Ten Practical Measures to Have a More Sustainable Lifestyle

Catarina Ferreira Pinto, enthusiast of a more sustainable life and a lifestyle with less waste, author of the blog Do Zero , writes to us about how we can elevate our lives to a level that is more friendly to our greatest home, which is the Earth . To read, below.

Climate Emergency

We are in a climate emergency. We hear this phrase almost every day and feel simultaneously guilty and powerless in the face of the environmental disaster that is approaching.

If this article only does one thing, let it be to give you hope. Fortunately, there is a lot we can do in our daily lives to reduce our environmental footprint and best of all, it will not only be good for the environment, but also for your wallet.

Find out about ten measures that you can put into practice on a daily basis for a more sustainable life. If you start following a new one every month, you will reach the end of the year with the list completed and without having noticed the changes! Let's do it?

Taking into account that combating food waste is the measure with the greatest impact that we can adopt as individual consumers (just see that it is the third global measure with the greatest environmental impact, with the potential to reduce more than 70 GigaTons of CO2e, according to Project Drawdown ), the first three measures that I am going to suggest are very important (and very simple!):

  • Plan your meals before going shopping . When you plan your meals, you know exactly what ingredients (and quantities) to buy. The ideal is to empty the fridge every week (or every fortnight), because we consume all the food, before going shopping again. There are countless applications that help you plan meals, such as Cookidoo (not free), the website Savethefood , my Excel Do Zero or even Instagram pages, such as Joana Costa Roque and Vânia Ribeiro .
  • Cook without wasting food . It seems simple, but if you look at the organic waste you make at home, you will certainly realize that a lot of our food ends up in the trash can. Either because we don't want to use the broccoli stems, or because we only use the white part of the leek, or because we peel ingredients. The truth is that very little should end up in the container (after all, in a pumpkin, we can even use the seeds!). If you're out of ideas on how to use food, you can always check out this article or, once again, the Save the Food website.
  • Save food that would spoil (and end up in the trash). This includes those more mature fruits and vegetables, which are forgotten on supermarket shelves, the Fruta Feia baskets, the purchase of products that are at the end of their expiration date (generally supermarkets put a seal on these products and they are even cheaper!) and the using apps like TooGoodToGo , Phenix , Fairmeals or even OLIO (in the technological age, we have zero excuses for wasting food).

O second gesture with the most impact that we can implement for the planet is adopt a plant-based diet. Says the Project Drawdown , which estimates that this adoption would lead to a reduction of 66 GigaTons of CO2e and says the EAT-LANCET commission (the report is worth reading, here ). So, the fourth tip could not be other than...

To the adopting a plant-based diet, we are already drastically reducing our water consumption (this is because it is estimated that our human water footprint be at 92% related to food and we know that meat – and cocoa – are from food with a larger water footprint ). Still, I leave you with two more Very simple tips to save even more water.

  • Rethink fashion consumption . The fashion industry, in addition to contributing to 8-10% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide ( data from the United Nations ), is responsible for 20% of global water waste (just think that, to make a pair of jeans, more than 7500 liters of water are needed). Therefore, it is up to us to think, before each purchase: "Do I need another t-shirt or can I save 2500 liters of water here, which is more than the water needed for one person to drink for more than 4 years?" .
  • Reserve the water for heating the bath . Does it seem like a small thing? If we do the math, we see that, on average, we use 5 liters of water from the time we turn on the shower until the water heats up. This means that, per month, we are flushing 150 liters of water down the drain. There are 1800 liters of water per year. It's unnecessary. There are two options: we install a rapid water heating system or, more economically, we collect the water from heating the shower with a container (if we use a dispenser with a tap, it is super simple to use this water later in the kitchen – find , here , an example).

Continuing with the logic of avoiding waste (of goods, resources and even money – who doesn't love saving their wallet while saving the environment?), it is important to understand that refusing disposable products has a huge impact on our ecosystems. Not only because everything we use uses water, energy and raw materials to be produced, but also because most single-use products are not recyclable (just think that, for the yellow recycling bin, only PACKAGING should go – yes, that means that plastic cutlery should not be sent for recycling). So, the next three tips are:

  • Always carry a reusable water bottle . We don't need anything too expensive or complicated. I carry a glass jar that used to be tomato paste. That simple. Anything that has a lid and comes in a material that, when reused, does not contaminate the water, serves as a water bottle. All it takes is a little imagination.
  • Always carry a cloth/napkin with you . To produce a paper napkin it is necessary to cut down trees (which are very useful for absorbing carbon dioxide), use (a lot of) water and a lot of energy. Therefore, instead of using paper napkins in restaurants or tissue paper to wipe ourselves with, there is nothing better than carrying a cloth tissue and possibly a napkin. Once again, we don't need to complicate things: any old damaged clothes can be used to make cloths. Just sew the hems so they don't fray (or, simpler, use zig-zag scissors to cut).
  • Always carry a reusable bag . The key here is to reuse a lot, because a cloth bag takes a lot of resources to produce, which means it has to be used more than 400 times to offset the environmental impact of a “common” plastic bag . If we use the cloth bag every day for a year and a half, it will pay off. And it's not that difficult to use a cloth bag every day. In fact, it's difficult not to always have one on hand, because things always appear that we have to take with us.

We're coming to the end, but we're still missing one essential tip. If you take it seriously, you almost don't have to think about all the others I mentioned. Shall we go to it?

  • REFUSE what you don't need . It includes cute cloth bags that are given to us at events and which go into the “pile” of cloth bags, it includes the white t-shirt that goes in the closet to keep company with the other five white t-shirts , it includes napkins in restaurants, water bottles at meetings. It includes everything we don't need in our lives. When sorting out what I needed or didn't need, I came to a very interesting conclusion: I don't need to use toilet paper. Yes, you read that well, but that will be told at another time.

Let's put these tips into practice and end 2021 with a much smaller environmental footprint?

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