“Sustainability” – it used to remind us of those hippy-dippy folks making their own organic muesli, but has long since shed its uncool image. What exactly does it mean to lead a sustainable lifestyle?
In forestry, sustainability means not chopping down more wood than can grow back naturally. Looking beyond forestry, sustainability describes the principle of not consuming more than can be made available again in the future – and not necessarily only for ourselves, but also for future generations.
Perhaps that is exactly what makes sustainability such a tricky concept to grasp: our current consumption and lifestyle may not affect us at all, but those who come after us.
From a purely psychological point of view, however, people are focused on maximising their short-term benefits – even at the expense of long-term benefits.
Time to rethink! With Fainin’s five tips it’ll be easy to make every day a little greener.
Sustainability tip #1: Environmentally friendly packaging
A first, super easy step towards sustainability: avoid plastic bags, bottles, and disposable cups. Plastic bags can be replaced by fabric bags – and if you do need one, reuse it or use it as a garbage bag for plastic waste.
By the way, those small plastic bags you get in supermarkets for fruit and vegetables are particularly harmful to the environment. Sooner or later, they end up as microplastics in ground and sea water. Invest in fruit and vegetable nets made of fabric or just skip the bag altogether if possible.
Plastic bottles and disposable cups can be replaced just as easily with stylish reusable options.
Sustainability tip #2: Consume mindfully
Whether it comes to clothes, accessories or other gadgets, ask yourself: “Do I really need this?” Maybe there is a sensible alternative to buying new clothes. Your local second-hand shop or flea market for example. Or you can host a clothing exchange party with your friends. You could also consider renting an outfit you know you’ll only wear once if you’re going to a special event such as a fancy dress party or the Oktoberfest.
Sharing should also be an option when it comes to everyday items. If you need tools to set up your new wardrobe, you can simply borrow that electric screwdriver you so desperately need. We say: Less owning, more renting!
Sustainability tip #3: Eco-friendly cleaning and beauty products
Many of the products we use for cleaning and washing pollute one of our most important resources: water. However, there are environmentally friendly cleaning products available on the market. Just look out for the European eco-label when you’re on the hunt for new products.
It’s also worth taking a closer look at what you put on your face and body: many inexpensive shower gels, for example, contain microplastics to give them more volume. You can find out what’s in your cosmetic products with an app (such as Code Check).
Sustainability tip #4: Save energy
You can easily save on petrol and emissions by going to work on foot, by bike or by taking the public transport.
If you can’t do without transportation, borrowing is an option. It’s particularly easy to share by looking around for friendly people in your neighbourhood who will lend you their bicycles or scooters for a fair price.
Sustainability tip #5: Recycle, recycle, recycle
Proper recycling is an art that Germans have already mastered quite well. If you’re unsure what belongs into which bin in Germany, NABU has some practical tips.
You can also protect resources by sharing those items you hardly ever use with others. Maybe you have a small arsenal of electric gadgets lying around. Or an impressive collection of costumes you only pull out once a year. Why not rent them out and make a little cash in the process?