Over the past few years the saying “living sustainably” has become more popular than ever. But what does having a more sustainable lifestyle really mean? It truly depends who you ask! Many people believe that living sustainably means adopting a zero-waste lifestyle, which means that you do not create any additional waste from anything you do or the products you use. That includes purchasing soap without any packaging, composting your leftover food, and even refusing single-use plastic at all times.
While this is obviously the place we would all like to be at–the reality is that making such a big, life-changing shift overnight can be really difficult. If you’re interested in living a more sustainable life, just know that you can start as small as you need to! Shopping habits, traveling, and even eating out at restaurants are all activities that we can begin to view from a more sustainable and waste-free lens. Here’s how we’re living more sustainably, right here in Boston.
Go Plastic Free
Arguably, the single most important and effective way to live sustainably is by ditching plastic. It’s estimated that the United States is the world’s largest generator of plastic waste, with the average American generating roughly 286 pounds of plastic waste per year. That’s an outrageous number – but it’s something that each person can lower immediately!
How can you begin your plastic-free life? First, take note of the current products you have in your home that contains plastic: which likely includes hand soap, dish soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and even multi-surface spray. Once you’ve taken inventory of your current plastic usage–set a goal to decrease that amount in the next few months. You don’t need to toss out the plastic you do have (we recommend reusing it, or even refilling at a Good Filling Station), but by the time you think you need to purchase a new bottle–consider the ways that you can use what you have, or opt for a zero-waste version.
Another easy way to limit the amount of plastic we’re purchasing is by tackling this issue with one of the biggest culprits of plastic: water bottles. By purchasing one reusable water bottle (or ideally using a reusable water bottle that you already have), you can avoid the countless single-use plastic bottles that are in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and you can feel great knowing the positive impact you’re having on our environment! Here’s a list of some of our favorite refillable and reusable water bottles.
Getting down to the root cause of plastic waste often forces us to come face-to-face with our purchasing habits. During your last grocery store trip or Target run, do you remember how much plastic you purchased? Probably not, and that’s okay! We’ve been taught for years that convenience is the most important thing when shopping–even when our environment is negatively impacted.
So, how can you take on those unsustainable shopping habits? By becoming a more conscious consumer! First, think about if you really need what you are buying. Is this something you already have, but just a shinier and newer version? Is it something you can make at home, or borrow from a friend?
If you ask yourself those questions and know that you do need to make a purchase, then it’s time to figure out how you can be more sustainable with that purchase. For example, when shopping on Amazon or any online retailer, wait until you have a specific number of items to reduce packaging for delivery less trips to your house to help reduce emissions. Alternatively, here are a few more sustainable options for shopping when you’re on your waste-free journey:
Support businesses that focus on biodegradable packaging and recycled materials. Most times, this information will be displayed on their website, but don’t hesitate to reach out to the business and ask about their sustainable practices!
Shop local. Whether that’s with the clothes you’re buying or the coffee you’re sipping, supporting a local business is a fantastic way to boost our local economy and reduce the overall environmental impact of your purchase.
Reusable grocery tote bags. Did you know that Americans use 365 plastic bags per person, per year? Using what you already have and politely declining a new plastic bag at the store is an easy swap that can have a big impact over time. Here’s us doing exactly that!
Buy secondhand. Buying gadgets, clothes, and even furniture secondhand will not only save you money, but it’s a sustainable way to give a second life to something that would otherwise be tossed in a landfill! If you visit a local thrift store like Boomerangs or browse Facebook Marketplace for something used, you’ll often find what you’re looking for at a fraction of the price.
Greener Travel and Transportation
With the holiday season coming up, many of us are likely visiting family and friends. Whether you’re traveling by car, train, or plane, packing and traveling sustainably is not as intimidating as you might think. By supporting businesses that ethically source their products, limit their carbon footprints, and pledge to reducing plastic waste, we can help ensure that their mission is put in front of more people–thus, making this type of ethical consumerism the norm. Here’s our guide for how you can pack more sustainably, plus a few recommendations of ethical brands that you can support!
So you’ve made it to your destination–now what? How can you keep that sustainable momentum going? Taking advantage of greener transportation is such an easy (and fun) way to get to where you need to go. In just about every major U.S. city, you can find electric bikes and scooters lined up and ready to take you where you need to go. Consider hopping on one of those instead of an Uber if you need to only go a short distance – or better yet, become one with the locals and walk the streets of this new or familiar city. It’s been reported that Uber and Lyft generate 70 percent more pollution than trips they displace, so keeping an eye out for more sustainable travel options is something we can all do.
While opting for electric transportation or walking is ideal, we know that’s not the most accessible solution for everyone. Luckily, most cities have mass transportation systems that can get you where you need to go and help you reduce your carbon footprint! Even though Boston is an incredibly walkable city, all of its downtown areas and neighborhoods are accessible by the T, bus, trolley, or even by water transportation.
About Good Filling
Good Filling offers all-natural products for home and body—plus an easy way to help the planet. Enjoy high-quality, name-brand soaps, lotions, detergents, surface sprays, and more. When the bottle is empty, continue using it and get a discounted refill.
Our Good Filling Stations allow consumers to reuse their containers to prevent plastics from entering the waste stream and ultimately live a more sustainable life. With Stations across the North East, and many more on their way, we’re bringing convenience to the zero-waste movement. To learn more about Good Filling Stations and to find one near you, click here.