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January 7, 2020

3 Easy Hacks to Live More Sustainably

Now more than ever, people are beginning to look closer at their consumer habits and how they can make a more positive impact on the world around them. 

By: Megan Faletra, MS, MPH, RDN

With all that's happening in our world right now, it's more important than ever to remember that you can (and should!) appreciate any chance to celebrate this beautiful planet we get to call home. There has been a lot of interest in the sustainability movement, and now more than ever, people are beginning to look closer at their consumer habits and how they can make a more positive impact on the world around them. Whether that means reducing single-use plastic, switching to sustainable clothing brands or choosing organic foods, there are many ways to become better advocates for our planet, and I'm excited to walk you through a few of my favorites.

1. Choose Sustainable Clothing Brands

The fast fashion industry is among the five most polluting industries on earth, contributing to a staggering amount of waste annually. In the United States alone, Americans generate more than 80 pounds of textile waste per person, which equates to over 11 million tons of textile waste ending up in landfills from the U.S. each year. The fast fashion industry also has a long history of unethical labor practices, which makes our clothing not only an environmental issue, but a social one as well.

Luckily, there are many sustainable fashion brands today that are choosing to put people and the planet first. By opting for organic and natural fibers that are biodegradable, and choosing only natural dyes that are safer for our bodies and the planet, we are starting to see a shift in the way our clothes are made. The secondhand clothing movement has also taken off and is another sustainable option. Buying second-hand clothing helps extend the life of our clothes, which is one of the best ways to keep them loved and out of landfills.

2. Opt for Organic Whenever Possible

We are lucky to have access to such a wide and diverse range of nourishing foods sourced from around the world, but our global food system is also taking a toll on our environment. With pesticides compromising our water, soil quality and the health of our bee populations, there has never been a more important time to choose organic.

So, the next time you shop for produce or packaged goods, take a moment to check if there is an organic option. As more consumers drive the demand for organic, more companies can transition away from conventional farming practices, and toward organic and regenerative models that benefit our planet and the health of our bodies.

3. Limit Single-Use Plastic

Less than 10 percent of all plastic products are recycled and more than 80 percent of all the plastic products that end up in our oceans and landfills are single-use. The most common types of single-use plastic include plastic bags, water bottles, straws, coffee cups, and disposable cutlery. Start making simple swaps to replace the most common single-use plastic products in your life— replace your plastic straws with a stainless steel or glass alternatives, gift yourself a reusable water bottle, and get in the habit of bringing your produce bags and reusable grocery bags when you shop.

Before you know it, you will have cut your plastic use in half without even realizing it, showing the people around you what it looks like to be an amazing climate advocate!

So, where do you start? The best place is in your kitchen! Read "4 Ways to Identify Food That's Good For You and the Planet" next for more helpful tips.

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