Environmental Benefits of Minimalism You Should Know About

By Cora Gold, Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist

Minimalism has become a growing trend recently and for a good reason — it’s a lifestyle choice with lots of environmental benefits. When you live simply, you consume fewer products, resulting in less waste. Sometimes it can feel therapeutic for people to have fewer possessions. Here are six environmental benefits of minimalism you should know about.

6 Environmental Benefits of Minimalism

Environmental Benefits of Minimalism You Should Know About: an empty and beautiful beach
Environmental Benefits of Minimalism You Should Know About

1. Reducing Waste

While living a minimalist lifestyle, you spend less on clothing, food and other items. If you buy fewer things, you will have less waste. You may think these products are not significant enough to cause damage, but they can build up in landfills over time.

Think about the amount of packaging that comes with everything you buy. Whether it’s a bag from the store or package material from what you purchased online, you are still accumulating waste. Even if it’s a tag off your new clothing, all these tiny factors make an impact. Reducing consumption is essential since 45% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the production of things people use daily.

For example, fast fashion encourages buyers to buy more low-quality clothing. Instead, make sure you buy fewer items that will last you longer since you won’t get rid of them quicker, producing more waste. Buying clothing contributes to a high amount of water used in manufacturing and material found on shorelines harming plants and animals.

2. Living Small

Living in a smaller home is a great eco-friendly option for a minimalist. When you live in a smaller house, you consume less energy, such as heating, cooling, lighting and more. These homes naturally encourage you to use less material and utilize every corner since you have less room.

Tiny houses use only a small fraction of a larger home’s energy. Not only does it require less energy, but little things can also add up. Look at everything in your home that uses energy, whether it is lightbulbs or appliances. Check to see if they are eco-friendly but be aware of their label. It’s best to look into the manufacturer to see if they have a sustainability program.

In a smaller living area, you’ll use fewer cleaning supplies and possibly have smaller appliances. You may have a smaller washing machine that encourages you to cut back laundry to once a week instead of wasting it on smaller loads. You could even start to air-dry items instead of using a dryer.

3. Reusing and Recycling

An important aspect of living minimally is making the most of what you have. While many of us think of recycling as filling a blue bucket with glass, paper and plastic waste, it means so much more than that.

Instead of buying glass containers from Amazon to organize food in your pantry, have you considered using what you already have? An empty jar from pasta sauce makes a perfect container for rice once it’s cleaned.

If you don’t have exactly what you need already, check out a thrift store first. Thrift stores are packed with excess that will end up in a landfill if its not sold. Even something like a wedding dress can be bought secondhand, which will prevent the environmental impact of production as well as saving you money. Reusing items that have already been produced is an easy way to make a positive impact on the environment.

4. Changing Transportation

If you live in an area where you can ditch your vehicles and walk, bike or use public transportation instead, it can make a significant difference. Being a minimalist thrives off the idea of minimal consumption, so finding ways to get around other than a car is a great way to keep your lifestyle going in the right direction.

In the United States, 30% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, even if you use a light-duty vehicle. Your efforts of walking or biking can only go so far — the root of the issue is corporations since they are producing vehicles. Holding them accountable for making more sustainable changes can help consumers further down the line.

Along with daily transportation, think about if you tend to travel farther distances. Traveling the world is a part of being a global citizen, but it can be harmful to the environment. If you take flights a lot, the exhausts can contribute to climate change and traveling long distances in cars can be even worse. Try traveling to new areas closer to you and exploring local places instead.

5. Eating Consciously

Eating less meat can significantly help the environment. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out meat entirely, but make an effort to eat less than usual. Participating in meatless Mondays can still make a change. The term is how it sounds — every Monday, you ditch the meat for the day.

The impact of producing meat is almost equivalent to driving every car, truck and plane in the world. When forests are destroyed to make industrial meat, billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide are released, increasing global warming. The trees taken down may get burned, which leads to even more emissions. Even a slight cutback on consuming meat can make a difference.

If you are worried about getting all the proper nutrients, swaps like beans, nuts, and lentils can help you achieve similar goals. These foods will also be easier to have in bulk, which can reduce the amount of packaging from the product. You can buy these fresh from a farmers market a lot of the time, which uses less energy than an industrial supplier.

6. Shopping Smart

In today’s world, the modern consumer loves instant gratification. It has never been easier to get what you need with online shopping. Getting something delivered to your door raises your carbon footprint. Plus, being a minimalist means deciphering between if you genuinely need a product or not anyway.

A great way to conserve is by shopping from second-hand or thrift stores. This way, you are using things that have already been produced and considering the life cycle of available goods. Be sure to keep the quality of the items you get in mind, since having things that last longer is better than a cheap price tag.

Make a Change As a Minimalist

The minimalist lifestyle ultimately comes down to your efforts to consume less. The small changes you make can have an impact, no matter how big or small they are. Sustainable choices can help you feel empowered in a world where consumerism is taking over.

Cora Gold

About the Author

Cora Gold has a passion for writing about life, happiness and sustainability. As Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, she loves to share her insights and find inspiration from others. Follow Cora on FacebookPinterest and Twitter.