Have you ever heard that it is too time consuming to live a sustainable life? Well, I am here to counter that statement with 10 sustainable ideas that will take 15 minutes or less. How many of these do you currently already do?!
1) 10 minutes to Reduce Your Junk Mail Do you ever walk home from the mailbox wondering what to do with all this junk mail?! There is a solution for this! Hop on to www.CatalogChoice where you can unsubscribe to unwanted magazines, flyers, mailers, anything. A quick 10 minutes could save so much on wasted junk mail that you will never have to see again! (**Keep in mind: magazines that are glossy are not recyclable. So if you think “oh I just recycle it, so it’s no big deal”, take another look to see if it truly is a material that can be recycled.)
2) 8 minutes to the Local Farmers Market I have 2 local farmers markets that are 8 minutes farther than my local grocery store. Spending the extra minutes to drive to the farmers market to buy local fresh produce instead of buying imported & plastic wrapped produce at the grocery store is always worth the time. The farmers market is full of fresh and unique varieties, typically sold without any plastic wrapping, and the people behind the counter are always passionate and excited to share interesting facts about their produce! It’s truly one of my favorite weekday activities! (Don’t forget your reusable produce bags, my favorite are there light weight bags from ME Mother Earth’.)
(^^How cute is my little nephew Enzo! This photo was taken at the Reno Farmers Market where we rode our bikes and brought our reusable produce bags!)
3) 14 minutes will save you money…and the environment Cloth towels are the best kind of towels! If you’ve made the switch from paper towels to cloth towels, you are probably spending a combination of 14 minutes cleaning these towels. Now 14 minutes every week can take some time, but think of how much time you'll be saving while not buying those unnecessary paper towels. Plus you’ll be saving money while saving the environment! (We keep a stack of these towels in a kitchen drawer and in the laundry room, they’re just so handy and bleachable!)
(^^Props to my mother-in-law Debbie for this beautiful picture of her cloth towel drawer!)
4) Buy naked... produce that is! Buying plastic-free produce at the grocery store allows you, the shopper, to fully inspect the quality of the fruits & vegetables. Package produce can easily hide the quality of the produce and will have a shorter shelf life. There is no denying that washing, chopping, and storing takes more prep time… however, the produce typically lasts longer which will result in less food waste. This task takes me about 15 minutes per week.
5) Bye-bye house clutter! Are there a couple items around your house that you are just over? Yes, quarantine shopping hit us all very hard. Why not take a few quick pictures and post those item for sale or for free on Facebook Marketplace, or a ‘Buy Nothing’ group on Facebook, or better yet, donate to your local second-hand store. Circular economy makes for a better economy! This activity can take10 minutes based on a few items a week.
6) So fresh and so clean clean! This next activity usually takes me 15 minutes, but I promise it will be worth it! Put on your favorite podcast or a dancing playlist and give yourself some time to hang-dry your next load of laundry, rather than using the dryer. This will improve the longevity and quality of your clothes by preventing color-fading, shrinkage, and snags. It’s just a win-win!
(If you’re looking for a sustainable clothing detergent we love using these detergent strips from TruEarth. They work really well and have a fraction of the carbon footprint compared to normal laundry detergent).
7) Reuse is better than recycle! Do you have a few empty jars from your last pasta night? Take 6 minutes to remove the sticker and glue and turn this jar into a vase, make-up brush holder, candle, cookie dough container, or really anything your heart desires! I personally use my old sauce jars to store my grains that I buy in the bulk-bin section at the store.
Take 3.2 minutes and walk your reusable grocery & reusable produce bags to your car where you can store it for your next grocery trip. You’ll be prepared for that next last-minute trip to the farmers market or grocery store. And while you’re at it, why not keep the reusable wine bag in there too!
9) Saving the world…one bite at a time! Take a minute to look through Pinterest and find a plant-based recipe to try sometime this week. Challenge yourself to cook a plant-based recipe even twice a week, the more plant-based meals in ones' diet, the small the carbon footprint.
10) Be a smarter recycler!
Take 7 minutes to review the information from your local recycling resource website. Their rules can change multiple times through the year, and a smart recycler is a better recycler!