Start the year right by living sustainably | Inquirer Business

Start the year right by living sustainably

There’s a certain empowerment that we feel at the beginning of each new year. We like starting the new year in glowing terms because we feel we’re given an opportunity to get things right. We pledge to be a better version of ourselves while hoping that the year will also be a better one than the last.

You know you’re off to a good start when you feel more determined than ever to live a more sustainable lifestyle. The UN Environment Programme defines sustainable living as “understanding how our lifestyle choices impact the world around us and finding ways for everyone to live better and lighter.


Here are some easy and fairly simple ways to craft a life that will benefit yourself, others around you, and the environment.

Always choose reusable

You’ve accumulated a good number of reusable water bottles and tumblers through the years. We couldn’t blame you, there are a lot out there in cute colors and appealing designs. That being the case, put your army of reusable tumblers into good use by stashing one in each of your bags so you won’t have to use a disposable drinking cup each time you’re out.


Throw in a foldable eco bag (we’re sure you have loads of these as well) and a metal drinking straw so you won’t have to resort to single-use plastics. If you’re dining out, bring a collapsible food container just in case you’re bringing some take-out food home.

Refuse single-use plastic bags when shopping.

Fortunately, many grocery stores and retail shops no longer use plastic bags at the checkout counter. Many even encourage shoppers to use reusable bags instead.

Grow your food

Cultivate your own edible mini garden. Basil, oregano, dill, mint, cilantro, chives, tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, kale and beans are just some herbs and veggies that you can grow at home.

In the absence of a spacious yard, utilize your windowsills or go vertical. There are planters which are especially designed for vertical gardens. Choose a part of your home that gets a good amount of natural light.

Use active transportation

One thing that the pandemic imposed upon us is to resort to active transportation. Whether we liked it or not, we had to walk to the nearest stores for essentials and take our bicycles or electric scooters to work.

It made us realize that if our destination is just a kilometer or a few blocks away, why hail a ride-sharing service when we can just walk? Not only are you able to save some pesos, you’re also able to get some exercise and, most important of all, you help cut carbon emissions and reduce pollution.


For its part, the government needs to ensure that taxpayers are provided with better sidewalks, pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes to inspire even more people to use active transportation.

—Photos from Unsplash

Live the three Rs

Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that the three Rs stand for reduce, reuse, recycle. First, reduce the amount of garbage you produce. Aside from saying no to single-use plastics, choose products that offer minimal packaging or packaging that’s reusable.

Go for home and personal care brands that have refilling stations in malls. Those pretty glass bottles you’ve been keeping in storage all these years can finally have a new purpose as containers for your shampoo, body wash, dishwashing liquid and hand soap. Opting for refills are beneficial for the environment as well as your monthly budget since these are nearly half as cheaper.

Switch to energy-efficient appliances

You’ve been meaning to retire some of your old household appliances, time to pick energy-efficient ones. Opt for inverter air conditioners and kitchen appliances. Switch to LED bulbs if you haven’t yet. Change your garden or patio lights to solar-powered lamps.

Energy-efficient appliances may cost more than traditional ones but the former are built to last you a longer time. These also consume less energy which means a reduced electricity bill for yourself and reduced greenhouse gas emissions for the environment.

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