With the health of the environment at the forefront of so many people’s minds, many are trying to figure out how to lead more sustainable lifestyles. What is a sustainable lifestyle exactly? Sustainable living is being aware of the impact your personal choices have on the environment and making an effort to minimize your use of natural resources in your daily life. So, if you want to start living a sustainable lifestyle, then check out these three crucial ways to reduce your environmental impact

1. Make your home energy efficient 

By conserving energy at home, you can reduce your environmental impact and save money at the same time. There are a number of easy ways you can reduce the amount of energy you use in your daily life. 

To start, get in the habit of turning off the lights when you leave a room, unplugging chargers when they’re not in use, and washing your laundry using cold water. These are three incredibly easy ways to save energy and cut down on your utilities bill without making any big changes or sacrifices. 

You might also be conservative in using your heating and air conditioning systems when you’re feeling too cold or too hot. Instead of turning the heat all the way up in the winter, bundle up in extra clothing or blankets. Instead of cranking up the AC in the summer, use a tower fan or ceiling fan to cool down, as these use significantly less energy than an AC unit. 

But maybe you’re really determined to take your home to the next level in terms of energy efficiency. In that case, consider buying energy-efficient appliances or implementing upgrades that will improve the energy efficiency of your home. 

For instance, if you live in a sunny area like California you could potentially save money and energy by installing solar panels on your roof. Solar panels are a cost-effective option when you take advantage of PACE financing in California, which is a program that allows private property owners to finance energy efficiency upgrades at an affordable rate.

2. Recycle

When you throw stuff away, where do you think it goes? Most of the time our everyday waste ends up in massive landfills. It can also end up as litter along the side of the road or, even worse, it can collect in the ocean. 

Recycling helps to prevent all this from happening. When you recycle, you conserve resources, reduce waste, and cut down on pollution. 

Waste that can’t be recycled is often burnt, releasing harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Recycling extends the lifespan of materials and products so that they aren’t burnt along with all of the other waste, thereby cutting down on pollution. 

Also, in the majority of cases, it takes less energy and fewer resources to make products out of recycled materials as opposed to raw materials, which have to be harvested from the earth. By recycling and purchasing products made out of recycled materials, you reduce the demand for potentially harmful practices such as logging and mining. 

3. Reduce your plastic use

As innocuous as it may seem, plastic plays a huge role in creating waste and polluting the environment. For instance, did you know that nearly all of the plastic that’s ever been created still exists in some form or another today? 

That’s a scary fact when you consider how much plastic you probably use on a daily basis: A plastic toothbrush for your teeth, plastic pods for your morning coffee, plastic baggies in your lunch box, plastic water bottles, plastic bags for your groceries…the list goes on and on. 

To combat wasteful plastic products, use products made out of reusable materials instead. For example, take a reusable bag to the grocery store instead of relying on plastic bags. Sip on your drinks using a metal straw rather than a plastic one. Skip the plastic water bottles and get a reusable bottle that will last for years from the Texas-based YETI company

When it comes down to cutting down on plastic use, it’s really not that difficult. If you’re mindful of your actions, you’ll play an important role in reducing the impact of plastic on the earth. 

Cultivating a sustainable lifestyle is a process. You can start by making small changes in your life, like bringing your own bag to the store, and gradually work up to the larger changes like upgrading your appliances. By living sustainably, you’ll be doing your part in battling climate change and creating a better, healthier environment.