Practical Sustainability with Lynsea Schurbon
Sustainability — it’s a buzzword, isn’t it? We’ve heard it brought up online, in marketing campaigns, and from individuals as an effort to make a difference in the world around us. But what is it really, and how do we get involved?
I recently took a trip to visit my friend, Lynsea, in Charlotte, North Carolina and was so inspired by her individual effort toward a more sustainable lifestyle — limiting her use of plastic, composting after every meal, relying on fresh produce rather than packaged goods, etc. She was all in.
As inspired as I was, there was also a level of intimidation. I knew not everyone had the gift of diving in head first like she does. I knew there had to be a stepping stone for someone like me — someone with a desire to make small everyday changes that can help the world around us. So, I dug into these questions with my friend, and her responses didn’t disappoint.
Q: What does sustainability mean to you + why do you think it is important?
A: Sustainability to me means being a good steward of what you have been given. It is synonymous with thoughtfulness. It means making thoughtful decisions that focus not simply on how a choice affects you, but how it affects the world around you. Every purchase we make is a statement for the type of world we want to live in. So, I asked myself — why not make a few small changes to your routine that could have a real, global impact?
Q: What motivates you to pursue a sustainable lifestyle?
A: It’s just too easy + attainable not to. Pollution is injustice within our control. It’s not something we just have to sit around and watch happen. As soon as I began to realize that my choices impact not only myself and the environment, but real people, I found easy and impactful alternatives that were available. The most surprising thing I found? Doing so actually helps me save both time and money!
Q: What changes have you made in your own life to live more sustainably?
A: It might sound strange, but the first thing I did was swap the big trash can in my kitchen for a smaller one. [I used my recycling bin.] It sparks a mental shift to produce less trash. From there, the momentum kept going. A few others include:
- Composting – Essentially, composting is an easy way to reduce your food waste. Instead of tossing a banana peel in the trash can, you let it decompose naturally into the earth, helping contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Something that really inspired me to start my own compost pile was learning that every year, one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted. Composting my produce was such an easy step for me to take in reducing my waste. You can learn how to do it in your own home here.
- Recycling – Reduce, reuse, recycle – I’m sure you’ve heard the tagline. Recycling has been a push for years now, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take the extra steps to do so. Even if you do already recycle, it’s important to make sure you know the right steps to take. Reality is, 25 percent of all recycling picked up by Waste Management is contaminated to the point that it is sent to landfills — seems redundant, right? I like to print out a sheet like this + stick it on my fridge for an easy reference of what can be recycled and what can’t.
- Secondhand Shopping – Buying secondhand is such an easy, economical way to shop more sustainably, especially with new platforms and apps like Poshmark, ThredUP, OfferUP, and Facebook Marketplace. When I found out that second to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world, I couldn’t look back. Let’s be candid — I’m not perfect, but I always try to check secondhand before buying new.
Q: What companies or brands have you seen take positive steps in the way of sustainability?
A: With sustainability being a buzzword right now, it’s hard to decipher what companies are truly making a difference verses riding off of what seems to be a trendy marketing tactic. Though I do value any effort that major corporations are making in hopes that they are actively pursuing change, I try my best to support brands that share clear details of their efforts. Some of the pioneers in this space include Package Free Shop, Stasher Bags, Everlane, Who Gives a Crap TP.
Q: What would you say to someone who is hesitant about making changes in their own life due to time, cost, or convenience?
A: Sustainability is all about forming new habits. In the end, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” I love this quote by Anne-Marie Bonneau of @ZeroWasteChef A great reminder to give yourself grace + devote yourself to learning instead of feeling like it has to be done perfectly.
Q: What are 3-5 must-have products that help you live a more sustainable lifestyle?
A: A cute reusable bag for the grocery store or farmer’s market, stainless steel to-go containers, my go-to reusable water bottle and lastly, a reusable alternative to Ziploc bags. While some of these brands + products may be marked up, it’s important to remember that the cost is reflecting both the product and the donation you’re making toward the impact of the company’s initiatives.
About Lynsea: Lynsea is a Charlotte-based songwriter and has been a sustainable living activist since 2018. She loves sharing her journey toward zero-waste and conscious living in hopes to inspire others to be more thoughtful when they consume, as well as to challenge others to find something to passionately advocate for. You can follow Lynsea and her pursuit of a more sustainable life on Instagram at @lynseaschurbon and through her website.