money so I could buy ourselves a lovely little bin.
I am so happy that we got it, because it is immediate and direct how much of a difference you are making. All those scraps of food that get thrown out add up so quickly. It takes three seconds to open the compost bin and chuck it in there. We live in an apartment so we have a separate chute for compost, but all houses should be supplied with a green bin from the city. I highly recommend looking into buying one of these as your first step to reducing waste!
2. Use a Reusable Coffee Mug
This tip is nothing fancy or new, but the difference being that I actually made a concerted effort every day to use the mug. Starbucksgives you $0.10 off your drink if you bring one, so I found myself going there more often.
I recently questioned both Tim Hortons & McDonalds if they accept reusable mugs, and they said they do! Unfortunately no discount at those locations, and you have to sacrifice your McDonalds free coffee stickers. In my opinion that $2.50 free coffee you might get after 7 drinks is easy to sacrifice if it means reducing SEVEN coffee cups. SEVEN.
3. Biodegradable and Eco-Friendly Cat Litter
We probably don’t stop to think about how much cat litter gets thrown out every week, but if your cat pees as much as mine does, it’s a hell of a lot. We switched our cat litter to one that was made with walnut shells, is 100% natural and eco friendly, and biodegradable.
I also called the city and searched around the internet to see if we could compost cat litter. Believe it or not – you can! And if you have a dog and not a cat, there are eco-friendly biodegradable poop bags that you can buy online or in any pet store.
4. Reusable Shopping Bags and Containers
This is one that I have been preaching for as long as I’ve gone grocery shopping. I use reusable bags every single weekend to buy my groceries, and containers to pack everything in. I think i’ve used 5 Ziploc bags since the beginning of the year. I know people will argue that they use their grocery bags for their garbage, but lets be a LITTLE realistic here. I see couples getting an average of 4 bags of groceries, and double bagging them all. That’s EIGHT bags. Two people do not go through 8 bags of garbage in a week.
Another tip is to minimize the use of the small clear produce bags. There is no need to bag bananas, avocados, oranges, or basically anything that has an un-edible peel. And it’s not like those bananas are going to roll away if they’re not bagged up. When I shop, everything just sits in the basket, and only the wet/leafy produce gets bagged.
5. Bike & Walk instead of Drive
With the rise of Uber and car sharing companies, more people are choosing for the convenient and cost effective drive option, over public transit or walking.
My biggest piece of advice – get a bike. In Toronto you can get pretty much anywhere faster on a bike than you can in a car. It cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions and also makes you a fitter and healthier person. Another added benefit is the money you will save; last year I saved over $1,100 on bus passes (not even including Uber rides) by taking my bike EVERYWHERE.
While implementing this changes, I became a bit obsessed with every aspect of living an eco friendly lifestyle. I’ve slowly realized that I can’t change the world, nor can I easily reduce my waste even close to 70%. But I can make a difference, and by sharing this post with you guys, I hope that you too take something from it too.
What About You?!
- Do you ever think about how much waste we produce?
- Are you a composter?
- What changes have you made to live an eco friendly lifestyle?
- Ever kept a New Years resolution? (But seriously, dont lie).
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