Top 10 Eco-Conscious Habits We’re Obsessed With
We get it: Sustainability is hard. There are so many recommendations of things you should or shouldn’t do to be sustainable, and it can be overwhelming to read about large-scale problems like #ClimateChange. Most lists of eco-friendly tips can be out of sync with how you live your life, which doesn’t help either.
We suggest you keep it simple to start. After all, the first part of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is Reduce for a reason! This one step will have you thinking about how to repurpose things you own, reducing waste. The eco-friendly tips below are more inventive ways for you to live more sustainably.
1. Rent Your Wardrobe.
For the fashion-savvy environmentalist, there are sustainable clothing choices that will keep you looking and feeling good. Clothing rental services allow you to choose on-trend styles and access expensive clothing brands without breaking the bank. Rent The Runway is a classic choice, but the market for clothing rental services has expanded massively in recent years, so now you have lots of choices in where to rent your clothes.
Thrift hauls are huge on social media platforms because it’s true, there are so many gems to be found while thrifting. Some of our team’s favorite thrift finds include home decor and designer purses. Don’t be afraid to check out thrift shops when traveling, too; sometimes the most unique finds come from the most random locations.
3. Keep reusable bags on hand.
Tote bags have tons of personality (and by the way, you can find cute ones for just a few bucks at most thrift shops). Our top tips for tote bags are to always keep one in your car so that you never get to a store and realize you left them at home. Another tip? Aim for tote bags with woven handles—they’re less likely to warp and hurt your hands.
4. Use reusable cups and cutlery.
Recently, our office conducted a community cleanup, picking up litter in the public areas around our building. Disposable cups, cutlery, and takeout containers were the biggest contributors to litter. Think about it this way: Every time you reuse something, that’s one less object headed to a landfill. You’ll find a reusable cup on every desk at The Colibri Collective. In addition to reducing waste, they also are better at keeping our drinks hot or cold than disposable cups.
5. Reuse takeout containers and plastic bags.
There are endless creative ways to reuse things that you might view as disposable. Even giving a plastic object one more purpose extends its use. We like to wash and reuse plastic takeout containers, which is especially helpful for sending home leftovers from a dinner party. Plastic bags can be reused as liners for small trash cans. Look at what you throw away most often and start thinking about how you can reduce waste by reusing them.
5. Shop local, seasonal produce.
When you shop locally, it’s more likely that you’re buying what’s in season, so often buying local produce and buying seasonal produce go hand in hand. Ultimately, when you shop local and seasonal, you’re reducing your impact on the environment because you’re reducing the emissions produced by transporting food around the world.
7. Research your personal care brands & products.
Does that cleanser you’re using contain microplastics that are harmful when they go down the drain? Could your makeup routine include more eco-friendly packaging? Everything from soap to deodorant has a sustainable company putting in the work to put environmentally-friendly products in your home. Take a look at some alternatives next time you run out of something.
8. Bike or use public transit to get to work.
It’s no surprise that biking instead of driving is better for the environment, but did you know how much better it is? Driving a car puts 192 grams of CO2 into the atmosphere for every kilometer you drive. By contrast, biking releases only 21 grams of CO2 per kilometer. That’s one tenth the impact on the environment!
Busses are in between the two in terms of how much CO2 they release, but the benefit of using public transit is that that amount of CO2 ferries more people to their destination than a single-rider car.
9. Purchase carbon offsets for air travel.
A “carbon offset” is basically paying for measures to counteract the impact of a CO2-generating activity. Air travel is a massive producer of carbon offsets; the flight industry is responsible for 5% of global warming. In fact, a flight from San Francisco to London produces twice as much CO2 as a family car produces in a year. When you purchase a carbon offset, you’re paying for things like forest protection and clean energy. And these carbon offsets are rarely expensive. See for yourself by calculating the carbon impact of your next flight here.
10. Don’t spray pesticides.
As our latest podcast guest Nika Forte’ says, pesticides are the number one threat to the pollinator population, bees in particular. Weeds may be annoying, but the extinction of the top pollinator who keeps our environment going is worse. Next time you find yourself reaching for pesticides, research some alternative methods instead.
Bonus Tip #11: Use what you already have.
A lot of tips listed above suggest switching to wonderful eco-friendly products. But ultimately, the most important thing is to start with what you already have. For example, instead of buying a travel set of cutlery, wrap up a set from your kitchen in a linen napkin. Finish your hand soap or mascara before you buy a more eco-friendly version. And make sure you avoid wasting food.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how you can make an impact on the environment, check out our latest podcast with Nika Forte’, owner of Baehive. And remember: Together, we can make an impact on our environment with the daily decisions we make.