Have you always wanted to do your bit for Mother Earth but feel turned off because it takes too much effort, means going vegan, and is more expensive?
Well, what if I told you it’s the complete opposite? Living sustainably actually makes life easier, eating well and not giving up meat if you’re not ready yet, and is cheaper. As someone who’s been living sustainably for the past 10 years, let me bust those common myths.
Let me bust these 4 common myths:
- Green living means going vegan.
- Green living takes too much effort.
- Sustainable living means throwing out all the plastics in the house
Myth 1: Green living means going vegan.
Let’s get this out of the way. Yes, eating meat uses up more resources than eating fruits and vegetables. But let’s look at the bigger problem. Let’s look at it from the lens of food waste. Food being thrown out, whether vegetables or meat emits greenhouse gases. It’s such a serious problem that if food waste were a country, it would be the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gases (after the USA and China).
So instead of debating going vegan or not, the most Earth-friendly thing you can do is to finish the food on your plate. Reducing food waste has a bigger impact since this is something everyone can do. It’s inclusive and doesn’t distinguish whether you’re vegan or not. You can reduce food waste in your kitchen, help your neighbors or you can help restaurants and supermarkets around you reduce their food waste.
There are apps that help you manage your kitchen so food never goes past its expiry date. KitchenPal, SuperCook, or NoWaste are great. For helping out your neighbor get rid of his extra ingredients or kitchen staples, you can check out the Olio app. And for helping restaurants clear out their delicious food and score this at discounted prices, there’s Karma, Ywaste, ResQ, and Too Good To Go.
Truth: Green living is more than going vegan. It’s as simple as eating. Finishing your food and rescuing delicious food from the landfill makes you an Earth Hero. Doing good never tasted this good.
Myth 2: Shopping sustainability is more expensive.
We’ll be breaking out the calculator on this. For all you who hate math, we’ll break this down. That bottled water costs just $0.20, but buying one every day for a year adds up to $73 a year. Whereas, buying a reusable water bottle costs only $20. That means you saved $53 just for buying a reusable water bottle.
What about sustainable clothes? It’s supposed to be more expensive than their fast fashion counterpart. But what if I tell you sustainable clothes are cheaper than fast fashion? Yup, the most sustainable clothes you can ever own cost zero. How so? Shop your closet instead of buying new. The truth is, the most sustainable thing you can own is the one already in your closet.
Myth 3: Green living takes too much effort
Green living takes too much effort if you make things complicated. There are hacks that make sustainability run on auto-pilot in your life.
For example, bringing your reusable water versus buying a bottled one. Well, it takes the same effort to buy bottled water as bringing a reusable water bottle. Let me break it down. When you buy bottled water, you grab it off the shelf, pay for it and pack it in your bag. When you bring a reusable bottle, you grab it off the kitchen counter and then put it in your bag. The same effort really. The only thing interchanged is the location. For the bottled water, you grabbed it in a store. For the reusable bottle, you grabbed it at home.
What takes a lot of effort is getting into the habit of bringing your reusable stuff. But fear not, there is a hack that will make it auto-pilot. Why not, designate a place near your front door for your re-usable stuff. The night before, you place your re-usable there so it is as convenient as grabbing it to go.
Truth: Green living takes as much effort as regular living.
Myth 4: Sustainable living means throwing out all the plastics in the house.
Before you start throwing all your plastic things and shopping for glass alternatives, hear me out. Sustainability is bigger than plastic. It’s about reusing what you already have. So keep on reusing your plastic until it breaks before you replace them. You’re kinder to the Earth this way.
Truth: Its kinder to the Earth to use the plastics you already have instead of buying new eco-friendly alternatives.
Now that I’ve busted those common myths, it’s time to try sustainable living and see how it fits your life. Just remember, you just have to start, and the rest will follow. Try one sustainable habit every week, if it doesn’t work for you, discard it and keep the ones that work for you.
At the end of the day, sustainability is about caring for the Earth you live in. If you care, just do the best you can and move from there. It would surprise you how after a year with this lifestyle, it can be a lot for Mother Earth as easily and effortlessly.
Jean Ong is the founder of EcoLover United, a movement that makes it easier for the everyday folk to live sustainably and in style. She was born in a country with 7,107 islands and spent her weekends during summer vacations on the beach. As far back as she can remember there’s this burning passion for saving Mother Earth. It’s just that she had no clue on how to do this. The spark that started the idea for Ecolover United was when she joined a zero-waste lifestyle community.
In 2018, she started a grassroots movement called City Composters United that encouraged and involved her apartment neighbors in composting (300 kilos of waste and counting) and created a community garden on her apartment’s rooftop. Along with this initiative, her goal is to seamlessly marry green living with an eco-luxe lifestyle.
Having graduated with a college degree in Business Management major in Marketing, she currently works as a store manager by day and an Earth Hero at night and on the weekends…
It’s pretty hard to escape this love for Mother Nature when your name literally means forest or grove of trees. Her Chinese name Lin, means forest. I guess her name is prophetic for how she will end up loving the trees, and nature in general.
She believes that: if it’s good for Mother Earth, it’s good for you.
IG handle: jean.ecolover_united