Sustainability | Renewable Energy

Minimalism Is the Key to Sustainability

How Minimalist Living Lends Towards a More Sustainable Life


Consumerism is at an all-time high, especially with the convenience of online shopping. Yet, the demand for more stuff is detrimental to the environment, causing resource depletion and ample production and transportation emissions. Fortunately, minimalists may have a solution.

Minimalism is more than simply keeping a neat home with fewer belongings. It challenges the notion of needing more to feel satisfied in your daily life. Minimalists prefer accumulating experiences and positive memories over filling another drawer of clothing. This approach is particularly important for reducing one’s environmental footprint.

Consider adopting a minimalist lifestyle to live more sustainably. Here’s everything you should know about the ecological effects of buying goods, minimalism’s positive environmental impacts and tips for living with only the essentials. 

The Environmental Impact of Things


Household consumption of goods places undue stress on the planet and increases climate change impacts. Short product life spans and the desire to stay ahead of buying trends further contribute to goods disposal.

About 45% of e-commerce emissions derive from packaging goods for shipment. Return shipments account for 25% of the total emissions in the e-commerce industry. 

Of course, much of the environmental impact also pertains to landfilling. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Americans generated 292.4 million tons of waste in 2018 — 237 million more than in 2017. The amount will likely rise with emissions from ramped-up incineration operations — another cause for concern.

Yet, consumers are showing increasing interest in the environment, as 78% report the importance of sustainability in their purchasing decisions.

Those who choose to simplify their life through minimalist behaviors tend to achieve a 23% smaller carbon footprint than regular consumers. Members of food co-ops, ecovillages and grassroots campaigns also have about a 16% lower environmental impact than non-participating individuals, particularly concerning clothing and food consumption.

However, minimalism alone is not enough to improve the planet. Sustainable habits like proper waste disposal are equally important.

Promoting Sustainability Through Minimalism


Minimalism may take some adjusting initially, but those who stick with it can significantly lower their carbon footprint with the proper eco-friendly practices. Here are five ways minimalism promotes sustainability.

Owning Less

A minimalist automatically owns less than the average person by choice. This means you are less likely to cave to consumerism and buy things unless absolutely necessary. Fewer belongings benefit the environment by lowering manufacturing, transportation and packaging emissions for goods and services.

Quality Over Quantity

The cheaper the quality of an item, the less durable it is. Therefore, minimalists prefer investing in longer-lasting items over excess, from clothing to furniture to housewares. For instance, you might opt for timeless pieces with clean lines. Other items — such as solid hardwood or ceramic flooring — are constructed to withstand wear and tear.

Eliminating Waste

Because minimalists live with less, they generally accumulate less waste — good news for managing overflowing landfills. Minimalism also encourages buying only what you need, such as shopping for foods you can eat before the expiration date.

Of course, you’ll want to eliminate waste sustainably to align with your environmental values. Donate what you can to second-hand stores, repurpose items whenever possible and compost leftovers for your garden. Small changes make a tremendous difference for the planet.

Avoiding Short-Term Trends

Many fashion trends last under a year, while people often follow TikTok trends for only three months. Minimalists looking to live more sustainably know better than to jump on consumer and social media movements, choosing to buy items with intent, value and joy instead.

Opting for Reusable Items

The minimalist approach to living adheres to reusability over single-use. For example, you should keep a set of reusable grocery bags over collecting hundreds of single-use plastic bags during each grocery store visit. Reusable water bottles, straws, makeup remover cloths, silicone food containers and coffee filters make life as a minimalist and green consumer much easier.

How to Live Like a Minimalist


Adopting a minimalist lifestyle does more than help the planet — it also reduces stress levels, aids financial security from fewer purchases and leaves more time for you to do things you love. Here’s how to effectively adopt minimalism.

Declutter Your Space

The average American declutters their home four times annually, but minimalists will want to do so more frequently. Set aside time each week to eliminate excess items while ensuring you do a deeper declutter monthly. Just remember to dispose of goods correctly, including recycling.

Repurpose Items

Do you have a ratty T-shirt you plan to get rid of? Use it as a dust rag instead. Old shower curtains also make excellent drop cloths for painting, while glass jars are ideal storage options for pantry goods. Repurposing may take some creativity, but you’ll find potential items all over the house.

Consider Purpose When Making Purchases

Do you really need another flatscreen television or more decorative pillows for the living room sofa? A minimalist approach to living considers an item’s purpose and need before purchasing. If an item isn’t necessary, you should reconsider buying it. This consideration prevents the accumulation of more items in your home.

Adopt a Less-Is-More Attitude

For some, success as a minimalist comes from having a less-is-more attitude. Many people opt for experiences over things to feel fulfilled. Others understand it’s not about depriving yourself of something but rather selecting more enjoyable possessions for your space. In turn, minimalists often feel calmer and compare themselves less to others. When choosing between a new possession or a memorable experience, always go with the latter.

Embrace Multi-Functionality

Investing in goods with dual purposes is conducive to reducing resource consumption for multiple items. Multi-functional items also require less packaging and often last longer. Examples could include convertible clothing, furniture with built-in storage and even kitchen gadgets. For instance, you may buy one spiralizer to eliminate peelers, mandolines and vegetable noodle makers.

Minimalism Is the Key to Sustainability


Minimalism is your path to living more sustainably. When you consume less, eliminate excess items properly and purchase with purpose, you can decrease your ecological impacts and contribute to a cleaner, healthier planet.



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