Beginning eco-friendly living can be daunting, and if you aren’t careful you can actually end up doing more harm than good.
When I began researching ways to reduce my environmental impact I came across a lot of information that turned out to be not so legitimate, but through trial and error I found ways to be sustainable that worked for me.
These are some common mistakes that I’ve seen with low impact living, as well as tips that can make it easier for you to start living with less waste!
Don’t: Buy Unnecessary Reusables
It can be tempting to go out and buy bamboo cutlery, metal straws, and tons of reusable bags when you’re trying to be sustainable but you should first use what you already have. This might mean that your home won’t look like the ideal image of green living at first, but its less wasteful.
Another way to avoid buying unnecessary reusables is to clean out old jars and repurpose them instead of buying new fancy containers. Again, I know its not the most glamorous option but it saves money and you’ll keep those used containers from going to waste.
When the products you have eventually need to be replaced, you can begin to buy environmentally conscious swaps made by responsible brands.
Do: Set Goals
Setting goals can make it easier to keep track of your progress, and help create an outline for how you plan to incorporate eco-friendly practices into your routines.
Everyone’s goals may look a little different depending on their current habits, but some small changes you can try to make are:
- Having 3 meatless meals a week
- Shopping locally 2 times a month
- Buying some of your clothes second-hand
If you expect to make immediate changes you might be disappointed when it takes longer than you anticipated to reach your goals, so make sure to choose targets that are reasonable for you.
Don’t: Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself
With all of the environmental social media trends going around, its easy to compare your progress to someone else’s. You might feel like you aren’t doing enough just because your life doesn’t look like the “perfect” ones we see online.
Try to remind yourself that regardless of how fast or slow your progress is, you’re making a difference no matter what! No one can convert to a fully sustainable life overnight, and not everyone has the same resources available to them.
Do: Research Before You Start
Sometimes products or practices that you assume are eco-friendly can really do more harm than good. That’s why its important to do your research before buying new items to start your lifestyle.
When I switched to using a reusable bag I found out a few weeks later that the cotton tote I had picked will take about 7000 uses to have a beneficial impact compared to plastic bags. I know my reusable bag will still reduce plastic waste, but I wish I had researched a better alternative before buying.
Just like any other controversial topic, there’s always going to be people telling you completely different things. This can sometimes become overwhelming, but in the end what matters most is that you’re getting information from a credible source and using your best judgement to make your own decisions.
Don’t: Throw Out Single-Use Items
When you decide to start living sustainably your initial reaction may be to get rid of all the plastic and single-use items in your home, however this is actually counterproductive.
Part of being sustainable means creating less waste, so you should try to finish using the products you have before buying eco-friendly swaps. If you want to get rid of things quickly you could also ask friends and family if they having any use for your items.
There’s no definitive way to practice eco-friendly living and everyone’s progress will look a little different. I hope these tips help you avoid making some of the mistakes I did when I was starting out, and encourage you to make small changes to your current habits. Thanks for reading, have a lovely day!