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Sustainability without sacrifice - is that possible?

Sustainability without sacrificing - 10 examples of how it can be done without restrictions

Does sustainability work without sacrifice or do we all have to cut back? Many people are firmly convinced that it is not possible to live in an environmentally friendly way without sacrificing quality of life and many of the good things in life. They also fear restrictions and bans. But is it really that (bad)? I believe that those who are the first to shout "you have to give up everything!" are actually just a little afraid of change. A change in our way of life that has become necessary in the meantime, a change that Environmental problems of our time require. But rest assured: sustainability does not mean that your whole life has suddenly been turned upside down. On the contrary!

In this article, I would like to give you 10 examples of how sustainability works without sacrifice and only requires equivalent alternatives.

Here in advance already a short Overview for you:

  1. Drinking straws
  2. Coffee2Go mug
  3. Cheese, butter, milk & yogurt
  4. Cling film
  5. Lunch boxes
  6. Burgers, Schnitzel & Steaks
  7. Shopping bag
  8. Search Engine
  9. Car and plane
  10. Water

Why many people believe that sustainability means sacrifice

Change is difficult for most people. This is particularly noticeable in those who suddenly come into discussions with a cornucopia of Prejudices about the sustainable way of life are thrown around. One of them is that you "have to do without almost everything" if you live sustainably. This is perhaps an oft-heard, but not a good general excuse for simply leaving everything as it is. Because sometimes a change of scenery is urgently needed.

"The purest form of insanity is to leave everything as it is and hope that something will change."

Albert Einstein (more under Change Quotes)

In this case, to protect our environment, to protect our health and to protect all future generations and living beings on this earth. We have been living beyond our means for so long, wasting resources, that a change in our way of life is simply unavoidable today.

The sudden changeover and the misconception that there are no alternatives make people feel they have to give up

For many, however, this change comes suddenly and unexpectedly - at the latest when politicians discuss and announce restrictions or bans. They believe that all the nice things in their lives are now being taken away from them and that their quality of life is being significantly reduced. This is another reason for the misconception that sustainability is not possible without sacrifice. However, this concern is completely unfounded and is mainly based on media reports, which are increasingly talking about meat substitutes, more expensive air fares and electric cars.

However, most people have probably known for several decades that we need to adapt our lifestyles. Initially, environmentally friendly alternatives for foodstuffs such as meat or everyday items such as straws were still relatively rare. So it's no wonder that the impression of abandonment was created. An impression that persists to this day for those who have taken little or no interest in sustainability since then. And so they have completely missed the fact that dozens of equally delicious or convenient but more sustainable alternatives have appeared on supermarket shelves in the meantime, making it possible not to have to give up the lifestyle to which we are accustomed.

10 examples of how you can live more sustainably without going without

Here I would like to prove to you with 10 examples that a more sustainable life also works without having to "tighten your belt". Let's go!

1. drinking straws

Bamboo drinking straws for sustainability without sacrifice

"Oh come on, what's one plastic straw going to do" is something you often hear. After all, straws seem so small and insignificant. But if 8 billion people thought this way, we would have a massive environmental problem from drinking straws alone. Anyone who is familiar with the plastic free life white, that there is hardly an everyday product for which more environmentally friendly alternatives are available. Here are some examples:

A great example of sustainability without sacrifice, isn't it? And if straws aren't really that important to you, you can leave them out altogether if you like.

2. coffee2go cup

In Germany, around 320,000 disposable cups for hot drinks are used every hour - almost three billion a year!₁ Is it really a sacrifice if you simply pay a deposit for a reusable cup that you return later? Or if you bring your own washable to-go cup and sip your favorite coffee from it? Many cafés even offer discounts if their customers are environmentally conscious. A prime example of how you can save money through sustainability and that environmentally friendly action is also possible without restrictions.

3. cheese, butter, yogurt, milk & co.

The vegan lifestyle is on the rise. And for good health, ecological and ethical reasons. Many people are now allergic to the word "vegan" because they fear that they will soon not be allowed to consume milk, yoghurt, butter, cream or cheese. No more cheese? That's not possible! The Vegans annoy! Incidentally, I personally also live vegan and don't feel that I have to do without anything.

Oat, soy, rice and almond milk, soy yogurt, plant-based butter, vegan spray and whipped cream and almond-based fresh, sprinkled and sliced cheese fill the supermarket shelves. And new, extremely tasty alternatives are added almost every week. Just give them a try before you dismiss them, as I used to, and make the blanket assumption that sustainability is not possible without sacrifice 🙂

Tip: Find out exactly now in a separate article, why i live vegan.

4. cling film

Another example of how you can live sustainably without going without? Cling film! It is used to To make food last a little longer. A good remedy for food waste - Unfortunately, this creates a lot of waste. But there are, of course, sustainable alternatives:

You can simply wash off the flexible oilcloths and use them again. Absolutely uncomplicated!

Tip: At Reduce food wasteyou can find out what else you can do!

5. lunch boxes

Nobody is forcing you to throw away the tried-and-tested plastic Tupperware containers. Instead, you should simply use them for as long as you can. But once they give up their ghostyou can replace them with plastic-free Stainless steel lunch boxes or Glass lunch boxes with bamboo lid replace. Again, you won't feel any difference and you'll still be more environmentally friendly on the road.

