In recent years, environmental consciousness has been increasingly spreading among individuals and corporations across the globe. While many of us have become more aware of our ecological footprints, some aren’t quite ready yet to make the drastic lifestyle changes needed to go green and reduce the impact of human demand on Mother Nature. However, advancements in education, research, and technology have taught us that being more environmentally-friendly isn’t as hard as it seems; protecting the earth in whatever small ways we can go a long way toward keeping the environment healthy.
Here are a few baby steps you can take today to help you live a more environmentally conscious life.
Ditch Bottled Water
Bottled water doesn’t only cost a small fortune, but it also contributes to plastic pollution. Single-use plastic bottles usually end up in landfills and oceans, destroying the environment and killing wildlife. Instead of buying bottled water, invest in a water purifier for your home, and get a BPA-free, reusable water bottle that you can take with you wherever you. Both your wallet and the environment will thank you for it.
Use Canvas Bags when Grocery Shopping
Similar to disposable water bottles, plastic bags also contribute to plastic pollution. Those little bags you receive at the grocery store take hundreds of years to decompose. Use reusable canvas bags to carry your groceries instead; they’re more durable than the flimsy plastic ones anyway, and they can usually hold more items, so it’s a win-win situation.
Find Better Cleaning Substitutes
Swapping out your store-bought cleaners for green and organic substitutes can have a significant impact on the environment. Many people mistakenly believe that chemical-free cleaners aren’t effective, but they actually pack a punch to dirt and grime. You can even make your own, non-toxic home cleaning supplies. If you visit the site, you’ll see that you can use readily available ingredients in your homes, such as vinegar, baking soda, soap, and lemon, to make products like window cleaners, laundry detergents, and countertop disinfectants. DIY cleaning products aren’t just safer for the environment, but if you store them in glass containers, you’ll be producing zero plastic waste.
Switch to Energy Saving Bulbs
Traditional incandescent light bulbs result in higher electricity bills and carbon dioxide emissions. Light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs), compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), and halogen incandescent bulbs use less electricity and typically last much longer than their conventional counterparts, so by making the switch, you’ll be saving both energy and money.
Seal Your Windows and Doors
If your windows and doors aren’t properly sealed, air can constantly be leaking out of your home without you even knowing. As a result, hot air will escape through the small openings around your house during the winter, and vice versa during the summer. When that happens, your heating and cooling systems will have to work harder to compensate for the lost heat and cold, consequently using more energy. Sealing any gaps around your windows and doors will keep any cold drafts or hot air from blowing in the house, which, in turn, will help your HVAC system work more efficiently and prevent energy loss.
Cars and other automobiles emit greenhouse gases, which are the leading contributor to global warming and air pollution. If at all possible, try to walk or bike instead of driving to work. That way, you can reduce harmful emissions, save money on gas, and improve your fitness levels, all at the same time. Even if you bike to work just one day a week, you will ultimately reduce your carbon footprint significantly. If you can’t walk or bike, consider carpooling with a colleague who lives nearby or uses public transport instead.
Recycling is perhaps the most obvious way to save the environment. Try to buy as many recyclable products as you can, and avoid non-recyclable items, such as Styrofoam cups and Saran wrap. Dedicate a trash bin in your home to recyclable materials like paper and glass, and commit to keeping as much of your trash out of landfills as possible. Many cities and municipalities even offer pickup services to encourage citizens to start recycling, so check with your local government’s website to see what recycling and waste management services they offer. In a similar vein, you should also buy products made from recycled or biodegradable materials, such as wood, cotton, recycled metal, natural latex, and organic wool.
At the end of the day, taking small steps in the right direction is better than making no effort at all. So, even if you can’t make drastic changes to your lifestyle, the suggestions above are a step in the right direction. Start with the ones you can commit to today and cross the remaining steps off your list as you go. Going green is now easier than ever. Your contribution, no matter how small it may seem, will go a long way towards creating a better, safer, and cleaner environment.