22 Sustainable things to do in 2022

Dried+flowers+and+cards+at+an+Oshibana+%28dried+flower+cart%29+workshop+hosted+by+Suhee+Kang+and+Patrick+M.+Lydon+in+Osaka%2C+Japan.

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Dried flowers and cards at an Oshibana (dried flower cart) workshop hosted by Suhee Kang and Patrick M. Lydon in Osaka, Japan.

Callie Pippert, Columnist

Start Composting

This is at the top of the list because it is so important. Essentially, composting takes your kitchen scraps and food waste and turns them back into soil. When food and other organic materials end up in the landfill and they cannot break down properly, they release methane, which is a greenhouse gas that is 21x more potent than carbon dioxide. 

There are many different ways to compost depending on how much time or money you want to put into it:

Composting at home –  First, you need to figure out what type of compost system to implement – bin or pile. Compost bins are more expensive but they make the process a lot easier. Also, there is a compost bin on Mayfield’s campus so you have the opportunity to learn more about this kind of composting at school. Here is another article to learn more about composting at home

Compost collection – If composting on your own seems too daunting a task, you can enlist the help of a composting organization that will pick up your food scraps every week for a small fee. One of these organizations is called Compost Culture. This initiative was founded by two South Pasadena High school students. Their pickup service is only for those who live in South Pasadena and San Marino but they also collect at the South Pasadena Farmers market every Thursday.

Share your waste – Share waster is an app that helps you connect with people in your area who compost in their backyards and you give them your scraps and they will compost them for you.

Here are two youtube videos on Composting for Beginners and Composting at Home

Go to a Farmer’s market

Farmer’s markets are a great place to get fresh local produce and connect with people in your community. They usually take place once per week. The food is better quality than what you get at the grocery store, making it more expensive. Here a complete list of all the farmer’s markets in LA that take place on different days of the week.

Try doing meatless Mondays

Meat products have a much greater environmental impact than vegetables and fruit so try to experiment with new plant based recipes. My favorite plant-based recipes are from Pick Up Limes and Rainbow Plant Life.

No buy week or month

Everything that we buy has an impact on the planet and so trying to go a period of time without buying anything unnecessary can be a great goal for the planet. This challenge will look different from everyone but you can limit extra clothes and home decor purchases. Or you could limit yourself from buying anything brand new and instead try and get everything second hand. This way, you are effectively stopping a product from ending up in a landfill and you are giving it a second life without supporting a large corporation with your money.

Grow or forage some food

Growing your own food is a great way to get in touch with the food you eat. There are so many different ways to approach this ranging from creating a whole vegetable garden in your backyard to growing some herbs on your window sill. One fun thing I am trying this year is a mushroom growing kit that grows oyster mushrooms on your kitchen counter.

Foraging is another way to learn about the plants around you and get some free food in the process. Since Los Angeles is such a big city it is a little bit harder to forage here but if you want to learn more about foraging check out Alexis Nikole Nelson aka The Black Forager on Tiktok and Instagram to learn how to identify different edible plants and what to do with them.

Do a clothing or book swap with friends

Participating in a clothing or a book swap is a great way to hangout with your friends while cleaning out your closet and adding some new fun pieces to it. Also swapping books with friends is really fun because not only can you clean some space on your bookshelves but now you can discuss the books with your close friends

Go to a Flea Market

Flea Markets are great places to support local business and get some cool second-hand clothing and home decor. My favorite is the Rose Bowl Flea Market that happens on the second Sunday of every month. Also check out my article all about my Flea Market essentials.

Pick up Trash on a Walk

This is a pretty cliche sustainable activity but it is still a great way to get some exercise and clean up your neighborhood. Try walking in different neighborhoods or on different days to compare how the amount of litter varies by region and day. 

Altering or Repairing Clothes

There are many places where you can take your clothes to get them altered. Or, if you are feeling up to the challenge, try altering some of your own clothes! Repairing clothes is really important because it makes them last longer which is always a plus for the planet. Here is a youtube video that I made last year about altering some of my clothes.

Make Vegetable Broth with Food Scraps

Before you compost your veggie scraps, try making vegetable broth to use in soups and stews. Here is a quick Tasty tutorial.

Press Flowers to Use a Decoration 

Pressed Flowers are a beautiful natural decoration that are so easy to make. I made a YouTube video last spring where I did a bunch of different craft projects so skip to 5:30 mins to hear me talk about pressing flowers.

Walk Instead of Driving

Walking is a great way to get some exercise in and always makes you feel more accomplished than driving.

Take Public Transportation

Even though Los Angeles is a big city it is definitely lacking in public transportation, you can still try to challenge yourself to take public transportation more often. Just be careful and follow all of the Covid protocols!

Make a Whole Meal with No Waste

This is a fun challenge to practice being more zero waste and it is a way to become more creative and in touch with the food you eat.

Collect Grey Water from your Shower for Plants

Put a bucket in your shower and while the water is heating up catch that water in the bucket and use it to water your indoor and outdoor plants. This water is called grey water because you are reusing it from your shower head instead of just letting it go down the drain.

Reuse the Liquid from a Can of Chickpeas

This may sound a little weird, but the liquid from a can of Chickpeas is called Aquafaba and it can act as a vegan egg substitute! Here is a Tasty article listing many different ways to use it.

Turn Single Socks and Fabric Scraps into Pillow Stuffing

I enjoy sewing and one of my favorite projects is making little pillows that are great decorations and double as back support. To stuff the pillows, I use a mixture of pillow stuffing and fabric scraps which is a big mix of single socks, bits of string, and any other bits of fabric I would have otherwise thrown away. In this YouTube video I made, skip to 2:30 to see an example of the stuffing.

Listen to a Sustainability Podcast

There are lots of different podcasts that talk about different sustainability topics. The two I listen to are Good Together by Brightly, and the Sustainable Brown Girl Podcast.

Watch Sustainability Youtube Videos

I love watching youtube videos and I first got into sustainability because of youtubers like Gittemary Johansen and Shebizleee

Upcycle Your Old Clothes

There are so many ways to spruce up the clothes you don’t wear as much any more, like adding some embellishments by painting, embroidering, or sewing them to fit differently. The sky’s the limit with creativity. Also, you can get your jeans and shoes customized by my sister who goes by Pips Pants on instagram.

Recycle Beauty Product Containers

At Nordstrom they have bins where you can recycle all of your empty beauty product containers like pump caps, lipstick cases, mascara tubes, and more. It is important to take these items to special recycling places because they are usually made of mixed materials which makes them very hard to recycle.

Spread Awareness about Sustainability Issues

Tell your friends and family about all of the different things you do to help the environment to inspire them and help them on their environmental journeys.