When you hear the term “low-impact living,” what comes to mind? You may think of recycling and keeping a low profile, but it really is so much more than that. In its simplest explanation, it is the amount of impact we have on the planet. But, it’s important for you to know the benefits of this style of living as well.
What is low-impact living?
Growing up, you have surely heard of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. To live a low-impact lifestyle means to minimize your carbon footprint and not participate in wasteful habits. It’s all about preserving the earth, improving sustainable living, utilizing renewable energy and having an overall “smaller” way of life. This means decreasing lavish spending, putting more dollars back into the local economy and buying with a purpose. While modern society can make it difficult to do, there are changes you can make in your life to help the environment through this behavior.
How to achieve low-impact living:
To change your current way of living will take a lot of planning. Living in such a disposable society as we do makes it difficult to not regularly purchase new items. As smart phone and computers are regularly updated, it’s tempting to immediately go out and get the latest models, especially as they can make yours seemingly obsolete. But, you can fight the temptations and make conscious efforts in your life to avoid this. Here’s a few ways how:
- Buy reusable items. Cloth grocery and produce bags, reusable mugs and water bottles, and a bus pass are all reusable items you can use to make small changes to being greener. Some grocery stores reward you for using a reusable bag by giving you a refund for each bag of your own that you use. So, in just a few short trips to the grocery store, you can pay off any and all bags you would have had to initially purchase. Just make sure to keep these items in your car so that you don’t forget them when running errands.
- Additionally, investing in a bike is a great way to transport yourself from one place to another. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it is great exercise too.
- Cook from scratch. Making your own soups and sauces will help produce less waste and use less garbage. Limiting garbage means less impact on our surroundings.
- Be a minimalist with your clothes. Only buy the clothes that you need and learn how to mend them yourself so that you can make them last longer. Some people go as far as to make their own clothes, and if this interests you, this is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and be helpful to the environment. Plan your shopping trips out instead of going on sprees to help reduce excessive clothes crowding your closet.
- Be thrifty. There is no shame in buying used. Many items are still just as good used as they are new. Shopping at thrift stores is a great way to get gently-used items for the home. This is all about the “reuse” aspect of the three R’s.
- Recycle and compost. This goes beyond throwing your cans and bottles in the recycling bin. Often times, an old appliance or similar item may no longer be functioning but can actually be used for parts. Check with local shops or post the items on a site like Craigslist before you throw these items out.
The benefits of low-impact living:
Clearly, one of the largest benefits of this way of life is helping our environment. By incorporating this into your daily habits, you can create less waste and consume less resources. Not to mention, you can save money in various ways by following some of the above actions. Driving less by using public transportation or riding your bike helps save wear and tear on your car along with gas money. And as you shop at thrift stores, you can save on big-ticket items like furniture that is still in perfectly good shape instead of spending more on these new items.
When making the commitment to living a greener life, you need to consider what actions will be the most effective. For instance, old appliances tend to not be as energy efficient, so you might be better off buying one new. Also, simply turning off appliances when not in use may still be using energy in what is known as “vampire energy.” Consider fully unplugging to really save energy.
Overall, when diving into low-impact living, you do not need to give up all luxuries of life that you may enjoy. Some people decide to become as self-sustainable as possible, but it does not mean you have to in order to make an impact. By making deliberate and thoughtful efforts, you can reduce your carbon footprint while still living a full life.
What environmentally-friendly efforts would you add to the list? What are your thoughts on the topic?
Jenn Clark is a writer, PR specialist, entrepreneur, blogger and coffee enthusiast. A lover of laughter, traveling and cheese, she’s written about her life experiences here at suburbanfinance while at the same time growing other young professionals. You can find more of her work at Jennblogs.co.