1. Reduce your water use. One thing experts say is on the horizon is a potential water shortage. Because in many areas demand outpaces supply, people are being told to use less water everyday. Whether it is taking shorter showers or washing your dishes by hand, cutting back on household water use saves people money and helps the environment as well. This sink and toilet combo takes it one step further by reusing the grey water from the sink to flush the toilet. The City of Vancouver, Canada is improving its water sustainability by challenging its citizen’s to reduce their water consumption by 33%. What other ways could you cut your water use by?
2. Shop smart. Buying new (appliances, that is) can be help household sustainability and your wallet as well with newer models being more energy efficient. Doing some quick research online, consumers can find out which models provide the best savings for their money. Also look at upgrading your furnace and hot water tank, many governments offer rebates for buying energy efficient models.
3. Get growing. Having a garden can provide fruits and vegetables for a fraction of the cost of buying from the local supermarket. And there are many books and articles out there to help beginners to garden sustainably in small areas, in many cases a ¼ acre can provide enough for a family of four for a year. Or help start a community garden and get everyone involved in sustainability.
4. Swap, don’t spend. As any parent of a young child knows, as soon as you buy them a toy, clothes, or shoes, they instantly outgrow them. Instead of buying new, consider swapping them with friends and family who may need them and who may have clothes that will fit. By buying less new clothes, you are not only saving your pocketbook but also the environment. Many clothes are made in factories overseas and the cost to ship them to local stores is astronomical. This can also work for DVD’s, CD’s, books, or almost anything else you can think of.
5. Make it yourself. From salsa to facial scrubs, to bookcases and benches. With some elbow grease and creativity, almost anything can be made at home or repurposed into something new. Got extra peppers and tomatoes in the garden? Make salsas and bruschetta, these can be canned without any added preservatives, giving you a variety of foods year round. Or make your own facial scrubs and foot soaks, there are many different recipes online for these. Perks: they cost much less than the ones bought at the store and because there is no shipping of the finished product their footprint is considerably less, increasing sustainability practices. And if it is well constructed, handmade furniture lasts longer than that made of particle board.
There are many different ways that everyone can work to achieve sustainability. It just takes time, research and a little bit elbow grease.