“The only Green product is the one that is not produced”-Julia Corbett
Lately, I have been trying to break myself. Break myself of all my idiosyncrasies that are making me an unsustainable person. Being a consumerist comes naturally to us after having been raised by the television. We are bombarded by advertisements that are telling us to buy more, spend more. Living in sustainability housing has made me reconsider my relationship to the environment. As a result, I have been making rules for myself to try and limit the impact that I make on this earth. Our culture values consuming, we do it to satisfy our needs but also our desires. But in the end most of what we consume ends up in the trash which is creating an even bigger problem. Breaking this habit is increasingly hard, but I have found it is possible.
Here is a list of rules that I try and abide by to make my footprint smaller. Some days are harder than others such as when I forget to bring enough reusable bags to the grocery store and end up juggling ten items. I’m trying these out not just for the time being while I live in sustainability housing, but as lifestyle changes.
Rule #1- No plastic bags! There have been multiple times when I am at Walmart or the grocery store and I think “One bag won’t hurt,” but I stop myself. If I don’t have a reusable bag with me I carry everything out and at times I am swearing like a sailor as I carry a jubilee of items out of the store in my arms. Now my automatic response is, “I don’t need a bag, thank you”. It helps to keep a few bags in my car, and in our house we keep a ton under the sink for everyone to grab before they go out.
Rule #2- No plastic bottles! – I refuse to buy plastic bottles anymore. Not only is the water in them most likely from the tap anyways (that’s right the tap), but it is also important to reduce the amount of plastic we are using. I always carry my reusable water bottle and mug around with me. I’ve also found that they hold more so now I have twice the amount of room for coffee! For those who do not like the taste of Rindge tinge investing in a Brita will save you money and is an Eco-friendly solution compared to buying plastic bottles every week.
Rule #3- Practice safe energy, pull out! – Even when a light, toaster or television is turned off, but plugged in it is still using energy. Pulling out the plug when you are no longer using the item is something that will save energy and money. My sister and I found that when we did this, our electricity bill was only $25 a month! This is a simple action that everyone can do. Also, investing in a smart strip is another easy solution to this. Plug everything into the strip and when you are done with those items simply flip the switch on the strip and voila!
Rule #4- Save water for the fish take a shorter shower!– I have found that you can get just as clean in a five minute shower as you can in a 10 minute shower. Most of the time we are in there we are spacing out anyways. By cutting your shower time in half you are saving a large amount of water. There is only so much water left on this planet and we need to use it sparingly! Another idea is to shut off the water when you are brushing your teeth or in between when you are soaping your hair or putting conditioner in.
And Rule #5-Limit the amount of stuff– When I look around my room I instantly am overcome by guilt. Multiple pairs of shoes, a closet overflowing with clothes, a desk filled with knick-knacks and office supplies etc. I get the urge to buy something as soon as I see it. This same “stuff” yearn for will end up in a landfill. I’m trying to put a stop to my buying of things I want instead of what I need. It is hard to separate those two things sometimes, but by limiting the amount of the stuff we buy is decreasing the demand for the items. By decreasing the demand it means fewer materials have to be extracted from the earth. There is only a finite supply of aluminum, water and metals left on this planet! That is not to say I am a minimalist, but I am trying to break myself of this habit because in all honesty I do not need half of this stuff!
There are days when I have to remind myself to turn off the light before I leave the room or I curse myself for forgetting my reusable water bottle, but overall, I’ve found this lifestyle convenient, money-saving and satisfying. These little things can make a big difference.
Peace. Love. Recycle
Sustainability Housing Lakeview #2