5 tips for being more sustainable

You’ve likely heard the term “sustainable” about a million times in the past few years, but what in the heck does it mean? The most widely accepted definition is that “sustainability is the concept of meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The good news is that it’s easy to take steps that will turn you from a resource-guzzling biped to an informed, conscientious, and planet-friendly creature.

As this article points out, for many people, sustainability starts with food. Paying attention to where your food comes from, eating more locally, and eschewing fast food chains in favor of independent restaurants are all ways that you can start to be more sustainable.

Here are a few simple changes—from how you commute to what you eat for dinner—that can make a big difference.

  • Get a better buzz. When you need that caffeine fix, choose fair trade and locally grown coffee and tea. And, free yourself from the shackles of disposable cups by bringing your own cup or stainless steel thermal mug.
  • Dress for less. Consider consignment or gently-used clothing and furniture instead of buying brand new stuff. Our blog pal over at Righteous [re[]Style has oodles of great ideas from buying on eBay to decking yourself out in vintage duds from Eastern Market.
  • Buy local. Did you know that most food travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your table? That’s a long haul that uses up tons of energy and contributes to pollution. Plus, local food generally uses less packaging, is fresher and tastier, and comes in more varieties. You can find locally grown food at area farmer’s markets or through community supported agriculture (CSA) in your area.
  • See the light. Talk about a bright idea. Replace all the bulbs in your home with energy-saving compact florescent lightbulbs. The bulbs, which can replace incandescent, halogen and other electric lights around your house, use between 60% and 80% less energy than their incandescent counterparts. Plus, they typically last between 6,000 and 15,000 hours, compared to 1,000 hours or so for incandescent bulbs.
  • Get trashed. You know you’re supposed to recycle plastic and paper, but sometimes even with the best of intentions, those items find their way into the regular trash bin, don’t they? Make it a no-brainer to do the right thing by outfitting your kitchen and office with a stylish and functional recycling trash masher.

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