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December 01, 2021 6 min read

We understand that a lot of people want to be more eco-friendly and be a part of sustainability efforts, but it can be hard to put it into action. From plastics to fossil fuels, we use so many resources every day that cause serious harm to the environment.

You’ve probably heard the phrase sustainable living before, but what does it actually mean?

Sustainable living is a philosophy that aims to reduce societal and personal environmental impact by making positive changes in your life that will counteract climate change and other negative environmental concerns. Sustainable living encourages those who practice it to minimize their use of the planet’s resources and reduce the damage humans cause.

Fortunately, through small changes, everyone can begin to use sustainable resources and live a more sustainable lifestyle. Keep reading to find 8 tips for sustainable living that are easy to achieve and that you can use to begin adopting sustainable habits that will last a lifetime.

1. Start Small with Water

A woman holds a silver water bottle.

The best thing to do is to start small! Try switching from plastic water bottles to reusable ones. According to Habits of Waste, 481.6 billion plastic bottles are used worldwide in a single year. That’s 40 billion per month! So again, just switching from plastic water bottles to a reusable one is a great start.

2. Think Twice Before Shopping

The checkout line at a grocery store. In focus is a woman's hand holding a phone with its screen turned off, about to tap a machine to pay. Out of focus is a worker scanning various fruits.

Every single product we purchase has an impact on the environment and leaves beyond a carbon footprint. This can range anywhere from the materials used to create the product, to the pollution emitted during the manufacturing, and the packaging that ends up in landfills.

Shopping sustainably means you’re consuming services and goods that are considered the most beneficial and efficient options for all systems and species on the planet. Sustainable shopping is classified into three categories: society, environment, and economy. A sustainable shopper will always choose the option that allows the service or product process to continue indefinitely with the least negative impact on all three categories.

So, before you buy, be sure to ask yourself if you need it. If you do, there are ways to make it a little more sustainable. You can buy gently used instead of new and opt for minimal shipping and packaging.

3. Pay Attention to Labels

A woman selects items in the produce section of a supermarket. In her basket are a green bottle, some carrots, a cucumber, a lemon, and other assorted groceries.

From clothing to food, there are so many options to choose from every day, which can be overwhelming. The good news is there are some clear leaders when it comes to minimizing your impact on the planet and its wildlife.

If you’re a coffee drinker, look for the label “shade-grown”, this means the coffee beans are grown while keeping habitats unharmed for migratory birds and other species. There are also Fair-Trade certified goods that support companies dedicated to sustainable production and paying laborers a fair wage.

Please also consider buying organic food when possible. It may cost a little more but it keeps harmful pesticides out of our water and land, protecting wildlife, farmworkers, and your family.

There are so many food labels out there, we understand that it can be overwhelming. Here are some of the more common one’s you’ll see:

BPI Compostable

  • BPI Compostable products can be broken down into usable compost. They break down in a reasonable amount of time in the natural environment.
  • Products are biodegradable and have the added benefit of introducing nutrients back into the soil.

Fair Trade Certified

  • Products with this label come from farms where workers and farmers are properly compensated.

Food Alliance Certified

If a product is food alliance certified then that means it was produced and processed in facilities that aim to meet sustainable standards and responsible food production. This includes:

    • Reducing pesticide use
    • Water and soil conservation
    • Animal welfare
    • Biodiversity and wildlife conservation
    • Fair working conditions

Forest Stewardship Council

  • This label means paper/forest products used are from certified places that harvested responsibly.

Green Seal

  • The product meets rigorous criteria in performance, health, and environmental areas.
  • Certification backs up the manufacturer’s claims.
  • This label helps consumers identify products that are safer for the environment.

Non-GMO Project Verified

  • Products are made without the intentional use if GMOs.
  • Practices are followed to prevent the product being contaminated with GMOs.
  • However, this does not guarantee thagt the product is GMO-free.

