5 Badass Sustainable Life Hacks
Deciding to live green is a kind of obsession. What nobody tells you is that it’s also torture. There you are enjoying a night out when you see someone take food home in Styrofoam. Cooking is now dangerous knowing your favorite nonstick pan might cause cancer. You lie awake at night thinking about how millions of cigarette butts are littered worldwide every minute.
What’s a person supposed to do?
First of all, breathe. We’re all in this together. If Earth is to be a suitable home for future generations, we all have a part to play. Doing your best to live sustainably is an ongoing challenge, but by choosing products that reduce waste and knowing a few handy tricks, life gets a little easier.
Let’s talk about 5 badass life hacks for the sustainability enthusiast.
#1 - Save Your Bottles
Glass. It’s the OG use-for-whatever container. Glass bottles are strong, airtight and classy enough to bring utility to any kitchen. Need plant milk? Strain it into a glass bottle. Leftover pasta sauce? Put your fears of orange-stained Tupperware to rest with a glass bottle. Need a cute vase? You got it—glass.
Unlike plastic, glass doesn’t stain or leech chemicals out into your food. It’s easy to wash and it lasts forever. You’ll know you’re obsessed once you have more glass jars than you know what to do with.
#2 – Make Your Own Vegetable Stock
Everybody knows fresh fruits and veggies go bad faster once you’re the one paying for them, but that doesn’t mean they have to go straight to the dumpster.
Freeze kitchen scraps in a freezer bag and boil them later to create delicious soup bases. As far as Mother Earth is concerned, vegetable stock is years ahead of chicken or beef stock. Livestock farming needs lots of space, emits literal tons of CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, and it's truly terrible for the animals. Take the green route.
#3 – Get a Favorite Bottle or Mug
Single-use bottles and coffee cups are two major polluters. While they’re covered in recycling symbols, they rarely make it to an actual recycling plant, adding to the bigger and bigger piles of trash that leech out carcinogenic microplastics. It’s gotta stop.
Why not carry your own reusable bottle and mug? A good bottle can keep you hydrated while making an unmistakable fashion statement that single-use is for suckers. Plus it can double as a hammer, a writing surface and even a headrest when you’re desperate.
#4 – Zap Ziploc Woes
There’s definitely a need for small, airtight bags, but single-use Ziploc bags are not the answer. An obvious way to reduce plastic bag waste is to wash and reuse them, but that isn’t always easy or even possible.
Silicone resealable bags like this are a great solution. Not only are they durable, but they work better than the products you’re used to. Silicone is safe for dishwashers and microwaves, and they can handle thousands of uses. Once you make the switch, you won't go back.
Silicone can also replace wax paper, tin foil and even cupcake liners.
#5 – Ditch Dryer Sheets
Plastic is everywhere, even your laundry. Detergent bottles, dryer sheets, fabric softeners—all plastic. Alternatives are sprouting up—thankfully—but since these are life hacks, let’s try something different.
Nobody likes their clothes sticking together, so what do you do? Why not try dryer balls like these? Buy them unscented and use your favorite essential oils to zero in on your favorite fragrance. Speed up the drying process by tossing in a clean, dry towel.
There are plenty of other ways to make a positive impact short of putting a windmill in your backyard. For example, going meat-free once or twice a week works wonders for CO2 emissions. Using paper tape instead of plastic makes it easy to recycle shipping boxes.
Other ways to make a difference:
- Save energy with LED lights
- Carry dog treats in old pill bottles
- Use shopping totes to get groceries home in fewer trips (and without any bags breaking)
- Melt beeswax onto cloth napkins for waterproof food storage that's nearly 100% airtight
- Buy clothes secondhand and recycle yours when the time comes
- Skip plastic bags in the produce aisle by tossing them right into your cart or tote
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