Living Life To The Greenest: Sustainability Trends Of 2024

Environmental sustainability is a hotter topic than ever in 2024. While one small change from a consumer won’t mean much, many small changes across the world will have the impact we want to see.

But sustainability isn’t just a consumer-focused idea. For real change, companies and governments must be involved, too. To keep you updated, here are some of the biggest sustainability trends in 2024 for all levels of involvement.

Hottest Sustainability Trends of 2024

1. Consumer Minimalism

While it’s not taking off everywhere, there’s a growing trend for consumer minimalism. But what does this mean? Simply put, it involves not buying what you don’t need and investing in higher-quality, longer-lasting goods or simply needing less 'things' in life.

A perfect example is clothing. Those with environmental sustainability in mind are opting for clothing that lasts or for repairing things past their best. Of course, one small change you could make (if you haven’t already) is to steer well clear of fast fashion retailers.

2. Business Accountability

One of the biggest driving forces behind environmental sustainability is customers holding businesses accountable for their actions. How does this happen? With spending power, of course.

If major companies see customers opting for no waste, sustainable products, it shouldn’t be too long before there’s a major shift. Plenty of companies are gradually moving to sustainable packaging and more environmentally-friendly products, but consumers can speed this up by showing them what makes money in 2024.

3. Renewable Energy Becoming More Readily Available

This is a bit of a difficult one to explain considering the current state of the energy market worldwide, but as a global trend, renewable energy is becoming more widely available and (comparatively) cheaper.

A 2020 report showed promising trends for renewable energy, which now accounts for almost half of the energy used worldwide. By 2025, it’ll have exceeded the use of coal and gas.

Currently, coal and gas are what’s forcing UK energy prices up. Renewable energy won’t change in price as much because, it’s renewable and can be produced locally. Whilst the current energy issues are no laughing matter for anyone and effecting all of us on some level, hopefully the end result, will be a greater focus on renewables.

4. Working from Home

Working from home seems like a clear winner from an environmental sustainability perspective, right? According to Harvard Business Review and the BBC, it might not be as clear-cut as you’d expect.

From a transport perspective, working from home definitely comes out on top. After all, if fewer people are travelling to work, it automatically means fewer vehicles on the road. Until electric cars become mainstream, this is a good thing.

But the issue comes from things like heating and technology costs. Heating the homes of 500 employees is more expensive and less sustainable than heating a single office building.

A different consideration with a different winner. Either way, working from home is a trend that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Importantly, it could be the push businesses need to develop a more sustainable working culture.

5. Using On-Demand Apps

Some on-demand apps really aren’t helpful from a sustainability perspective. Something like Uber seems helpful on the surface, but actually ended up adding more cars to the road and making congestion worse.

But one category of apps could help with sustainability: food waste. The UK throws away 9.5 million tonnes of food a year, plenty of which is perfectly edible. Luckily, there’s a growing trend for apps that connect people who want to buy it with companies throwing it away.

A great example is Too Good To Go, which has partnered with major retailers including Costa and Co-Op. Other major companies have started giving food to charities, thanks in part to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s waste campaign.

However, we approach it, food waste is a massive sustainability issue and solutions will play a big role in 2024.

6. Becoming a No Waste Household

Many of us are a long way off from being no waste households, but there are clear changes we can make to get the ball rolling. One is to focus on buying no waste (or low waste) household products, including everything from cleaning to oral care. This fits in with our second point, as it’ll show companies where the money is.

Also, consider shopping at zero waste shops if you don’t already. They’re becoming far more popular in 2024 and you’ve likely got one closer than you think. You take your own containers and fill up on cleaning products and dried goods.

Then, for things they don’t sell (like fresh food), be conscious about where you shop. Grocers usually let you buy things without packaging and if you’re feeling really green, you can probably sort something out with a local butcher about their packaging.

Small businesses are better suited to embrace the shift to no waste, so pay attention to them and see what arrangements you can make.

7. Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsetting is the process of buying or investing in a company that makes up for CO2 emissions. It’s not something consumers really need to do, but it’s worth knowing about for the businesses you buy from.

In short, a company (say, a clothing manufacturer) produces carbon as it creates products. It then buys credits from a company that plants trees or other carbon capture efforts. The result is that the clothing company is officially climate neutral in terms of emissions.

This already exists and is often seen as greenwashing. However, there’s a growing trend for credible carbon offsetting projects, so, one small change you can make is to see how your chosen companies offset their carbon.

Being Sustainable in 2024

Sustainability is about being smarter with what you buy and how you use it. There are plenty of small changes we can all make in the products we use around the home. Check our piece here on Green Living with the Crew for top tips on how to make your household greener for the whole family.