Rainforest Alliance Certified

The farm the product was grown meets Sustainable Agriculture Network standards. This includes:

    • Wildlife protection
    • Ecosystem conservation
    • Fair treatment and good working conditions for workers
    • Water conservation
    • Basic animal welfare practices

USDA Organic

Food is grown and processed following strict federal guidelines. This means the food is grown and processed in sustainable and minimal synthetic inputs in farming and production.

4. Cut Down on Plastic

A photograph of a clump of plastic waste in the ocean. A small fish swims up to it.

Plastic never goes away. Today, there are billions of pounds of plastic swirling in the ocean. They make up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces! Every year thousands of sea turtles, seabirds, seals, and other marine animals are killed after getting tangled up or ingesting the plastic.

You can cut down on your plastic waste in a few simple steps: use reusable bags when you shop and ditch single-use bags and straws when possible. You may be wondering, “well what can I use instead of plastic”? Fortunately, there are so many great plastic alternatives out there or ways to reuse plastic bags if you happen to have some.

  • You can use metal straws instead of the plastic ones you get with your coffee in the morning
  • You can bring canvas or mesh shopping bags with you so you can carry your groceries with them instead of plastic bags.
  • If you find that you have to use plastic shopping bags at the store, don’t throw them away when you get home. You can use them to package valuables or even protect your outside plants if your expecting a cold front.

5. Be Water Conscious

 A person's hands cupping water running from an unseen source above. The background is black.

It’s important for us to conserve water. Humans are 60% water, it’s extremely vital in our ability to function. This remains true for the rest of life on this planet. The environment, animals, plants all need water to survive and function. We use water for almost everything we do, we use it to grow food and even in sanitization processes. Water is an essential part of all ecosystems, when it’s reduced or damaged, there are serious consequences.

A lot of people don’t realize that drinking water is a limited resource and that conservation makes a huge difference. When you conserve water, you’re ensuring that there will be enough for everyone in your community.

Fortunately, there are tons of ways you can be water conscious and conserve water:

  • Turn off the water when you’re not using it. This could be when you’re brushing your teeth or washing the dishes.
  • Check to see if any of your faucets have drips. Challenge yourself to take shorter showers.
  • Only do your laundry when you have a full load. Stick to cold water and use the recommended amount of detergent.

6. Incorporate Vegan Choices

A storefront with a mural that reads "Go Vegan" with letters made from various vegetables.

Animal product production, including meat, is one of the most environmentally destructive industries on the planet. They’re responsible for massive amounts of pollution, water use, habitat destruction, and greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing the number of animal products you consume, you can reduce your environmental footprint.

We have some great guides to help you incorporate vegan options, check out:

7. Follow the Four R’s

Compost, waste, and recycling bins that are green, red, and yellow, respectively. They each have front graphics depicting which objects can be placed in them.

The four R’s are refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle. You first want to refuse to use unsustainable products. If you can’t refuse, reduce the number of unsustainable choices you make. Be sure to reuse the products and, once the item is no longer, needed recycle.

8. Unplug

A black American-style plug being plugged into a wall outlet.

Things like small appliances and chargers suck up power, even when not in use. To cut down on wasted electricity and dollar, if you’re paying your electric bill, keep these things plugged into a power strip so you can easily flip its switch off when you leave the house.

Sustainable Living Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

We hope you enjoyed our list of 8 tips for sustainable living! We could add more tips to this list, but we wanted this guide to be a simple but efficient starting point. We want to encourage and support people in supporting the planet, that’s why we love sharing great options here on the Doshi blog!

Here at Doshi we design our products to be practical and useful; we choose materials and construction methods that are meant to hold up to frequent use, we pay our suppliers for the more difficult work we demand, and we stand behind our goods.

When we set about to make a product, we consider the materials being used, how the product is being made, and look to find ways that we can make the product last. Synthetic materials have made huge strides in minimizing the resources used to create them.  We do our best to find factories that purchase recycled base material and minimize the use of chemicals and solvents when making their materials.

Eco-friendliness and sustainability are a function of how long a product lasts and what materials it's made from. We will continue to push on every frontier until we make beautiful products that are beautiful, last long, and then disappear back into the earth when we are done using them.

For more information on our sustainability efforts, check out our about us page.

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