3 Easy, Affordable Sustainable Living Ideas

3 Easy, Affordable Sustainable Living Ideas

Maybe it’s because I live in the Bay Area, but I don’t know anyone who isn’t concerned about the environment. Between climate change and our dwindling natural resources, it’s frightening to think what kind of world we’re handing over to our children. 

 But it doesn’t have to be this way. That’s why I’ve partnered with Organic BasicsLow Impact Project to help show how easy sustainable living can be with just a few key lifestyle changes. Here are three ways I’m helping my family live more sustainbably:

 I Broke Up With Forever 21

I love a good fast fashion find as much as the next stylista, but those inexpensive pieces have a hidden cost that reaches far beyond your wallet. From water pollution to textile waste, the negative environmental impact of what is essentially throwaway clothing isn’t worth the three times I’ll feel cute wearing that $20 top.

Instead, I’m now focusing my fashion budget on better quality pieces that are made by companies who either use sustainable manufacturing processes or recycled textiles. At first, the price tags were a big deterrent for me. I’m the kind of girl who likes a lot of variety in her wardrobe, and I didn’t think I could afford to style myself up and also be sustainable. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a mom, it’s that good-quality, versatile products that last will be the ones I reach for again and again because they’re just easier. And the math stacks up too.

Between my own clumsiness and James’ insistence on using the hem of my top as an on-the-go napkin, I was going through one or two $15-20 white tees every year because they simply don’t launder well. They would either shrink, the side seam would twist to the front, or they would get tiny holes in the fabric a few inches above the hem. When I did the math, I realized that one more expensive tee – like the organic cotton one from Organic Basics I’m wearing above – actually ended up being cheaper in the long run because that one tee would last me for at least five years.

I’ve also found I can make my tees last even longer by always washing them in garment bags in cold water and air drying them when possible. Bonus: the cotton on these tees doesn’t seem to wrinkle as much, so which makes ironing unnecessary.

If you decide to follow suit and invest in better, sustainable basics, use promo code FRESHOB2 at the Organic Basics checkout. It gets you 10% off until August 18!

I’ve Found An Affordable Plastic Bag Alternative

I’ve washed and reused my Ziploc bags for as long as I can remember, and I cringe whenever I have to throw one away. But I was hesitant to invest in reusable silicone bags because they’re so expensive. That changed once I started cooking using sous vide. I hated the idea that hazardous chemicals could potentially leech into our food from our plastic bags, and I also couldn’t re-use the ones I’d cooked in. So I did a little research and found these. I love that they’re flat on the bottom so they will stand when filled with liquid, which makes them perfect for freezing soups and sauces. They also fold right back up, so they don’t take up any extra room James’ lunchbox or the pot when I’m cooking. And at about $24 for 4, they’re a fraction of the price of most other brands.

I cracked down on food waste

According to the UN, food loss and waste accounts for 3.3 gigatons of carbon emissions. (1 gigaton = 1 billion tons!) To put that into perspective, if food loss and waste were its own country, it would be the world’s third-biggest greenhouse gas polluter, right behind the US and China.

Fortunately, we can help tackle this problem in our own homes by being more mindful about what food we buy, how much, and how we use it. Here are 6 ways we’ve cut down on food waste in our home:

  • I try to go grocery shopping just once a week. Otherwise, I get sucked into buying more than we need.

  • I do meal prep on that shopping day. We’re more apt to eat what’s quick and easy.

  • I don’t buy perishables in bulk unless it’s something I can freeze.

  • I set an alert on my phone to either freeze or repurpose our leftovers every three days.

  • I save soup bones and use them to make broth. If I don’t have time to do it that day, I freeze them.

  • I’ve made a rule for myself that I don’t go out for lunch if there’s something I can eat at home.

  • I go through my pantry every 6 months and donate any unopened staples that are about to expire.

As a result of these efforts, our grocery bills our lower, we eat healthier, and I’ve become a more creative in the kitchen. It’s a win-win!

Are you working to be more sustainable in your home? Tell me about it in the comments! Whether it’s carpooling to work or cutting out plastic, I’d love to hear about your experience!  

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