The kitchen is your playground.
Sustainable living expert Jhánneu Roberts recommends leaning into a cleaner lifestyle by experimenting with recipes from scratch for staple food and drink items. For instance, Roberts concocts her own cashew milk by soaking cashews — ideally, overnight — then putting them in a blender with water, maple syrup, and salt. “It’s less waste because you’re not buying these individual cartons,” she said. “And it’s also cleaner because you actually know what’s going into your milk.”
All hail multi-use products.
Roberts also encourages those who want to be more sustainable to find products that are multi-use. Prime example: castile soap. “You can use it to wash your hair, wash your body, wash your dog, wash your counter — the list could go on,” Roberts said. “It’s like the holy grail of soaps.” The benefit of multi-use products is that it encourages you to buy fewer products, which means throwing away less harmful packaging, and live a more minimalist lifestyle.
Intentions are everything.
Having the right mindset is crucial to living a greener lifestyle. Being a disciplined and intentional consumer will set the tone for your decision-making. “My number one tip that I always give people when they’re trying to start a sustainable lifestyle is stop buying stuff,” Roberts said. “Say ‘no’ to things you don’t need.” If that felt like a gut punch, don’t worry — Roberts understands how difficult it can be. “I know, it’s hard,” she said. “Just try to be an intentional human being and find ways to reduce waste.”
Glass and aluminum packaging for the win.
Think twice before buying beauty products that come in environmentally harmful packaging. “Instead, try finding beauty products that either come in aluminum containers, which are infinitely recyclable, or glass,” Roberts said.
The freezer is your friend.
It’s a bummer when your produce goes bad before you’re able to eat all of it. To alleviate the heartache of rotten food, try freezing more of your produce, like spinach and lettuce, to extend its life. Roberts likes to make rosemary cubes to create a tasty cooking oil that also preserves the flavorful herb. “You just put the rosemary into an ice cube tray, add in oil or melted butter, and freeze it. Then you can pop the cubes into a skillet later on.” This trick can also be used with other herbs, such as thyme, sage, and oregano.
Pack your reusable cutlery.
Being an eco-conscious traveler can be tricky, but start with simple steps, like bringing reusable eating and drinking utensils on your trips. Roberts recommends bringing a reusable water bottle, napkin, fork, and spoon. “ I know it can be a little bit more work, but it’s definitely less wasteful,” she said.
You deserve grace.
An oft-overlooked tip for living sustainably is being self-forgiving if you fall short of your eco-friendly goals. Roberts knows this feeling all too well and wants people to know that living a perfectly sustainable life isn’t easy. “At the end of the day, it’s not your fault that it’s so hard to be sustainable,” she said. “There are bigger systematic things that need to be in place to truly make a huge difference.” So next time you make a lifestyle decision that doesn’t contribute to helping the planet, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just see to it that you get back on the straight and narrow.