Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona is deeply rooted in the local community. Working as a catalyst for positive change, we are proud to be stewards for promoting a sustainable environment in Arizona. If you’re looking to make simple changes to live more sustainably, check out these tips for easy ways to start.
Shop Secondhand When Possible (Hint: It’s More Than You Think)
One of the easiest ways to conjure up a more sustainable lifestyle is to shop secondhand. Clothing, accessories, furniture, books and other household items can all be found at Goodwill in gently used condition.
Shopping secondhand takes a little bit more effort and creativity, but with prices up to 90% off retail value, it’s worth it for the savings and sustainability perks. Giving a previously loved item a new life in your home is more sustainable than purchasing new when you consider the labor, energy use, material usage and packaging necessary to produce it.
Contrary to popular belief, secondhand finds are not in unusable condition. Clothes, for example, can often be found at Goodwill in like new condition or with tags still on, but the majority are in gently used condition and just need a quick wash.
Furniture may need a fresh coat of paint while books simply need to be dusted off before enjoying. Even if you don’t buy everything secondhand, consider heading to your neighborhood Goodwill often to see what you can find. You just might be surprised at what you find!
Change Out Your Light Bulbs
Did you know that changing out your light bulbs can help conserve energy in your home? Did you know that some light bulbs can cause light pollution that is harmful to the planet? Both are true! A simple light bulb switch can help you live more sustainably.
LED light bulbs are the most energy-efficient option, can last up to 50,000 hours, and are sometimes even made from recycled materials. If LED bulbs aren’t in your budget, look for light bulbs that can be recycled. Due to the frequency of how often bulbs are changed in the average home, it can significantly add to landfill waste.
Plant A Vegetable Garden
There’s something so satisfying about growing your own vegetables and herbs. While it might seem intimidating to get started, there are multiple resources available for newbie gardeners. Having healthy vegetables readily available in your garden is an easy way to live more sustainably. Rather than getting in the car to go to the store to buy what you need, you can simply head out to your yard and pick what you need for your next meal.
You’ll not only get to enjoy the fruits of your labor, but gardening is a great way to practice and learn many other of life’s important virtues, like the art of patience, hard work and persistence.
Use What You Have Instead of Buying New
We live in a consumer society. There’s always something we need and can have at our doorstep in a matter of hours. Because shopping is so convenient and in our face, it’s easy to forget that you just might already have what you need (literally and figuratively).
Before you go to buy something new, make sure you don’t already own something equivalent. Part of this way of living means being incredibly organized so that you can easily find something when you need it. Oftentimes, when we’re disorganized we spend more money and in turn create more waste for our landfills.
When in doubt, give yourself a few hours to think creatively. Need band-aids? Check the first aid kit in the car. Need cleaning supplies? Find a DIY recipe to make your own. Need an end table in the living room? Consider repurposing a table from another room in your house.
Of course, this practice won’t work for all purchases, but, for the times that it does work, it will help contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle and save you money in the long run. For those purchases that you don’t need to make, like new school clothes for kids, there’s always Goodwill!
Use A Refillable Water Bottle Instead of Single-Use Plastic
This can be a tough one for some people to get in the habit of doing, but it can really make a difference in your carbon footprint. Especially in Arizona, we’re all about drinking a lot of water and staying hydrated.
If you normally drink single-use plastic water bottles, consider investing in a refillable water bottle. Or choose to drink out of a glass instead. This goes for straws too! Single-use straws can easily be swapped out for eco-friendly options. By doing this easy swap, your plastic waste will decrease and you’ll be supporting a happier planet. Bonus if you can get your entire family on board.
Buy Eco-Friendly, Green, Recyclable Items
When looking for items for your household, make sure you’re reading labels carefully to determine if what you’re buying is eco-friendly. Even if the exact item you’re purchasing isn’t eco-friendly, check to see if you can recycle the packaging. This is especially important for larger purchases and big-ticket items. If you’re going to spend your money on something, and you’re trying to live more sustainably, there are better options out there. Many companies today are even using recyclable or recycled packaging to ship and deliver their products. Do your research to seek out companies that value sustainable business practices and shop there.
Donate to Goodwill Instead of Throwing Away
Donating items you no longer need is one of the most important pieces of a sustainable lifestyle. Whether you’re donating or shopping for goods, your goodwill becomes an opportunity for Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona to be your steward in promoting a sustainable environment in Arizona.
What we can’t sell, we recycle. More than 200 million pounds of material are diverted from local landfills each year through our recycling program. If it’s not recycled, your donation will find a new home and life with someone else. And so the cycle continues.
Ready to shop or donate at your local Goodwill? Find a location and stop in today!