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There’s no denying sustainability has become a trending topic. But why exactly is it so big? And have you been doing your part to be sustainable?

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To be sustainable means to maintain a certain rate or level. Because we live in a biological system, we must be diverse in order to survive. To become diverse and stay diverse, we have to avoid the depletion of natural resources to keep ecological balance in check.

How do we do this? We need to use our resources more wisely, so that we can ensure our future generations can also rely on them to live.

Naturally, the reality is that we take our resources for granted. Being busy hinders us from being mindful quite often — or at least it’s the excuse many of us use. And that’s not a bad thing so much as it is a habit that should be acknowledged and then shifted.

To create this, and really any shift, it’s important to start on a fundamental level. You don’t need to buy or build the most sustainable home on the planet to feel like you’re doing your part, necessarily. There are plenty of everyday shifts we can and should be making to ensure we are promoting sustainability.

Here are five ways you can be a little more sustainable each and every day.

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1. Look for products with packaging you can reuse

Packaging in general is pretty much the opposite of sustainability, but it can be difficult to find products without it. That’s when it’s better to choose the lesser of the two evils. When looking for a product, pick the one that uses the least amount of packaging, and even better, look for ones that can be reused at home, such as a glass jar.

2. Turn off your car!

Keeping your car idling when waiting for someone to grab something in a store isn’t doing the planet any good. Every 10 minutes your engine is turned off, you prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released into the air.

3. Avoid straws

Sure, plastic straws seem like a staple in the drink world, but the plastic types require hundreds of years to completely break down. And they typically end up in our oceans. In fact, straws rank in the top 10 on the Ocean Conservancy‘s list of the most found items amidst its international coastal cleanup.

4. Be mindful of foods that require a lot of water

This may not come to mind immediately when you think of ways to be more sustainable in your everyday life, but it should! For instance, it takes more than 90 gallons of water to produce a single serving of Greek yogurt, and an 8-ounce steak requires 850 gallons of water! Given various drought-prone areas, like California’s ongoing extreme drought epidemic, it seems fair to educate ourselves on ways to cut back.

5. Use cold water to wash your clothes

Along with keeping your clothes from fading quickly, which hinders the need to replace them, using cold water to wash your clothes is also beneficial for reducing energy use. This is because heating water makes up for 90 percent of the energy used to run a washing machine, and 12 percent of a typical U.S. household’s energy bill.

Obviously, there are many more things you can do..


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