Minimalism isn’t mandatory for sustainability (but a little goes a long way)

  • Published on July 5th, 2020

People may try many different lifestyle trends at various points. You may have once decorated your home in a hygge style or decided to dedicate more time to volunteering in your community. Now you’ve read about minimalism and sustainability, but you’re not sure which one you should choose. The good news is that these two lifestyles complement each other. You can live according to minimalist guidelines and become sustainable at the same time.

Minimalism isn't mandatory for sustainability (but a little goes a long way)

By Emily Folk

Read on to learn more about the link between minimalism and sustainability. You may find a few tips you haven’t considered yet that will make your lifestyle changes as quick and easy as possible.

1. Prioritize Your Needs

The first step to both of these lifestyles is to prioritize your needs. Think about your daily routine and what’s necessary to get you to your workplace, school or other obligations. You should always eat breakfast to jumpstart your day, but you might not need to turn on all the lights in your home when you can’t use every room at once.

Minimizing the resources you rely on reduces your overall consumption and makes your lifestyle easier for the planet to support. You’ll use less energy, unsustainable resources and more when you cut down your life into a minimalist routine.

2. Aim for Less Waste

Another benefit of a minimalist life is that you’ll create less waste. When you don’t purchase more than you need, you’re not throwing away things like plastic wrappers and bottles all the time.

You’ll leave behind less waste than the typical buyer, which minimizes your ecological footprint. Instead of being a consumer that creates around 1,600 pounds of trash each year, you’ll recycle what you can and eliminate most single-use products.

3. Carpool When Possible

Minimalists often carpool with their friends and family as well. It allows them to use their cars less often and make their gas tank last longer. If you try this for your commute to work or school, you’ll need less natural gas and reduce your carbon footprint.

Anyone concerned with their sustainability will appreciate using fewer fossil fuels. The average person uses 656 gallons of gas every year, which quickly drains natural resources when multiplied across the world. It also reduces how much CO2 your vehicle emits into the atmosphere, giving the planet space to breathe and heal.

4. Use Smarter Resources

When you minimize what you need in life, you’ll get the chance to use smarter resources to replace single-use products. Imagine your routine at the grocery store. You might cut your list in half by eliminating what you don’t need. That makes it easier to bring a few reusable bags from home and skip the plastic.

This strategy might seem like a small change, but it makes a significant difference. Plastic ends up in the ocean and forests, totaling 500 billion to 1 trillion bags floating around the environment each year. Reusable alternatives will keep some of that massive waste away from coastlines and landfills.

5. Enjoy More Light

Once you start embracing minimalism, you’ll clean your home and get rid of any decor you don’t need. It’s spring cleaning with a different purpose, and it could leave you with fewer lamps around your house. Minimalists often embrace more natural light in their living spaces because it’s warm and inviting, but it can also drive your energy bill up as your HVAC unit competes with the sunlight.

It would make sense to switch to a smart thermostat so that you don’t consume more electricity than you need. This device will last you a long time, saving you money and preventing electricity waste from harming the planet well into your future.

6. Redirect Your Finances

As you adjust to buying less, you’ll have more money to put in savings. While you may direct it towards your debt payments or travel goals, you can also use it to buy better quality items. It becomes easier to afford eco-friendly food and sustainable products you may not have been able to pay for before cutting down on your spending habits.

7. Learn to Say No

Even if you don’t start your minimalist journey with the intent to say no, it’s a habit you’ll begin to form. Friends may invite you out to eat multiple times per week, and while it’s great to have fun, it also increases your waste output.

You’ll add more CO2  to the atmosphere driving to meet your friends and increase the food waste produced in your city by ordering oversized menu options people can’t finish. It’s smarter to learn to say no so that you maintain a minimalist and sustainable balance in your social life.

Take Tiny Steps Toward Minimalism and Sustainability 

Don’t feel pressured to change your entire life at once. Take tiny steps to ease yourself into minimalism and sustainability. Start with cleaning your home, paring down your grocery list and using fewer resources like natural gas and electricity. You’ll find the new lifestyle you want that works for you and the planet.

(Originally appeared at Conservation Folk.)

About the Author

Emily Folk is passionate about environmental sustainability, green technology and conservation. She is the creator of Conservation Folks, where she blogs about practical tips for helping tomorrow's world today.

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