It can be hard to be more “green” and knowing what to change can be even harder.
No matter what website you go to (or article you read), there will be people who say they are doing the right thing, and others need to follow their lead – and other people saying they are wrong and to follow their green movement. It can be and is very confusing.
There is a huge spectrum of areas that are covered when talking about being more environmentally conscious. So, where to begin? I decided to start with 10 easy ideas – it doesn’t feel overwhelming and who can’t change 10 little things in their life (or 1 or 2)?
Recycle: It sounds easy, but you would be surprised how many people don’t recycle. Every year, on average, every person throws away 1,200 pounds of garbage (based on North American stats). That is a disgusting amount. To put it in perspective, you’re throwing away the weight of 10 teenage girls every year. In a family of four, 4,800 pounds are getting tossed each year. Every day, that family is throwing away 13 pounds of garbage.
Compost: Out of the 1,200 pounds of garbage that’s thrown away, 160 pounds of that is food waste. Food that could be composted and kept out of landfills and dumps.
Water Usage: Turn that tap off! While your brushing your teeth, doing dishes or anything else, turn off the tap if you’re not using the water at that particular moment. The unused water gets flushed down the drain to a water treatment plant where it takes them energy just to re-purpose the water. That water and energy can add up, especially if a million people leave the tap on for 2 minutes while they brush their teeth.
Flip the Switch: This is an easy habit to obtain; turn the lights off when you leave a room. I started doing this when I was very young and it’s stuck with me since. Not only can it save on your electric bills but you’ll be putting less carbon emissions into the environment.
Light-bulbs: Switching out your incandescent light bulbs for eco-friendly CFLs is not only good for the environment but can save you money as well. CFLs last about ten times longer than regular bulbs and use much less energy (giving you smaller electric bills).
Go cold: Do your laundry in the cold cycle! The amount of energy used to heat the water is about 90%. So give cold water a try – there are tons of detergents that boast working better with cold water (or if you make your own, the temperature shouldn’t make a difference).
BYOB: Bring your own bags! Put small purchases in your bag or purse if you don’t need a larger shopping bag. If you constantly forget your bags in the car, buy one that rolls into a little pouch and put that in your purse; even if you forget the rest you’ll save at least 1 plastic bag every time.
Unplug: Unplug any and all chargers or plugs you’re not using. Even if an item is turned off, it stills uses energy. Especially the ones with lights and little screens (microwaves, toaster oven, Keurig!). This is another easy habit to adapt and can save you on your hydro bill.
Go to the Market: Buying local food is not only good for local farmers, but it limits the amount of energy and gas used to transport items across the country (or world) to your dinner plate. Obviously not everything can be purchased at a farmer’s market, but many items can, so try your best to buy locally.
Quit it!: This one may be relatively obvious, and I know some people will not change. However, the smoke from cigarettes is 10 times more polluting than diesel fuel. Not only that, but tobacco fields are covered with pesticides. If you’re debating it already or thinking about starting please reconsider! Not only is it harmful for you, but it’s not helping environment in any way.
Obviously the best way to avoid excess waste and garbage is to abstain. Ask yourself, and I mean really debate with yourself, do you need the item? Or is it an item, 1 year from now, you will look at and decide you don’t need/want anymore. When buying anything, look at the longevity of the item. How long will that last compared to an item you may have to save for, but will ultimately last years longer.
And remember, not everything is going to change right away, it will take a while to get into the habits above. Pass on your ideas and these to your friends and family who may not be practicing them. Every little bit will help in the long run, and the more you spread the word, the more it is possible to help the environment (even if it’s just in a small way).
Hopefully this post was useful for you! And please add any suggestions or ideas below!
Now I’m off to the park (maybe the beach!), enjoy your Friday!