Easy ways to start being more eco-friendly today

Been meaning to lead a more environmentally conscious lifestyle but don’t know where to start? Here are some easy tips you can implement today.

Source: Earth by Lil Dicky

1. Eat plant-based

The livestock industry uses a tremendous amount of resources, from land to water, and emits considerable greenhouse gas (especially from cows). If you cannot switch to being vegetarian or vegan immediately, ease yourself into it by going plant-based and reducing your meat intake. Start with going meatless once a week (call it Meatless Monday), and work your way up. Vietnam is ahead of the game with many vegan restaurants out there, so you won’t miss out on your favorite food or nights out with friends!

2. Reduce food waste

An equally important issue that isn’t talked about as much as veganism is reducing food waste. Buy enough groceries for the week and keep track of what you have in the fridge so you won’t have to throw things out. During meals, make enough to eat and finish your portions. Compost your organic waste.

3. Buy less stuff

Buying eco-friendly products is nice, but buying less is even better. Producing any kind of product takes up resources and adds to potential waste. Be conscious of what you buy, make sure that you will get a lot of uses out of it and invest in quality over quantity. Your wallet and the Earth will thank you.

4. Shop second hand & local

When you need to buy things, buy second-hand or support your local businesses. Again, Vietnam is ahead of the game with thrift stores and a vibrant start-up culture with many small businesses in every industry. Especially for fashion, you’ll be able to curate a closet with unique pieces for a smaller budget if you pick up thrifting.

5. Switch to digital notes

If possible, consider switching from traditional paper and pen to digital note taking, especially if you are in school and take a huge amount of notes every year. If you miss the feel of pen and paper, try a tablet and stylus like the Ipad + Apple Pencil, which allows you to create aesthetic notes without having to lug around notebooks and a big pencil case.

6. Have a reusable tool kit

If you had to choose one tip on this list to get started with, get a reusable bag and bring it with you everywhere, especially when you’re buying things from the market or stores. This will considerably decrease the amount of plastic bags you get. Build your reusable kits with straws, food containers, water bottles, and other utensils based on your needs.

7. Pay attention to packaging

Take a look into your bathroom shelf. Especially for my ladies out there, look at the amount of plastic packaging your cosmetics come in! Switch to bar soap and shampoo & conditioner bars (available at some eco-friendly craft shop) or use refills from Lai Day Refill Saigon. Be mindful of packaging for other products too, even if you’re buying online, leave a note for the shop to not wrap your item in more plastic than is necessary.

8. Acknowledge the problem and constantly educate yourself & others around you

Lastly, know that you aren’t perfect yet and that’s okay! Keep a sense of urgency by constantly educating yourself about environmental issues - read books, watch documentaries, and follow educational social media accounts. Get others around to try these lifestyle changes with you as well.

The surge in natural disasters and tragedies in the past few years is sending us a message, loud and clear: Not caring is no longer a choice. Act, now.