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5 Ways to Level Up & Simplify Sustainable Living on the Daily

These days, we’re surrounded by a growing awareness about our planet and the environmental impact our habits make. If you’re even more clued-in, you might already have an idea of what your sustainable living best self could look like.

Yup—we’re talking about a you that’s simultaneously effortlessly chic and eco-conscious, with a stylish reusable tote bag in tow at every farmer’s market.

But that’s enough about future you. There are plenty of easy changes you can make to level up your sustainability efforts in style right now. We’ve got the tips and tricks that you need to make it easy (and elegant) to be green. 

#1 Ditch Single-Use Plastics

Between the container your lunchtime salad comes in, that bottle encasing your favorite face wash, and the lid from your oat milk latte, it’s easy not to realize how much plastic you use. 

We go through literal tons of plastic every year (380 million, to be exact) and half of that plastic is only used once.1

By choosing non-plastic options, you can help to reduce the plastic waste that ends up in our oceans, keep our water cleaner, and support the health of sea animals and marine life.

If you’re looking to build a sustainable life by cutting down on the amount of single-use plastic waste that you create, start by thinking about the occasions where you’re using disposable plastic. 

Then, try to opt for a planet-friendly swap made out of natural resources instead:

  • For a coffee break – Bring your own travel mug to coffee shops rather than taking a disposable one each time.
  • When quenching your thirst – Invest in a stylish reusable water bottle instead of buying a prepackaged bottled water when you’re out.
  • When planning a trip – Instead of packing your toiletries and cosmetics into a single-use plastic bag, store them in a sleek and stylish makeup bag or an all-purpose Dopp kit. These options are more earth-friendly than your average plastic bag, and you’ll look way more polished when you get to your destination.
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#2 Make a Few Plant-Based Swaps

One major contributor to your carbon footprint? Your diet. Producing enough food to feed the planet can often come with a hefty carbon price tag.

In total, food production is the root cause of a quarter of the world’s emissions,2 with the production of meat and dairy products alone producing 14.5% of emissions. 

In good news for you and our planet, living a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to go vegan or even vegetarian to make smart choices that are easier on the planet. A simple way to practice responsible consumption and disposal of food without changing your diet at all is by establishing a compost bin for food waste. If you’re interested in making your diet more eco-friendly, consider making some simple, tasty swaps:

  • Love a good burger? We do too—a plant-based one, that is. Next time the craving strikes, opt for a veggie burger or a burger made out of plant-based meat. If you’re adventurous in the kitchen, you can also make your own delicious options with ingredients like black beans and mushrooms.
  • Dairy milk is so last year. Next time you order your morning cold brew, try pairing it with a plant-based milk like oat milk, almond milk, or soy milk.
  • Look for plant-powered protein on your next grocery run. While tofu can be incredibly tasty, it’s far from your only option. Mix it up with chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, or nuts.
  • Eat locally and in season. The transportation of food around the globe is a major contributor to the food industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. Check out your local farmer’s market for delicious, in-season inspiration. Don’t forget to bring a reusable tote bag along as a stylish, sustainable practice for carrying all your new veggies home.
  • Take small steps. Making your diet more planet-friendly doesn’t have to happen overnight. Start focusing on your sustainable lifestyle by adding in small, realistic swaps like no-meat Mondays or opting for plant protein over red meat at lunch. Doing so can help make switching to a sustainable diet more—well, sustainable

#3 Slow Down on Fast Fashion

Next time you find yourself scrolling during an especially boring Zoom meeting (we’ve all been there), take a second to think about your fashion habits. 

Much of the clothing we call “fast fashion” is made with lower-quality materials or designed around flash-in-the-pan trends. That means they don’t usually have much staying power and can end up in the donation bin or the garbage pile after just a few months. It’s no wonder, then, that the average American produces 82 pounds of textile waste each year.3

Just like with plant-based eating, shopping sustainable fashion brands doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Think of it as a way to elevate your style game.

Next time you’re longing for some retail therapy, try some of the following sustainable solutions:

  • Stay thrifty – Try hunting for clothes in thrift stores or consignment shops. Aside from helping to divert clothes from landfills, you might also score a one-of-a-kind vintage find.
  • Set up a swap – If you’ve got great taste, we’re betting your friends do too. Organize a clothing swap with your besties and shop each others’ closets for a fun and free style refresh.
  • Invest in longer-lasting pieces – While we all like to buy new pieces each season and keep up with the latest trends, investing in sustainable brands and longer-lasting options instead can help you stretch your money and your eco-friendly efforts. Instead of impulse shopping, take some time to consider your decision. Some questions to consider include what materials a piece is made of, where you’ll wear it, how often you’ll use it, and if it’ll stay stylish season after season. Take our Limited Edition High Line Collection, for example, made from hemp material that is both fashion forward, sleek, and most importantly, built to last. 
  • Plan your purchases – Create a Pinterest board or vision board for visual inspiration, and use it to make a curated list of all of the pieces that you really want. As a bonus, you’ll probably save yourself from a few spontaneous fashion faux pas, like that weird-fitting $12 skirt you bought on a whim.
Woman at farmers market with cotton and mesh eco bags for shopping

#4 Use Sustainable Transportation

Our trips to work, the grocery, or out to dinner can seem inconsequential on a daily basis. However, transportation is one of the biggest ways we can reduce our carbon footprint every time we travel.

