But, that's not actually the case. How do we know? By asking the people who are already doing it. To get insight on living sustainably (without overhauling your life), we teamed up with New Balance to tap three sustainability lovers—who make their careers out of sharing the ins and outs of living an Earth-friendly life—to let us in on the ways you can live a sustainable life, starting right now.
"People often have the false idea that living more sustainably is necessarily more expensive and cumbersome than what their normal routine entails, but this could not be farther from the truth," says Zahra Biabani, writer, sustainability educator, and CEO of sustainable fashion rental platform In the Loop.
"Another barrier is simply lack of resources and understanding of where to begin, with the overwhelming amount of information out there that makes you feel like you need to do all the things all the time," adds Minna Lee, mental health and sustainability advocate and wellness expert. (These issues sound familiar, huh?)
But just like you (eventually will!), these women took small, everyday steps that aligned with their lifestyle to get them to the level of sustainable living they're at now. "When I became aware of the impact of my choices on the environment, it revolutionized my life," says Kathleen Elie, "editor-in-chic" of Conscious N Chic. And, the thing is, you never really stop learning—ever.
"It wasn’t a drastic change but an incremental one," Elie says. "I am still upgrading my lifestyle to make my home and routines more sustainable. It is a daily, moment-by-moment decision—every day we get the opportunity to choose to be more or less sustainable through the decisions we make." Sustainability isn't about perfection, it's simply doing your best.
Keep scrolling for 6 easy-to-implement tips for sustainability you can begin incorporating right now.
1. Invest in sustainable brands
Before you hit the checkout button, you'll want to ensure the purchases you're making align with your sustainability mission. "When buying new things, as much as possible, opt for brands that are making sustainable choices and with whom you share values," Elie says.
And if comfy, wear-everywhere shoes—that pass the sustainability vibe check—are at the top of your shopping wishlist, check out the New Balance 574 Core sneakers. The iconic sneaker now meets the brand's green leaf standard, which means the upper part of the shoe is made from at least 50 percent recycled material, the leather is manufactured responsibly, and the outsole is made from five percent recycled materials. (Yes, the classic-fave sneaker just got even cooler, err, greener.)
Shop Sustainable Sneakers
2. Call your representatives
Shopping? A piece of cake. The next-easiest thing you can do right now to start living a more eco-friendly life is picking up your phone...literally. "The simple exercise of calling your representatives and making them aware of your priorities as a constituent and an environmentalist can be more impactful than you think," Biabani says. Pro tip: Swap 30 minutes of regularly scheduled social media scrolling for a few phone calls, and see how productive you feel.
3. Look into composting
You don't have to be a sustainability wiz to compost the right way. According to Lee, all you need is a container of some kind for food scraps and a freezer if you're worrying about stinking up your kitchen.
"If you have a backyard with some space, you can create your own compost pile," she says. "And the bonus is, the compost will turn into nutrient-dense, 'black gold' soil that helps your plants and garden grow." Multitasking tips for sustainability, for the win.
4. Awaken your inner stylist
One of Elie's top-favorite tips for sustainability is shopping your own closet. "That’s right, instead of giving in to the urge of getting something new and shiny, head to the back of your closet to see what’s back there," Elie says. "There are certainly pieces that still have their tags or haven’t been worn enough to justify getting new clothes," she says. "Take those pieces, along with old faithfuls and awaken your inner fashion stylist."
An easy way to punch up any outfit is by adding a statement sneaker, which is where the New Balance 574 Core can come in clutch yet again. You can get it in a variety of new colorways (just like its classic predecessor!) so you can easily style with any outfit to give a trendy-yet-sustainable oomph.
5. Keep reusables on you
Reusing objects in your home is a super easy way to ramp up your sustainability efforts, and Lee says it's vital to make using your reusables as easy on yourself as possible.
"Keep grocery totes in your car or by the door, have your reusable tumbler with you, and also, use what you already have." she says. "Some of my favorite storage containers/jars have come from food purchases, like tomato sauce, yogurts, etc.—you don’t need to buy new things, in order to start using reusable containers."
6. Try cutting out red meat
Sometimes the most underrated tips for sustainability don't involve adding anything to your routine at all, but rather taking something out, says Biabani. "Going plant-based is one of the most impactful things you can do as an individual to minimize your environmental footprint," she says. "I know that it is easier said than done, which is why eliminating red meat from your at home meals is a great way to start."
Even the pros know that real change requires small, everyday steps—and now you've got six simple ones to try, and the sustainable sneakers to pair with your eco-friendly steps.
Top photo: W+G Creative
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