Sustainable practices for the rest of 2020

I’ve made no secret of my want to be more conscious about how my lifestyle affects the environment. While I understand that a mere 100 companies are the ones responsible for around 75% of the greenhouse emissions, that doesn’t absolve me from my contributions.

I take around a 100 flights a year, consume meat and dairy with limited consideration for how that meat and dairy is being obtained. Let’s not talk about my online shopping habits.

At the start of 2020, I tried to make some inroads there:

  • I deleted my Amazon Prime account.
  • I started eating a vegetarian diet.
  • I restricted my online orders to 1 a month.
  • Using reusable totes and produce bags when grocery shopping.

However, quarantine and laziness put an end to my plans. Though guess what? We are 6 months in to the year. Which means we have 6 more months left for me to create sustainable habits. For the rest of 2020 and beyond, I want to hold myself accountable to the following principles:

Food consumption

  1. Continue eating a vegetarian diet.
  2. Not buy products that come in single use plastic. Instead buy glass or aluminium.
  3. Cut down soda consumption to “special events”.
  4. Only buy vegan alternatives to milk and cheese products.
  5. When buying eggs, look for the following labels, “Animal Welfare Approved”, “Certified Humane Raised and Handled”, “Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Certified” (Levels 3 and above), “No Antibiotics”, “Certified Organic”.
  6. When eating food made at a restaurant (takeaway, delivery or in person), check to see if the eggs they are using follow the principles laid out above.
  7. Cut food delivery down to once every 2 months.

Buying habits

  1. No more purchases via Amazon. Since I don’t have a Prime account, I shouldn’t be tempted by 2 day delivery anyway.
  2. Keep restricting my online orders to 1 a month. Now that stores are opening up, I should be able to find most things I need in physical stores instead of having to find them online.
  3. Continue using reusable totes and produce bags when grocery shopping. While stores aren’t letting you bring in your own totes you can keep those items in your bag and decant your purchases into your own bags outside premises as long as your bags don’t touch their grocery stores. I don’t have a car otherwise I would transfer my groceries directly from the cart to my car.

Commute

Since I am working from home for the rest of this year, my commute is significantly reduced. However, I want to use this time to create better commute habits:

  1. Walk places that are within 1 hour walking distance.
  2. Learn how to ride a bike over the coming months and use that as my main mode of transport to to work come 2021.
  3. Use said bike to commute to places that fall outside my walking range once I am able to.
  4. Take <10 ride shares in 2020.
  5. [Stretch] Not buy a car until I can guarantee that is electric powered and that electricity is being generated via renewable resources.

Travel

This is hard, given the limited travel going on right now. It’s easy to say I won’t fly anymore. However, it will be hard to stick by it when travel is allowed. This is why I am committing to doing more research in this field.

  1. Flying: Start looking into if carbon offsets are actually useful or just a way to pat oneself on the back?
  2. Hotel stays: Look into whether hotels or AirBnBs are more sustainable. Look into staying at hotels that are trying to be carbon neutral.
  3. Start looking into how I can make my travel habits more sustainable (not buying travel sized toiletries for e.g.)