In my quest to live more sustainably, I have created a list of things to do to create less waste. To start off, for most of my life – I had never cared about the environment. I know that sounds messed up but I didn’t. It wasn’t until I moved to Cambridge, MA that I realized how reliant I was on plastic bags. In case you’re not aware, Cambridge has banned plastic bags from all stores and encourages everyone to use reusable bags. I was unaware of this when I moved which left me frustrated when a store didn’t have one.
Of course, my frustration was built around the convenience of using plastic bags. The environment was the last thing on my mind. After a while, this basically led me to educate myself on plastic usage, and I began to realize how much I was contributing to toxic waste as well as all the toxins I was putting in my body.
I don’t know about you but I want to reduce my chances of getting cancer. I’d also love to decrease my contribution to pollution. In order to make this impact, it has to start at home. I’m going to list 4 things you can start doing now to create less waste and why they will benefit you. Let’s stop living comfortably and start living smart.
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4 Steps to Sustainable Living
1. Use reusable bags
Say no to plastic bags. When going shopping, bring a reusable bag with you. Plastic bags are made from products that are non renewable. And because of that it’s not biodegradable (won’t break down) which then causes them to release harmful chemicals in the air. There are also many reasons why it’s worth stopping the usage such as the fact that they carry many toxins and they are a threat to animal life.
2. Use reusable water bottles
Ditch the water bottles and always carry a reusable bottle with you. Believe it or not, drinking water from these plastic bottles is about the same as drinking tap water if not worse. Why’s that? well although the water has been purified, it actually contains numerous chemicals from the plastic alone. Researchers call it “glorified tap water”.
One study found that there were 38 pollutants in water bottles from 10 major brands. Fact of the matter is, the purity of water bottles cannot be tested because brands are not required to disclose them.. only the water sources are. In that case, you’re better off using a water filter to purify your tap water than buying water bottles for the sake of convenience.
3. DIY your makeup or buy nontoxic makeup
Depending on your daily use of makeup, you could diy your own makeup with nontoxic products or purchase vegan makeup. There are many articles online on how to DIY your own makeup, and also not all vegan makeup are super expensive. I have found a natural makeup brand whose prices are quite reasonable.
Now I’ve never been a big makeup so it’s not hard for me to get rid of them. But for those of you who are still buying drugstore makeup, I’d advise you to stop using them. I get it, it’s cheap. I was attracted to that too. But in the long run, it’s harmful to you, the animals they’re tested on, and the environment.
4. DIY Cleaning products
Cleaning products contain so many dangerous chemicals. I can’t count the amount of times my eyes and throat were irritated due to the harmful fumes I breathed from a cleaning product. Here are some general cleaning product ingredients and what they can do to you:
- ammonia (lung + skin irritant +can cause blindness)
- perchloroethylene ( can cause liver + kidney damage)
- sodium hydroxide ( can cause blindness, liver and kidney damage)
- sulfuric acid (skin irritant + can cause burns).
There are many other ingredients I didn’t list but my point is that it’s harmful to you and contributes to environmental toxic waste. Say you’re using these products once or twice a week – it will seriously damage your nervous + respiratory system in the long run. The alternative? An all natural cleaning product that you can make yourself. To make a basic cleaning solution, all you need is water, vinegar, lemon and baking soda. Seriously…that’s all you NEED.
I hope this was helpful to you in living more naturally and sustainably. I know that for all of our lives, we have trusted the FDA + EPA + the government to make sure what we’re buying and consuming is safe but time and time again they have proven to us that they are more in favor of these corporations than the consumers. We must start looking out for ourselves which will simultaneously help us look out for the environment.