Markus Spiske @markusspiske

It’s hard to browse the web, watch TV, or read a magazine these days without reading or hearing about climate change. That’s due in part to the fact that the problem is worsening.

The good news is that this increased coverage has led to consumer demand for more sustainable and eco-friendly products. This, in turn, has driven exciting changes in how goods are manufactured and even in our everyday consumption of those goods. It’s easier than ever to live a sustainable lifestyle. Let’s take a closer look!

Experiment with Your Meals

Thanks to Meatless Monday, more and more of us are now eschewing meat-and-potatoes meals, and instead of making delicious foods that are vegetable-centric. Growing vegetables uses many fewer resources than raising animals for meat.

Can’t give up meat entirely? That’s OK. Lower your “footprint” by adopting an approach of “less meat, but better meat.” Buy only pasture-raised cuts of beef, pork, or chicken. Use animal products sparingly, but thoughtfully. One good way to do this without feeling deprived is to cook more international cuisine. Many stir-fries, noodle- and rice-based dishes, soups, and other meals from Asia, for example, go light on meat without sacrificing flavor.

Another great idea is to treat meat as a condiment or flavoring, rather than as the main event. This also helps make your meat budget stretch further.

Stop Using Single-Use Plastic

Recycling is all well and good, but it’s even smarter to ditch as many single-use plastics as possible. A few to consider banishing from your home include:

  • Plates, cups, and cutlery
  • Water bottles
  • Straws and coffee stirrers
  • Diapers
  • Plastic wrap and baggies

Look for reusable alternatives to these — glass food storage containers, fabric vegetable bags, titanium straws — whenever possible. Steer clear of products that have excessive wrapping or packaging, like a bulk pack of toilet paper rolls that are individually wrapped.

Make Your Purchases Investments

This can be a tough switch to make, but it’s worth it. Stop buying cheap items that have a short lifespan. Instead of getting a discount set of pots and pans that will only last a few years, invest in a high-quality set with a lifetime warranty. It’s more expensive up front, but down the line, it will save you not just money, but time and energy. The same goes for appliances, furniture, bedding, clothing — basically anything that could fall apart or wear out.

Note that we didn’t say “break” or “stop working.” That’s because learning to repair items is another frugal skill that is also sustainable. Instead of throwing the item away and starting the cycle all over again, you can fix the items you have, save yourself the money, and keep that much refuse out of a landfill. Not handy yourself? Look into low-cost repair clinics, which are cropping up all over the country.

Help Your House Help You

Most of these changes are fairly small. However, don’t count out the potential impact of major investments and alterations. Consider downsizing your home if you don’t need all that space. Get rid of your family’s second car unless two cars are absolutely necessary. Or switch your electricity to solar power, which is easy to do by searching online for “solar providers near me.”

A Sustainable Lifestyle Can Be Yours!

No matter where you live or what your day-to-day life looks like, there are steps you can take to lower your carbon footprint. Many of these sustainable lifestyle actions will also help save you money!

We’ve love to hear about your favorite tips for living a sustainable lifestyle, so let us know in the comments below!