Four Ways to Increase Sustainability in Every Day Life

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 11:17 AM

Often, our perceptions of ecological and environmental issues makes sustainability seem like an overwhelming burden that can only be solved with large, systemic changes. However, if we look at sustainability from an individual perspective, we can find many ways that sustainable action can be taken in our daily lives. The fact is that little changes by many people make a big difference, even when it may seem like minuscule contributions aren't doing much. Keeping this in mind, here are some ways we can practice sustainability in our daily lives in order to help reverse environmental degradation and resource depletion.

1. Compost



Composting food scrapes is one of the biggest sustainable actions that we can take in the home, and it is an idea that has been growing in popularity for quite some time. You can actually compost quite a lot of things other than fruit and vegetable scraps, such as newspapers and used tea bags. Not only will your garbage be less full (and less stinky!), but according to the US Composting Council, composting can reduce water pollution, and reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides that harm the planet. To get started on your own compost project, you can visit StopWaste.org for ideas and instructions.

2. Reduce Waste


Another step towards personal sustainability is to stop using throwaway products like paper plates, napkins and coffee cups. Invest in some fun cloth napkins, use plastic or regular plates when camping or on picnics, and use a wash cloth in place of paper towels. By replacing these items with reusable ones can save precious natural resources, as well as reducing the amount of garbage in our landfills and dumps. Other ways to reduce in the home include using low flow shower heads and fluorescent light bulbs. This reduces your overall electrical footprint, and saves water. Energy efficient household appliances are also great ways to save money on your electrical bill, while also helping the planet.

3. Use Non-Toxic Cleaners

Have you ever thought about the household cleaner that you buy? It may be great for cleaning the bathtub, but is it toxic? If so, these chemicals may be bad for you and your family, not to mention the earth. Instead, consider making your own cleaning solutions, or even using simple products like baking soda.

Websites like eartheasy.com have many solutions for replacing those harmful toxic cleaners in your home with safer options.



4. Vote!

If you still feel like the only real change will make a difference will have to come from the government or big corporations, then do your part by voting. Read up on the federal government policies regarding sustainability, and critically asses the practices in place. Learn about the voting opportunities for sustainable measures in your local government, as well as federally. Voting with your dollar can also encourage businesses to adopt cleaner, more sustainable practices. This means not shopping at companies that you know are harming the planet, and supporting the ones that are working toward sustainability. Choosing local is always great too, because you know that your products aren't being shipped in from across the globe.



These are only a few actions that we can take in our daily lives towards sustainability. Please consider sharing your own ideas in the comments section, and start a dialog about individual sustainable action today!

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