5 easy things you can do today to be more sustainable

5 easy things you can do today to be more sustainable
Photo: KateNovikova/Depositphotos
Moving to another country often changes the way we see things. If you're living in Sweden with its omnipresent recycling bins, you might have realised that the stereotype of the environmentally-friendly Swede isn’t actually just a stereotype. And this might have convinced you to change your daily habits.

After all, the UN has warned that we now have only 12 years to prevent climate change catastrophe from happening. So, better pick up some new sustainable habits sooner rather than later. Swedes prove it every day: leading a more conscious lifestyle doesn’t have to be cumbersome, it just takes a little practice.

Here are five simple things you can do today to make a change for a sustainable future.

Get a reusable takeaway cup

Swedes are among the world’s biggest coffee consumers. You might have become a big fan of the beverage yourself, but while it would be nice to have time to sip coffee while having fika in a lovely café every day, sometimes you only have time to grab a drink to-go.

Takeaway cups sold in stores or at coffee shops are hard to recycle because of the extra layer of polyethylene, a form of plastic which makes the cup waterproof. This extra layer of plastic can’t be separated for recycling, so the cup often ends up not being recycled at all.

Switching to a reusable mug made out of bamboo or some other recyclable material is a great solution. Also, some shops offer a discount if you bring your own cup, so it will pay for itself in no time.

Skip the plastic

Plastic bottles, plastic bags, plastic packaging. Plastic is everywhere. Since it takes 500 (or more) years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill, this is not good news.

Get a tote bag (they’re often given out for free as advertising material), and you’ll never need to buy a plastic bag to carry your shopping back home again. The same applies to plastic bottles. Just throw a reusable bottle and a tote bag in your everyday backpack, and you’ll save money on unnecessary plastic every day.

Unplug your devices

This tip is probably the simplest, yet so easy to forget. Unplug your phone or your laptop when you aren't using them or when they’re fully charged. Not only will this decrease your energy consumption, you will also avoid ruining the battery of your devices.

Resell or recycle your worn-out clothes

When you realise your T-shirt has one hole too many, you might be tempted to throw it away. Don’t! Many big clothing companies, such as H&M, accept worn-out clothes. Just bring your old clothes into a store and they will be turned into other products, such as cleaning cloths or textile fibres. And you’ll often get rewarded with a voucher.

Even better, next time you go on a shopping spree, head to a second-hand store such as Stadsmission, which operates all around Sweden. You might need to dig a little, but you're sure to find some hidden gems.

Use microfiber cloths

Another deceptively simple tip is to get microfiber cloths instead of paper towels. You can clean your room, dust your bookshelf or rinse your dishes with the handy material.

Just put them in your load of washing next time you’ve booked yourself a trip to the tvättstuga. It’s that easy.

See, being sustainable isn’t so hard, is it?