Happiness and Sustainable Living

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What does that crop top have in common with that package of lobster bisque? More than you might think.  Both are sustainable, meaning that they are not harmful to the environment because they don’t deplete our natural resources.  In the long run, they help support ecological balance. The top above was made from an old bathrobe.

boho c1Using old clothes to create new and fashionable pieces is a sustainable practice.  I call it “refashioning” and chances are, you’ve probably seen it a time or two on my blog. The lobster bisque packaging is also sustainable.  It’s packaged by a company called Tetra Pak.  They create cartons that are, on average, 70 percent paper.  This is important because paper is an efficiently renewable resource.  You can find Tetra Pak items in many grocery stores. The Hunts carton below is one such example.

 

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You can tell if it’s made by Tetra Pak by looking at the label on the bottom.

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From February 21st to March 11th, Tetra Pak challenged me to take daily steps to live a more conscious and renewable lifestyle. Before I started, I thought my family was already doing quite a bit to live sustainably, like recycling, buying thrifted clothes, and gardening.  I was surprised at the other little things I was able to add to that list with very little effort, but large results over time. Here are the challenges.

1. When grocery shopping, choose food and beverage products with renewable packaging, like cartons.

The thing that was the most eye opening to me was learning that  there is a difference between recyclable and renewable.  Renewable materials are made of natural resources that can be replenished.  Recyclable materials can be used over and over, but must go through a process to do use.  So while plastic bags are recyclable, they aren’t  renewable.  So paper bags it was!  This turned out to add some extra fun as paper bags are much more craft-friendly.  It also just feels good to say “paper” when the clerk asks you “Paper or plastic?” because you know you are supporting a good cause.

2. Take shorter showers.

While studying French culture in college, I learned that many Europeans don’t keep the water going the entire time they are showering.  They get wet, then turn off the water while they lather up, then turn it back on to rinse.  I tried this, and though it was a little cold, it did cut my water usage dramatically.  Imagine if everyone did this?  We could conserve so much water. Pretty cool (no pun intended).

3. Use cloth napkins instead of paper.

While paper napkins are a renewable source, they are easily replaced by cloth napkins.  I do have some fancy cloth napkins on hand, and we pulled them back out, but in the end, I just ended up using washcloths.  My kids are 3 and one years old.  Having a wet washcloth on hand during meals didn’t just help save paper napkin consumption, it made sense.  I’m going to stick with this for a long time.  It was so easy to clean up all their little messes right away.  Sustainable + Convenient = Winning.

4. Bike or walk whenever possible.

We just got a new stroller, and the weather has been warming up.  Instead of driving to the park, we walked.  And instead of going somewhere for entertainment, we made our own by going on simple walks as a family.  Added benefit–no phones or technology were allowed during our walks, so it made for great family bonding time.

5. Swapping out plastic water bottles for a mug or thermos.

This was a really easy switch, plus I ended up drinking more water because my thermos has a larger capacity than the typical water bottle.  Since it was readily available, I simply ended up drinking more.

Conclusion

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Living a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to make drastic changes. It’s by small and simple efforts that we can make an impactful difference on both our environment and our future.  I challenge you to try some of these changes for yourself.  Doing good things will have a positive result on you.  I felt happier about my life in general as I strived to do good for the world around me, and you will too.

You should also check out Tetra Pak’s Happiness Quiz.  It gives some pretty cool insight on all the different aspects of being sustainable.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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2 Comments

  1. As a European I have to ask: why would you be cold when turning off the shower? Does the water run cold?
    (I have seen people in movies let the water run before getting undressed, is that why?)

    • Kara Metta

      Because we live in a basement in Utah and the temperature in our apartment is FREEZING! If I keep the bathroom door closed and run enough hot water before I turn it off, it’s not too bad, but then I’m showering longer.

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