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10 Ways to Live Sustainably in 2022

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

Martha Davies gives some helpful hints on ways you can alter your lifestyle to benefit the environment.

Photo by Alex Loup

As a new year begins, new opportunities arise to make positive changes. It is more important than ever to take steps towards environmentally-friendly living. Here are ten tips to get you started - you’ll be living more sustainably in no time!

1. Eat flexibly

Thankfully nothing to do with acrobatics, this simply means taking a more open-minded approach to eating. Cutting out animal products such as meat helps to lower carbon emissions, but it may not be easy to jump head-first into Veganuary. Think instead about adapting your diet over time so that any changes are long-lasting. A good starting point on any journey towards more environmentally-friendly eating is to veganise your favourite meals, such as trying bean patties instead of beef in your burgers. 

2. Remember to recycle

Recycling has become ubiquitous in UK households, and is certainly a vital part of a sustainable lifestyle. There is more to it, however, than turning food waste into compost and getting your paper, plastic and glass collected regularly: think about reusing bags at the shops, replacing plastic straws with metal alternatives and investing in a reusable water bottle. These little changes add up and create positive environmental change. 

3. Buy second-hand

The disastrous environmental impacts of fast fashion rival those of the oil industry, with carbon dioxide emissions and water pollution just a few of the issues associated with the creation and transportation of clothing. Shed the pressure to constantly update your wardrobe, and instead explore second-hand shopping. Vintage pieces most likely have a fascinating story behind them (and one that certainly involves less pollution!).

4. Make smarter shopping choices

New Year is all about forming better habits, and this includes your weekly shop; one option is to opt for loose fruit and vegetables rather than buying products packaged in plastic. Simply throw them into your basket or use reusable produce bags at the supermarket, or browse the produce on offer at your local green grocers. Look out for other products with minimal packaging, and don’t forget a reusable bag when you’re finished for a successful, plastic-free shopping trip.

5. Look for organic produce

While it may be pricier, organic produce is more sustainably grown, with less exposure to chemicals and pesticides. This not only benefits your health, but also ensures that water and farmland is less polluted. Perhaps try to incorporate a handful of organic products into your food shop each week, or check out food subscription services that will deliver right to your door. 

6. Get from A to B sustainably

The pandemic reminded us that long car journeys aren't always necessary to get everything we need. Check out the things on your doorstep for both necessity and leisure, and try to get to those places either by foot or by bike when possible. For longer journeys, opt for public transport where you can to reduce your carbon footprint.

7. Use natural cleaning products

Switching out conventional cleaning products for more environmentally-friendly alternatives is another part of building a sustainable lifestyle. This includes seeking out non-toxic products containing reduced amounts of chemicals and artificial ingredients. Some cleaners use vegetable proteins instead of chemical detergents to break down bacteria, while others contain biodegradable or raw materials. 

8. Avoid palm oil

Palm oil is a key ingredient in many beauty products, and it can also be found in supermarket items such as confectionery and peanut butter. However, its extraction involves mass deforestation and the abuse of ecosystems and habitats, on top of the exploitation of rural communities. Making an effort to identify and cut down on products containing palm oil is a helpful way to reduce some of these environmental damages.

9. Discover eco-friendly furnishings

January is a notoriously chilly month, but instead of cranking up the heating, think about other ways you can conserve energy in your home. Aside from layering up clothing and blankets to keep cosy, ingenious home improvements include thermally lined curtains and smart thermostats which will help cut down your energy bill. Using LED light bulbs is also a great way to be more eco-friendly at home.

10. Reduce paper use

Why not give your home office a New Year makeover? Put a recycling bin in your workspace to remind you to recycle old documents, and help save trees by setting up online file storage and reducing the amount of pages you print. Additionally, by recycling ink cartridges and scaling down your use of disposable ballpoint pens and laptop screen wipes, you can lessen the amount of waste being sent to landfill.

The changes which are necessary to turn the tide of the climate crisis are in the hands of governments and big businesses, but by making small changes in the ways we live and invest, these powers will get the message that the people want sustainable options, and the true transformation of society into a force for environmental good can continue to accelerate.


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