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By Nerlanda Toussaint

Minimalism – not just a millennial fad

A recent trend that some would be all to happy to blame millennials for is minimalism. Minimalism in this context does not refer to the trend in sculpture and painting that arose in the 1950s. Instead, it means simply "using less." It's about being environmentally conscious and self-aware of the climate we live in; it's about conservation.

According to the U.S National Park Service, it can take 1,000 years for plastic bags to decompose in landfills. If they end up in the water instead, they do not biodegrade – they just break down into micro-plastic.

That means there are plastic bags in the environment that are older than most of us, and they will still be here, intact, long after we are gone. Doesn't that put some things into perspective? We all need to be mindful of our environment, especially when it's becoming more and more apparent that climate change and global warming are an unsavory reality.

So I put together a list to aid those who want to know how to start living a minimalist life. By adopting said lifestyle, you will be able to live a life that is environmentally conscious and budget-friendly. What's more, you can easily incorporate these ideas into all areas of your daily life.

1. Reusable grocery shopping bags

Reusable shopping bags can be found in most stores and only cost around $10. It does not cost much to make an effort to stop putting plastic into the environment. Some stores even have a rewards system for those who use reusable shopping bags. Ask your local grocery store if they have one – it may motivate you!

2. You need filtered water

We have all seen the commercials for Pur and Brita water filters, but I know to some the concept is still so foreign. The bottom line is that bottled water is not only costly to continually buy but also detrimental to the environment. There are refrigerator filters, pitchers with filters and filters you can click onto your faucet. The prices start from fifteen dollars, and a filter can last up to six months depending on the quality.

3. Reusable bottles

If the thought of choosing filters is perplexing and leaves you feeling intimidated, there is the option of buying a reusable bottle to ease you into this lifestyle. Reusable bottles can be used to store all types of liquids, and many offer temperature control. With these you can make sure to drink your daily two liters of water while also being mindful of the environment and budget-friendly.

4. Reusable paper towels

Did you know that it takes 110 million trees and 130 billion gallons of water annually to produce paper towels? After all that, about 3,000 tons of paper towels get thrown back into landfills where they release methane, a major component of climate change, as they decompose. Is the convenience of paper towels really worth all the dangers it brings to the environment?

It is especially pernicious because most of us are unaware of these dangers. If one cannot find reusable paper towels in a store, the web is at your service; most cost as low as $10. Think of the impact the mass production of this product is having on the environment; you can help change that by not contributing and by going the eco-friendly route instead.

5. Recycle

Last but most importantly, if there's one message to gain from this article, it is to recycle. Recycle every day and every way that you can. Because as human beings, we can be a detriment not only to the environment but to our own health, and recycling helps combat that. Recycling helps preserve our natural resources, because factories can reuse the raw materials instead of having to create new ones. We must preserve these things not only for future generations, but also for ourselves.

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