New year, smaller impact: How to consume sustainably in 2017

Someone throws a plastic water bottle into a blue recycling container.ASU School of Sustainability instructor Brigitte Bavousett spoke with ASU Now to break down the basics of sustainable consumption and lend insight into lesser-known tactics for reducing our carbon footprints. Bavousett recommends avoiding products with palm oil, as well as seeking out clothing made with sustainable materials or purchasing clothing at thrift stores. She also insists on avoiding plastic when making purchases. This includes rejecting plastic packaging and bringing reusable bags or requesting paper at check-out. Bavousett expresses that although sustainable alternatives receive criticism for being more expensive, their benefits far outweigh their financial costs. "Yes, organic foods often cost more up front, but if you’re saving health care costs by not ingesting as many additives, chemicals or pesticides, you’re better off," she says. "The costs of solar and wind are coming down, and – as always – renewable energies are less expensive in the long run due to the external costs of fossil fuels." Bavousett recommends several blogs – including and – to help consumers stay informed.