Have you ever come across the term “sustainable“? Maybe you were watching a YouTube video and your favorite vlogger mentioned they were doing a zero-waste challenge to be more sustainable. Or perhaps you were going grocery shopping and the eggs you picked up had a label that said “ from sustainably raised chickens.” According to the Oxford dictionary, sustainable is an adjective referring to the ability of something to be maintained at a certain rate, or the ability of something to be upheld. With the growing concern over climate change and the health of our planet, it is no surprise that people all around the world have committed to consuming more sustainably. But in the world of consumerism, how can a culture obsessed with following trends ever be sustainable? The answer lies in our lifestyle choices as individual consumers.
If you were looking for a sign to start a more eco-conscious lifestyle, then here are 5 simple ways that you can start being a more sustainable consumer.
- Avoid private transportation
One small but effective method is to use forms of transportation that lessen carbon footprint. This could mean taking public transport as much as possible or using a bike or an electric car. It could also include taking an economy seat instead of a business class ticket on international trips.
- Thrift clothes and furniture from second hand stores
Another popular form of sustainable consumption is thrifting and secondhand shopping. While the term thrifting is most popularly associated with clothing, it can also include furniture and home decor pieces. Not only does thrifting ensure that the clothes and furniture you can buy are unique, the fact that they are in good condition also speaks to the longevity of the product. These added bonuses make secondhand shopping more appealing aside from its benefit of sustainability. It is no surprise that according to CNBC, thrifting rates in the United States have actually risen by 15% in 2021.
- Know how eco-friendly your purchases are
But what if there’s a certain item that a person wants or needs to buy brand new? It could be because of the aesthetic value of the item, or because the company selling the product is known for its quality, or maybe finding a specific size secondhand. In these situations, it may seem impossible to find an eco-friendly alternative but worry not! Websites and applications like Good On You and Good Guide are helpful tools that can be used to see the sustainability and ethicality of the production processes of various companies. Good On You has both a website and an app that rates apparel companies on their labor standards and environmental consciousness, while Good Guide is an app that has a database of food, personal care, and cleaning products that are rated 1 to 10 on how good they are for the environment.
- Support environmentally responsible companies
A similar option would be to support companies that have positive environmental impact as a core value. The company appcycle, inc. for instance, produces vegan apple leather from apple waste called RINGO-TEX, thus making it an extremely viable option when looking for leather products that do not negatively affect the environment.
- Consume less overall
Lastly, an overall decrease in one’s consumption, whether it be food, fashion, or private transportation, is a tried and true method to live as sustainably as possible. Of course, this is the most difficult of all of these options and takes a great deal of time, energy, and mental strength to choose. It is important to note that not everyone can commit to an extremely minimal lifestyle, especially considering the wide variety of jobs, environments, and cultures that exist.
Thankfully, the methods listed above are not the only ways to minimize individual damage to the environment, but it can hopefully be a source of ideas for readers who wish to shift to a greener lifestyle. Check the websites listed above as well as the other articles on the official appcycle blog and instagram page.