How big, you ask? According to the Center for Biological Diversity, transportation counts for about one-third of the total carbon emissions produced in the United States.4 That means a simple switch in how you travel from A to B can help you live more sustainably on the daily.

Of course, your access to sustainable travel and transportation might vary depending on where you live. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the options:

  • If you live close to work, try to walk or bicycle instead of driving. If it’s available near you, you can also use public transport, like trains and buses, to lower your carbon footprint.

  • If you have a long commute and public transport isn’t available, look up carpool options near you. In doing so, you can save on emissions and your gas mileage at the same time.

  • If you travel often by air, consider using airlines that allow you to offset the carbon emissions. Carbon offset programs help you reduce your impact by supporting other environmentally friendly projects, like planting trees or cleaning up our oceans.

  • #5 Change Your Relationship with Water

    When we think about the role water plays in our life, we often think about how much we use. If you’re already turning off that faucet when you brush your pearly whites and limiting your time in the shower, by all means, keep it up. Most Americans use a staggering 82 gallons of water per day, a percentage that contributes to increasing water shortages across the country.5

    But we can also make our water consumption even more sustainable by considering how we use what we use. Here are a few sustainable options that can make your clean water go further:

  • Don’t rinse your dishes. No, seriously—you can totally skip this step. If you have a dishwasher, rinsing your dishes is unnecessary and wastes up to 6 gallons per minute of rinsing.6 Instead, simply scrape those plates and pop them in.

  • Cool it when washing your clothes. We’re referring to the water, of course. Most lightly soiled clothing doesn’t need hot water to become clean in your washing machine. According to Energy Star, using cold or room-temperature water instead can help you save up to 90 percent of the energy required to do your laundry.7 

  • Re-use what you use. If you’re already using water to wash dishes by hand, take a long, luxurious bubble bath, or cook some delicious pasta, don’t toss it immediately after you’re done. Instead, use any leftover H2O for things like watering your plants and refilling your toilet tank (after that water has cooled down, of course). 

  • Young businesswoman standing on a city street with bicycle

    Live Sustainably and Stylishly with BÉIS

    Sustainable living doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re looking for a chic way to show the planet some love and buid environmental awareness through your style, check out BÉIS

    At BÉIS, we love the world we live in as much as we love creating high-quality, beautifully designed pieces for your modern lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for your next farmer’s market tote or a sturdy (and stylish) replacement for disposable plastic bags, BÉIS has what you need to make your next sustainable choice and save the Earth in style.


    Sources:

    1. “Plastic Pollution Facts.” Plastic Oceans International, 21 July 2021, https://plasticoceans.org/the-facts/#:~:text=We%20are%20producing%20over%20380,at%20least%20several%20hundred%20years
    2. Daisy Dunne, Tom Prater and Joe Goodman. “Interactive: What Is the Climate Impact of Eating Meat and Dairy?” Carbon Brief, https://interactive.carbonbrief.org/what-is-the-climate-impact-of-eating-meat-and-dairy/#:~:text=Meat%20and%20dairy%20specifically%20accounts,will%20be%20necessary%2C%20scientists%20say
    3. “Fast Fashion: Its Detrimental Effect on the Environment.” Earth.Org 13 Apr. 2021, https://earth.org/fast-fashions-detrimental-effect-on-the-environment/
    4. “Transportation and Climate Change. The Center for Biological Diversity, https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/climate_law_institute/transportation_and_global_warming/index.html  
    5. “Watersense - Statistics and Facts.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/watersense/statistics-and-facts
    6. Mary H.J. Farrell. “Don't Bother Pre-Rinsing Your Dishes Before Putting Them in the Dishwasher.” Consumer Reports, August 24 2016, https://www.consumerreports.org/dishwashers/dont-bother-pre-rinsing-your-dishes/
    7. “Low- to No-Cost Tips for Saving Energy at Home.” Energy Star, https://www.energystar.gov/products/top_10_tips_renters
    8. “New APA Poll Reveals That Americans Are Increasingly Anxious About Climate Change's Impact on Planet.” Psychiatry.org, 21 Oct. 2020, https://psychiatry.org/news-room/news-releases/climate-poll-2020
    9. “How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.” The New York Times, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/guides/year-of-living-better/how-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint
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