6. burgers, schnitzel, steaks & co.

Vegan burgers with fries - Who wouldn't want to get their hands on that?
Vegan burgers with fries - who wouldn't want to try one?

Worried that vegans will soon take away your beloved burgers, schnitzels and steaks? Don't worry! I still eat all that too. Just more climate-friendly and without Factory farming and Cruelty to animals. The burger patties from soy, amaranth or buckwheat are now basically no different from their meat counterparts in terms of appearance, taste and chewing sensationwhich, by the way, is only so tasty because it is seasoned accordingly. There is also a huge selection of schnitzel and steak alternatives (e.g. vegetable schnitzel or seitan steak). So if you are looking for a Vegan for barbecue invited, you don't have to worry that there will only be a little green stuff on the grill. 😉

Tip: You find that it is being vegan is unmanly? In the linked article I question this daring theory.

7. shopping bag

In There were riots in supermarkets in Australiawhen plastic bags were banned. Some customers even got violent with the staff! There was an incredible outcry, even though the ban had been announced for a long time. Here in Germany, too, many people were furious about the Introduction of fees for plastic bags. The only thing you want to do Plastic waste in the environment counteract.

But this example also shows that sustainability is possible without sacrificing anything. Because with the classic, reusable Jute bag is the, after a short use also cheaper alternative, long on the market. The jute bag is definitely also one of the Sustainable life hacks that our grandparents already used have applied.


Power consumption, data collection or tax tricks bring the most used search engine in the world again and again in the criticism. There is no reason why we should have to do without their services, which make our lives so much easier. Fortunately, there are also sustainable search engine alternatives. Here are two examples that you can safely make your default search engine:

  • Ecosia (plants a tree for about every 45th search query)
  • Gexsi (promotes sustainable environmental projects)

9. car, plane & co.

Just because flying by plane contributes significantly to global warming with its greenhouse gases doesn't mean that you should never fly on vacation again. However, it is important that you don't fly halfway around the world five times a year, but that you fly within your Climate Budgets stay that way. I have a few tips for you Flying as "sustainably" as possible compiled.

The Speed limit on freeways means an extreme cut in freedom for many people. They fear having to give up the freedom to drive as fast as they like. But they also refrain from endangering themselves and others. To leave their partner as a widow/widower and their children as orphans. And to blowing even more CO2 into the atmosphere, which would climate change that has consequences for all people - including yourself.

Nobody wants to ban driving itself either - by Electric cars and a environmentally friendly driving is only tried that Making driving more sustainable. At the same time, investments are being made in local public transport and cycle routes in cities to make the green alternatives to the car more attractive and safer. Sustainability therefore does not necessarily mean doing without, but rather a sensible change that benefits the general public.

Tip: Did you know that you can offset the greenhouse gas emissions caused by your lifestyle? You can find out more about this at CO2 compensation.


Sustainability without renunciation - water with lemons

Mineral water from plastic bottles is incredibly tasty, so you don't want to do without it. But it is also usually with Microplastics burdened, relatively expensive and heavy to carry. In addition, companies such as Nestlé under fire, because, among other things, they are privatizing water sources around the world and draining entire towns, such as Vittel in France.

The much cheaper, more convenient and more sustainable alternative is water from the tap. If the performance water is too boring for you, you can "upgrade" it with lemon, mint or herbs of your choice. The soda stream for your own kitchen is also a more environmentally friendly and cheaper alternative to water from plastic bottles, which is hundreds of times more expensive. So here too, sustainability is not associated with a real sacrifice.

Tip: You want to know how to live even more sustainably can? Then check out the linked post!

Sustainable without sacrifice - it's possible!

"If you want to live sustainably, you have to give up almost everything!" - Oh come on! 😉 Perhaps there isn't yet a sustainable alternative for every everyday product. Until there is, I can understand that it feels like a sacrifice. But this renunciation is then of a positive nature: you are refraining from destroying the planet at the expense of your own children and grandchildren, as well as at the expense of other people and living beings.

Often, however, it is habits that are not even really necessary that we are upset about being banned or restricted. That's why it's also important to simply live more minimalist. And this is definitely possible without reducing your quality of life.

Do you have any questions or suggestions about this article on sustainability without sacrifice? Then, as always, please write me a comment.

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: You want to learn more about environmentally conscious living and get rid of misconceptions? Then I'll give you my Free e-book "All the arguments against sustainable living".in which I refute the usual clichés. Have fun!

₁ BMU: Coffee-to-go cup, [07.05.2021].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

1 thought on “Nachhaltigkeit ohne Verzicht – 10 Beispiele dafür, dass es auch ohne Einschränkungen geht”

  1. First of all thank you very much mals for this great post!
    Basically, it's really great that there are so many alternatives! It is easier for everyone to look for alternatives and use them instead of doing without.
    But if you really want to live sustainably, you HAVE TO WAIVE. These alternatives are tempting. In the long run, it makes a small difference which straw you need. But if you really want to make a DIFFERENCE a CHANGE, you do without whenever possible. The most sustainable option is NOT a straw.

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