5 tips for living a more minimalist eco-friendly life
As I've come to appreciate the minimalist aesthetic and lifestyle and found ways to incorporate elements of the minimalist mindset into my daily life, I thought it would be fun to talk a little bit about some ways we can lean in the direction of a embracing a more environmentally sustainable way of life - how we can make simple adjustments that are more aligned with a simple way of living.
In connection to my work, acting and producing, exploring and establishing new ideas, I do travel quite a bit, spend time in hotels, at conferences and exist in a way that doesn't exactly seem naturally eco-friendly. I do however, really love living simply. I don't own truck loads of "stuff" and I don't feel the need. I love visiting flee markets and thrift stores with friends and discover cool secondhand items of great quality.
In this post, I want to explore ways of making the kitchen more eco-friendly, simply by making small adjustments and I hope it's helpful to those of you interesting in doing the same.
1. Natural textiles
Synthetic textiles such as acrylic, nylon and nylon are used extensively in the production of clothes and once you load up the machine with these items, it equals huge amounts of microfibers, much of which end up contributing to the increasing amount of plastic in the oceans. As an alternative, look for natural materials such as wool, linen, silk and cotton. The latter does however require large amounts of water during the growing process, but it outweighs the negatives when compared to the synthetic materials.
2. In the kitchen
There are simple ways you can go about saving on energy when cooking and minimize energy consumption. Always put lids on when cooking to avoid losing heat and wasting energy. Select the correct sized saucepan and skillet for your stove and when cooking foods like pasta, potatoes and eggs, keep water consumption in mind and avoid using more water for boiling than necessary. The water does not always have to cover your potatoes etc completely, and the less water you heat up, the lower the energy consumption.
If you use a dishwasher, try to hold out on running it, until it's completely filled up. The same goes for the washing machine and you can also save on energy by using the cold cycle more often than not.
3. Consider plastic packaging
By investing in a recyclable water bottle you can make it easy switch and cut down on plastic consumption. When it comes to your daily cup of coffee(s), pick up a thermos or a thermo cup and forgo the disposable kind and matching plastic lid. Also avoid plastic bags when shopping wherever possible and as an alternative, pick out a cute tote-bag to take along when shopping for food, clothes etc.
4. Embrace the minimalist lifestyle
Take stock of what you own, what you need and what you don't. Chances are you can make a few simple adjustments that will drastically cut down on consumption. Choose quality over quantity and spend a little time reorganising and decluttering. If you notice your home contains many items you don't use or even remember buying, sell them, give them away or donate them to charity. Consider only keeping things you need and use regularly and start applying the same approach to consumption overall, be it food, energy waste, water, clothing and so on. I read a great book on the minimalist lifestyle by Marie Kondo called "The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying". I barely made it through the first chapter before starting to go through my cupboards, pulling out items to sort through and clear out. Very helpful.
5. Shop locally
When I lived in Northern California, accessing the nearest town aside from our community and the smaller local areas nearby, required loading up the car and taking a 45 minute drive to the coast and the same time frame applied to getting to school every morning, where the school bus would pick us up at the top of the hill and my sisters and I would settle in for the 18 mile bus ride back and forth. The daily journey back and forth took nearly an hour each way, picking up students along the way.
A few years later, I moved to Los Angeles and discovered just how much walking you'd need to do to get things done:) I lived in a backpacker hostel for quite a while when I first arrived and Corina, a dear friend of mine whom I met at the hostel and I, would walk back and forth to Urth Caffé on Melrose, the four or so block uphill to the Whole Foods on Santa Monica and just basically spend so much walking everywhere. We did ride the bus and the underground of course, but in terms of accessing local amenities, we spent a tremendous amount of time walking around in hot LA weather, to get to our destinations.
As a young child in Copenhagen however, I only needed to walk for a short five minutes before arriving at my elementary school and here, most people would ride their bikes to work. All this in mind, it's simply to say that I'm well aware of the different scenarios we face in terms of everyday schedules and location. I guess it's merely recognizing that we do have options in terms of which type of car we chose to purchase and opt to walk or bike, where possible. Here in London, a lot more people ride bikes these days and it's really changed a lot of ever the past ten years or so. I rarely remember seeing bicycles when I first visited London in 2006 and today many of my friends who live here permanently use them.
I hope you find some inspiration here. I've got more posts coming up soon on simple living and the minimalist aesthetic and way of living. Would love to hear any tips you may love for living simply and sustainably, so share your thoughts below.