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Easy ways to live a greener, more sustainable life

When it comes to sustainable living, most of us know the basics: recycling, composting and reusing shopping bags. But sustainability is about so much more.

Today, challenges like climate change, social inequality and financial insecurity are putting the well-being of communities at risk. To solve these problems, we can all contribute. Here are some simple sustainable living ideas you can work into your lifestyle. It’s easier than you might think and could save you money.

Around home

Contribute to healthy communities over the long term by making these sustainable, day-to-day choices at home.

  • Even when they’re off, electronics use energy. Unplug them when not in use.
  • Save 10% to 15% on your energy bill by turning your thermostat to 15 C before bed and when you leave the house in the winter. Install a programmable thermostat, so you won’t forget.
  • Extend the life of your clothes and save energy by washing them in cold water and hanging them to dry. When using your dryer, throw in a dry towel to speed up the process.
  • Run your dishwasher only when it’s full.
  • Replace disposable products with reusable ones. Examples include furnace/AC filters, rechargeable batteries, water bottles, food storage containers, straws, cloth napkins, coffee filters and razors.
  • In the market for a new appliance? Easily search for an ENERGY STAR® certified model.

While shopping

How we purchase and consume products has a direct impact on global sustainability. Before buying an item, consider how and where it was made, and the energy required to get it onto store shelves.

  • Does it have to be brand new? Consider buying gently used items instead. Between eBay, Kijiji, Craigslist, thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets, the options are endless.
  • Choose “slow fashion” (locally made clothing using higher quality fabrics) over “fast fashion” (cheap, low-quality clothing, mass produced in sweatshops abroad).
  • When possible, buy food sourced locally. When in season, farmer’s markets are a good place to start, and some items are comparable in cost to the grocery store.
  • Before grocery shopping, create a meal plan for the week. You’ll reduce wasted food and save on your shopping bill.
  • Forget bottled water. Drink clean water from your tap!
  • Switch to paperless billing with as many service providers as possible.

On the road

Just because you may not drive an electric or hybrid vehicle doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate sustainability into your driving habits.