What is “Sustainability”?

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Sustainability

May 11, 2020

The word “Sustainability” has been said quite a bit lately, but not everyone knows what it means! The definition of sustainability, according to www.dictionary.com:

Sustainability:

noun

the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed.

Environmental Science. the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance: The committee is developing sustainability standards for products that use energy.

When people say they are living sustainably, a low waste lifestyle, or even zero waste, they are basically doing what they can to reduce, reuse, and recycle. They practice living in a way that they only buy what they need. They shop smart, and from reliable stores and they reuse as much as they can before it goes to “waste” or needs to be composted or recycled.

I’m glad this is a thing.

A habit people can often fall into (including myself), when becoming sustainable or wanting to reduce your overall waste, we think we have to go out and buy new things to start. I did this, well kinda.

When I decided I wanted to be more mindful of what I use, I went and bought quite a bit at once, but in my defense, all of those things I use or have used. Could I have gone without some of the products I bought? Yeah, probably, but I have them, now, so I’m going to use them!

Zero Waste Living

Zero waste living is definitely an all or nothing way to live. No one is perfect at it. People make mistakes but it’s really cool to see how much effort people are willing to put into it in order to have zero waste.

If you don’t know what zero waste living is, it’s quite literally have as little waste as possible.

I feel like I’m still quite surface level with a lot of the zero waste and sustainable living. I do what I can, but I also have a lot of room for growth, too. Living sustainably can mean much more than purchasing a reusable product.

It’s a preference, what you’re priorities are, and where you’re at on this journey, but it can go far past just buying something in a glass jar, but where each ingredient came from, how much it took to have that ingredient, and if that product is even worth it since the ingredients may take lots of water or excess use. There’s a Youtuber I follow, her name is Sedona Christina (on Youtube, but she goes by Christie!) She is the one who kinda brought that to my attention while watching her videos. She is soooo full of knowledge and lives zero waste, so I highly recommend giving her a follow and hearing all of her knowledge about zero waste living!

All we can do is try.

I’d much rather have you make an effort to reduce waste, than to never try because you won’t do it perfectly. It’s hard not to feel guilty when you have moments where you “fail” at it. I felt that way a lot, and I still do! For me, it’s most difficult to live plastic free when it comes to food packaging. That’s my biggest flaw, but all I can do is try. My husband and I always bring reusable bags and our cotton produce bags when we go grocery shopping, so we can at least cut out unnecessary plastic that way.

Steps to take when you want to be more sustainable.

  • First and foremost, use up the rest of whatever you have before switching to a more reusable option. Yep. So that skincare product or toothpaste, or shampoo bottle you have, use the rest of the product! No sense in wasting the product just to begin a less wasteful path!
  • A good rule of thumb when it comes to how much and what kind of waste you produce is by looking in your trash! I learned that from Lauren Singer (Founder of Package Free Shop). It makes sense, though!
  • Be easy on yourself. It’ll take some getting used to. It definitely doesn’t happen over night and it shouldn’t! Don’t stress, just do what you can.
  • If you’re a girl, I’m pretty sure I can say we all have extra bags lying around. No need to go out and buy reusable bags, just use the ones you have! I really liked the Thirty-One brand bad — the large utility tote. It’s durable and has a metal bar on the top (inside the fabric) so there was structure, and it carried quite a few groceries! So if anything, just use a tote you have at the house.
  • If you do need to buy reusable bags, try to find them from a company you trust. I understand things can get expensive, and you’ll want to buy things straight from Amazon, but there are smaller businesses out there, creating eco-friendly, organic cotton bags for maybe a little more money. AND when you buy from them, you’re supporting smaller businesses and helping them stay open so they can continue to provide quality products that aren’t being greenwashed (basically false advertising products to make it seem like they are natural or organic, but really they are made of plastic, have a bamboo print wrapped around it and aren’t eco-friendly whatsoever).
  • Make simple switches, and get used to the new habit. Then start switching out more when you’re ready!
  • It is possible to be zero waste with a family. I know it sounds crazy, but it is. It’s not impossible. Bea Johnson is one of the OG zero waste people. She’s been doing this for YEARS and she has a family. Her instagram name is @zerowastehome. You should totally check her out.

Did that help?

Well, there ya have it friends! A little explanation about sustainability and some easy ways to start making some switches! I have more blog posts coming about sustainability, so stick around! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think, what switches you’ve made or what you plan to switch out first! I’d love to read it.

Until next time!
xx

Madi

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