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Let's Understand Sustainable Living and Zero Waste

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that aims to reduce one's environmental impact, in ways that are sustainable both for the Earth and for the person. So while pledging to never run your faucet again may be sustainable for the planet, it probably wouldn't be sustainable for your personally or for your friends who would be subject to your poor hygiene.

There are endless ways to live sustainably, including reducing your use of resources, composing, relying on clean energy sources, reducing your consumption of single-use plastic, eating less animal, products, shopping for clothing and other items sustainably, and buying, local, and more.

What's the difference between sustainable living and zero waste?

Sustainable living and the zero-waste movement have similar goals and many similar lifestyle patterns but are a little bit different. Those trying to live sustainably aim to lower their overall environmental impact in a variety of ways, while the primary focus of those living zero-waste is typically to reduce the amount of trash they produce, namely single-use plastic.

For example, someone whose primary goal is to live zero waste and produce zero trash may be comfortable eating meat that was purchased without any plastic. But someone aiming to live a well-rounded, sustainable lifestyle may consider the bigger picture and opt for a plant-based meal instead, even if it is packaged in plastic.

Many proponents of the zero-waste lifestyle have taken to calling it the low-impact movement instead, to help shift the focus beyond trash and plastic, and toward lowering one's overall impact. All that being said, the terms zero-waste lifestyle, low-impact lifestyle, and sustainable lifestyle are often used interchangeably, since they have the same fundamental goal: to lower one's environmental impact.

Why is sustainable living important?

With climate change becoming a more serious problem every day, it's now more important than ever for people to do their part to reduce their environmental impact. Demanding lawmakers and corporations institute laws or policies to help with that is extremely important but lowering your personal impact can make a huge difference as well.

What impact does sustainable living have?

The average American produces 4.4 pounds trash per day, according to the EPA - that comes out to more than 1,600 pounds per year. So by transitioning to zero-waste lifestyle, you could literally save thousands of pounds of trash from going to landfills, where it would emit harmful greenhouse gasses.

By eating a vegan or plant-based diet, every year, you can save: 401,500 gallons of water, 14,600 pounds of grain: 10,950 square feet of forest, 7,300 pounds of C02, and 365 animal lives, according to vegan calculator.

While it may seem like small changes such as going zero-waste or vegan won't really make a difference, looking at those statistics makes it clear that sustainable lifestyle changes can be powerful.

How can sustainable living stop climate change?

Sustainable living is all about reducing our individual environmental impacts, which ultimately is done by utilizing fewer resources and fewer fossil fuels. As more and more people land even more importantly, corporations and governments start living more sustainably, the fewer fossil fuels they will burn. And since burning fossil fuels releases carbon in to the atmosphere and causes the Earth's temperature to rise, the less fossil fuels we burn, the smaller our environmental impact will be.

Sustainable living on a budget

Living sustainably often gets a bad rap for being expensive - but if you do it right, you could actually end up saving money. Things like shopping in the bulk section, only buying seasonal or local produce, shopping secondhand, reducing food waste, taking public transportation, and using reusable napkins, containers, etc, can actually be more affordable than the alternative, and therefore same you money.

How to promote sustainable living

As you get more invested in living sustainably, you may find yourself feeling more and more passionate about your evolving lifestyle. Take the knowledge you've learned on your journey - whether that's statistics about climate change, tips on eco-friendly living or plant-based recipes - and make an effort to share it with your community.

It's easy to post about it on social media or chat about your new lifestyle when hanging out with friends and family. You can also take things to the next level by promoting a low-impact lifestyle at your school, office, or community, whether that's by helping to institute recycling or composting, working with leaders to institute more sustainable policies, or by giving a presentation to your peers about living sustainably.

What is Earth5R's Home Equals Planet Project?

Home Equals Planet is an initiative comprising 15 tangible actions that citizens take on an individual level. These are a step toward a sustainable planet and a healthier lifestyle. The actions promote simple actions like eating home-cooked food, segregating waste, spending time in nature, and so on.

Home Equals Planet: 15 actions to Change the World

The 15 actions are associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and aim to create a better future for all by 2030. Home Equals Planet covers areas like waste management, health creating a circular Economy, etc.


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