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Before I start this post, I want to address that making any change is good! This post isn’t me saying that smaller actions aren’t worthwhile because they absolutely are. The ones I’m going to list are bigger ones, ones where you might have to pick the environment over money. Where you are embracing the sustainable lifestyle a little bit more. I am fortunate enough that I don’t always have to pick the cheapest always. That being said, I try to save my money as much as I can to ensure I have enough for the future/unexpected payments.
Cover photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
What is a sustainable lifestyle?
A sustainable lifestyle is by no means perfect, but one where you make eco-friendly changes. I consider myself to have quite a sustainable lifestyle even though I’m not vegan (in terms of food). There aren’t set guidelines to being eco-friendly, just you trying your best and being as eco-friendly as you can. Not everyone will be doing the same things.
5 significant sustainable lifestyle changes to make
Reduce/eliminate your fish consumption
While eating meat is worse, eating fish is also bad for the environment. There are quite a few issues with eating fish, and they aren’t talked about enough.
- Overfishing – Our oceans are being astonishingly overfished, to the point where species are getting wiped out.
- Fishing equipment – Fishing equipment is what makes up most of the plastic pollution issue. Every single time I go to the beach, I always find some form of fishing rope or net. Discarded fishing equipment still harms sealife after the fishermen have finished using it. This is also known as ghost fishing.
- Fishing methods – Not only does fishing equipment harm the environment, but so do the fishing methods! Dredging and trawling damage the seabed and all the organisms living there. They have a long term impact on coral reefs which are extremely sensitive, just touching them can kill them.
- Killing non-target fish species (bycatch) – It’s all very well saying you are only going to fish cod. But that doesn’t mean that you will catch only cod in the net. It just means that they will only bring cod back onto land with them.
- Dolphin safe labels – There is no way that fishermen can guarentee that a dolphin has not been harmed. Therefore, the label on your tuna means absolutely nothing!
- Fish farms – Fish farms have such horrible conditions. Due to the amount of fish in small spaces, if one fish catches a disease they all have it. This can result in overusing antibiotics, and of course all of the dead fish lingering. Wild fish is caught to feed to farmed fish which makes zero sense and is truly disgusting. Imagine eating your own species?
I strongly recommend watching Seaspiracy if you want to learn more about the fishing industry! It is a heartbreaking watch, but something we all need to be aware of.
Related post: Reasons why you shouldn’t visit a zoo
I’m sure you are thinking “here she goes again”, but it is the most simple thing to do and has millions of benefits. I recently bought a winter coat from Vinted for £10, I will say I had to have it dry cleaned, but it was still much cheaper than what it was originally. My best bargain was a jumpsuit for £4, which was still in the shops at £25.99! Books are also ridiculously cheap, often ranging between 50p – £3.
- Books – World Of Books, independant shops, charity shops
- Clothes & shoes – Vinted, Depop, Thrift+, charity shops
- Crockery – charity shops
- Games – eBay, charity shops
All of the categories above have charity shops in common! You can find such gems there, and it is so enjoyable. Read more about the benefits here.
Choose a sustainable energy company
My housemates and I are currently with Octopus Energy which I’m so happy about. I did a lot of research and they seemed like the best. With Octopus Energy, you can get £50 off with my referral link*. That was over 1/3 of our monthly energy bill so it was definitely worth choosing them.
Why you should choose Octopus Energy:
- All tariffs are 100% renewable energy
- They buy their green energy from community-led cooperatives which benefits local charities and environmental innitiatives
- Their prices are fair. During the energy crisis, they have/are spending their own money to keep our prices lower.
- They invest in wind turbines and solar panels
- Trialed The Big Dirty Turn Down – you opt in to reduce your energy by 40%, if you reach it you get the energy you used for free. I took part in a few of these and managed to save some money!
- One spin on the wheel of fortune (two if you are with them for gas & electricity) + when you submit a meter reading
Grow your own food
Growing your own food has a significant impact on your carbon footprint, even if you are just growing one or two things. I don’t grow that much apart from herbs and pea shoots, though I’m about to plant lettuce and bean sproutlings which I’m excited about! I wish I could grow more, but I don’t have a back door and it isn’t my garden so I can’t plant directly into the ground. I’m hoping that with better access to a garden next year, I will plant a few more things in grow bags or pots.
My parents have an allotment and I really appreciate having fresh fruit & veg right on our doorstep. They grow so much food and we are always eating something homegrown throughout the year! If you have room to grow your own food, I’d definitely recommend it. It saves so much money and is much better for the environment. I find weeding so therapeutic, and being out in nature is so beneficial for your mental health.
