We don’t always need cutting edge technology to have less of an impact on the environment. And believe it or not, you don’t have to buy lots of products to be ‘green’ either. In fact, one of the best ways to reduce your impact on the environment is to rediscover vintage living!
In honor of Earth Day, here are five vintage lifestyle hacks that you can use to green up your life:
1. Cut back on plastic bags – Plastic is a great invention … but great-grandma wouldn’t have known what it was. I love the convenience of plastics too, but an easy way to reduce a lot of plastic waste is to reduce the number of plastic bags and plastic packaging you use! I have a small parachute-fabric tote bag that zips into its own little pouch the size of my mobile phone. It lives in my handbag. And I end up using it almost every day to carry my lunch to work, and to carry home things I’ve bought at the store. You could also just get a bigger handbag and stick little purchases in there.
2. Cook more – I’ve already written about why you should cook more. But you should. Cooking encourages you to buy whole foods which require less packaging. You avoid prepared foods which have lots of impact on the environment with their excessive packaging and the energy used to create, process and ship them. Plus, by cooking more, you can buy locally produced foods which supports the local economy and reduces the miles food has to travel to your plate. Cooking for yourself is healthier. And it’s a great activity to do with friends, your partner or your family. I just can’t say enough about how important it is to start cooking, for yourself and the world.
3. Make your own cleaning products – Did you know you don’t need 3 different cleaning products for every room in your house? Before the days of the superstore, people managed to keep their houses clean using just a few simple ingredients. With vinegar and baking soda, you can make your own cleaning products that will make your home sparkle. The benefits? Less packaging (of course). Save money. And no scary chemicals!
4. Get crafty with recycling – Sure, you diligently sort your recycling every week. But what about a different type of recycling – repurposing and reusing your unwanted things? You probably remember older relatives who won’t throw anything away. I don’t advocate that, but turning a creative eye to what we no longer need can add some style to your life at low or no cost. At the most basic, you can turn leftover glass jars into vases, food storage, and pretty containers for your homemade liqueurs, preserves, and beauty products! Or what about turning soda bottles into hanging planters? If you’re feeling crafty and creative, there are endless ways you can reuse your recyclables for yourself and as gifts.
5. Discover your green thumb (or support someone else’s) – Great-grandma had to grow all her own fruit & veg. Fortunately, we don’t have to! If you have a garden, great. But many of us don’t have the space (or the time, or the inclination!) Even if you have no green thumb at all, it’s always a good idea to include some plants in your life. How about a few houseplants (remember from elementary school how plants take in CO2 and give off oxygen?) And if you’re pressed for time or space, how about some herbs planted in a windowbox or in a few flower pots in a sunny spot? (And how convenient, having fresh herbs around might just help you to cook more too…). For whatever you can’t grow, try to support local agriculture – whether that’s your neighbor sharing their garden produce, your local farmers market or farm-share scheme, or the neighborhood co-op. Local, organic food = less transport, less fuel, fewer chemicals, fresher food.
How do you incorporate vintage tips like these to reduce your impact on the environment? Let us know in the comments!