As the world possibly faces its sixth mass extinction event, there’s a movement underway to fix the system. Here are some innovative and easy ways to change how much of an impact your lifestyle has on the environment. The future starts now and even small changes can have a big impact.

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1. Alt mode

Maintain a one-week diary that charts all your plastic usage and you’ll be shocked. Stock up on green alternatives to your daily essentials: stainless-steel straws, reusable cutlery and coffee mugs, and green school and office supplies. 

2. Long game

Invest in cloth produce bags so you’re not wrapping all your fruits and veggies in plastic, buy reusable food wrap for your leftovers and carry your own tote bags to the store.

3. Pretty green

Swap single-use cotton pads for Unwrapped Life’s washable bamboo rounds. Invest in a refillable makeup palette, like the one from Kjaer Weis, which allows you to mix and match products and build a custom collection. 

4. Eat smart

Buy groceries in stages, so you don’t end up throwing away produce you weren’t able to use by its expiry date, and keep a log of how much you and your family eat in a week.

5. Lady bits

Close to 20 billion sanitary napkins, tampons and applicators are dumped into North American landfills every year. Opt for a greener period with washable period pan­ties like Thinx, silicone menstrual cups that will last up to 10 years (Lunette, Diva and Lena are popular choices) or reusable, organic cotton sanitary products by brands like Hannahpad.

6. Cause & effect

Support beauty brands that partner with charities whose proceeds benefit environmental causes.
Montreal-based Zorah Biocosmétiques pays 1 per cent of the proceeds of its mineral sunscreen to the David Suzuki Foundation, which focuses on everything from marine protection to environmental rights.

7. Contain it

Instead of buying (and quickly discarding) travel-size versions of all your essentials, buy one set of travel containers in various sizes that you can refill each time you travel.

8. Stay

Look for hotels that are B Corporation-certified, which means that an environmental or social mission is built into their ethos. Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel recently became the first B Corporation-certified hotel in Canada—and only the 11th worldwide—thanks to its commitment to supporting local businesses and artists and to being more eco-friendly. It has two green roofs and organizes regular sustainable food events.

9. Smart flyer

According to The New York Times, “one round-trip flight between New York and California [generates] about 20 per cent of the greenhouse gases that your car emits over an entire year.”
If eliminating air travel is impossible:

10. Flight path

Some airlines offer carbon offsets by, say, donating to conservation efforts or funding a renewable energy project.