Upcycling can take a lot of time, and if you aren’t into DIY or crafts you might not enjoy it as much. It doesn’t have to be your own idea, that’s what Pinterest is for! I have began to hoard a lot of broken stuff to upcycle and give it another life. My dad had some socks with holes in, so instead of throwing them out I’m going to make sock gnomes with them! I was going through my clothes and found lots of socks with holes that I can’t fix. As much as I like sock gnomes, I don’t want lots. Instead, I’m going to make cup warmers and cloths (it might even be better because they can go over your hand!). I’m really looking forward to upcycling my socks, but I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Do you do any of these significant sustainable lifestyle actions already?
Best wishes, Cx
Great post!! Every little bit helps.
Mind Beauty Simplicity says
loved this post so much! i’m slowly becoming more and more sustainable for the environment and to save money. i’ve swapped out a few reusable options and plan to shop second hand more often. i’m glad the stigma of buying second hand is becoming less a thing. i also love borrowing items i know i won’t use a second time. plus, it’s a fun way to connect with others and be apart of a community.
Me too! x
Her Digital Coffee says
This is such a great and informative post. Octopus Energy sounds incredible and I wish we had something similar in Canada. I’ll be keeping my eye out. I also love the idea of turning old socks into cup warmers. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you x
Kelly | Poky Little Wanderer says
These are great tips! I’ve been thrifting forever and often save scraps and things for future projects. We’ve often grown our own herbs and tomatoes in containers which is great in the summer months. We shop at our local farmer’s market for as much as we can too which helps reduce our carbon footprint and support local producers. Thanks for sharing these tips!
Oh that sounds great!
Baby Boomer Super Saver says
I love these ideas, Caroline! We do some of these, such as getting our energy through a sustainable provider and putting on a sweater at home instead of turning up the heat. I’ve switched to a mostly vegan diet, which does save money and has a positive impact on the environment in so many ways – probably the biggest is the smaller water footprint. We’re also a big fan of our local library. You can get so much more than free books at the library, including free garden seeds. We do try to avoid plastic, which is difficult because it’s everywhere! A couple of years ago we tried a plastic-free challenge for Lent and it was eye-opening! You can read about it on my friend’s site: https://treadlightlyretireearly.com/2019/11/18/plastic-free-december-challenge/
I love that you can get free seeds – very cool!
Pastor Natalie (ExamineThisMoment) says
Great post with wonderful suggestions. When possible these small changes are definitely possible and attainable. Thank you for sharing. 🤗
Pastor Natalie (ExamineThisMoment)
Amazing suggestions! I love buying second hand, you can always pick up some amazing bargains – and I often find myself picking up amazing new books I hadn’t heard of before! Octopus Energy sounds absolutely fantastic too, I’ll have to look into that. Thank you so much for sharing x
Thank you x
Fadima Mooneira says
These are good ways to have a sustainable lifestyle. I like these tips. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you x
Great post! I like how all the tips you shared were realistic and I enjoyed learning about how to make those crucial lifestyle changes!
Thank you Grace!
These are all great tips! We put solar panels on our house 4 years ago, and haven’t paid an electric bill since! My husband also put solar on our camping trailer too.
Oh wow, that’s amazing!
I absolutely love your sustainability posts as I’m always looking for ways to become more sustainable! I’ll for sure be making these changes in my everyday life, so thank you so much for sharing lovely Xo
Elle – ellegracedeveson.com
Thank you Elle x
These are some really great suggestions to help be more sustainable and eco friendly to protect the planet. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you x
Simply Alex Jean says
These are incredible suggestions, Caroline! I love to buy second-hand whenever I can and upcycling crafts is one of my favourite summer activities when the weather is nice and I can paint and repurpose items!
Thank you x
I find it so interesting that you can choose an energy company to go with. We don’t have that option here, but are lucky that our power is generated by water, so a more clean option.
I’m excited to grow my own veggies this year too. I’m really hoping I get some edible food, but I feel like even having some sort of plants (producing or not) has to be good 🙂
Oh really? I had no idea!
It is so important that we all take little steps in the right direction. It is like when you were a kid and made a “tornado” in the pool. All it took to break that cycle was for one person to start walking the opposite direction and before long the water was moving with you not against you.
Some great ideas here, Caroline! We have recently switched to Octopus energy also, and although are not ready to take the plunge wholly into veganism, I try to plan as many meals and snacks around plant-based foods as possible. I think it’s good to consider both the small and large things we can contribute to making the Earth a better place to live : )
We should have more thrift shops around I know in NL they have many of them— they sell brand new things as well just so much cheaper. The other day I purchased 4x second hand books and it felt incredibly good.
Love this post🙌🏾
I love second-hand books so much!