This post is sponsored by Ridwell. All Austin Common sponsors are screened by The Austin Common team to ensure they’re doing good for their employees, customers, our community, and the planet.
We all want to do more to take care of our planet, but with our busy lives, figuring out where to begin can feel overwhelming. The secret? Start with small, manageable changes. These everyday actions add up to a big difference – just like putting money in a savings account, it’s the regular contributions that count.
At Ridwell, we’re all about making it easy to waste less. So we want to share some planet-friendly life hacks: ten simple, everyday actions you can take to help protect the earth and support your local community.
It’s important to create new habits that stick, so choose the changes that feel most sustainable in your life. Use this guide to refresh the way you shop, eat, and manage your home, and you’ll be amazed how good it feels.
So switch up your routine, show the planet some love, and make every day Earth Day!
1. Ditch the plastic or paper bags and bring reusable totes for everyday grocery and household shopping. Keep some in the car, so you have them handy when you’re out and about.
2. Sealable silicon food pouches and glass containers are great alternatives to ziploc bags or cling wrap, and keep food just as fresh.
Get The Gear
3. Already carry a reusable water bottle? Good job. Add a folding utensil kit to your bag, and you can skip the single-use plastics when you grab lunch on the go. Up-level even further by bringing your own tiffin boxes to a restaurant when you order takeout.
4. Coffee lover? Single-use pods are convenient, but they’re a nightmare environmentally. Treat yourself to a french press, a pour-over kit, or an AeroPress. Yes, it takes a few minutes longer, but the result is extra delicious, and guilt-free! Keep a reusable cup in your car for when you’re out and about and need that caffeine fix.
5. Become a regular at your local zero waste and bulk stores. From hygiene and household cleaning products to spices, grains, coffee beans, nuts and even cereal, these stores often carry a majority of your daily essentials without the wasteful packaging. Invest in glass mason jars or other reusable containers to bring with you – having a set of containers the same size and weight makes everything simple at checkout.
6. As we move into spring and summer, visit your local farmers’ market. Not only do you get the freshest, package-free produce, but you get to support your local farmers and makers, and keep your dollars in the local economy. Community supported agriculture (CSA) programs are an affordable way to enjoy fresh local produce on a regular schedule, and many local farmers will even deliver directly to your door.
Bring It Home
7. When shopping online, group orders into as few deliveries as possible. This significantly reduces both packaging and emissions from transportation. Even better, see if you can find what you need at a small business in your neighborhood, and support your local economy.
8. Smart devices have come a long way in the last few years. They’re easier to set up and use, and more affordable than in the past. Check out the many ‘set it and forget it’ options for smart thermostats, lightbulbs, dimmers and other energy-saving tech for your home. If you have a yard to maintain, there are even smart sprinkler systems that turn themselves off when it’s going to rain!
Freshen Up Your Fabrics
9. When your living room needs a new look, seek out local furniture consignment stores. Not only can you find some beautiful and unique pieces, you also reduce the resources expended in manufacturing new stuff. Reupholstering furniture can also be a cost-effective way to extend the life of a favorite piece, while giving it a completely new look and feel. Search for local artisans who can help bring your furniture back to life.
10. Time to refresh your wardrobe? Try hosting a clothing swap with friends. It’s a great way to gift clothing you’re no longer wearing, and you can score some great ‘new to you’ pieces. Add some drinks and snacks, and make an evening of it!
Bonus action: Rid well (with Ridwell)
Hooray for small changes! If you follow all the steps above (and if you do – way to go!), you’re well on your way to reducing your impact on the planet.
Chances are you’ll still have things you need to dispose of on a regular basis. That’s where Ridwell can help, making it easy to responsibly get rid of your stuff, without leaving the house! Ridwell makes it easy to reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill by picking up reusable & hard-to-recycle items straight from your doorstep.
Oh, and the best part? Austin Common readers can get one free month of Ridwell membership if you sign up using this link.
PS – You can find more local Zero Waste Resources offered by the City of Austin at the Austin Resource Recovery website.