5 Small Ways to Live a More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
Are you tired of living a wasteful lifestyle? Ready to make a change but not sure where to start? If so, you might be feeling more than a little overwhelmed. Living an eco-friendlier lifestyle is a big change, and when you are just starting out, trying to make those changes all at once can be extremely stressful.
The good news is that now that you’ve made the decision to make a change, the hardest part is already out of the way. Committing to change is a big step, so congratulate yourself for making it this far! Also, keep in mind that you don’t need to do anything drastic right away. Focus on starting off with small steps in the right direction. Here are a few small ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle that can have a big impact on our planet.
Use Canvas Bags Instead of Plastic
When you head to the grocery store, bring your own reusable canvas bags instead of using the plastic ones in the checkout lane. Plastic bags are incredibly wasteful and they don’t break down quickly in landfills. While reusable shopping bags will cost you a bit upfront, they will help you drastically reduce the amount of waste you create every single time you go shopping.
Canvas bags are sturdier than plastic bags, too, and they have several potential uses. In addition to using them when you go shopping, you can use them to store items, pack items when moving and more.
When you do need to use a plastic bag from the store, reuse or recycle it instead of throwing it away. They work well as liners for small garbage cans, for cleaning litter boxes and for dealing with other pet messes. If you choose to recycle your bags, many grocery stores have collection bins where you can drop them off.
Eat Less Meat
While you may not have considered changing your diet in an effort to reduce your impact on the environment, eating less meat can have a huge impact when you’re trying to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle. Presently, more than 30 percent of the Earth’s surface is being used to raise livestock. The United Nations also states that “the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2.”
By reducing your meat consumption, you are doing your part to reduce the emission of GWP gases. If people consume less meat, that also means that more land will remain available for recreation rather than being needed for livestock production. Consider eating more vegetables or even trying to go full vegan or vegetarian one or two days each week.
Use Less Energy at Home
There are a lot of ways to reduce your energy usage at home. In addition to protecting the environment, doing so could save you big on your energy bills. Start by raising your thermostat in the summer and lowering it in the winter. Adjusting the temperature inside your home by just a few degrees likely will not feel any different to you, but it can drastically reduce your energy consumption. When your appliances are not in use, unplug them. The same goes for cell phone chargers and other electronics since many devices draw electricity even when they are not in use. Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible and uses a clothesline or drying rack to dry them instead of putting them in the dryer.
As light bulbs burn out in your home, replace them with more eco-friendly ones. Compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, use significantly less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and they last up to five times longer. LED bulbs are a great choice, too.
Reducing your energy consumption at home is as easy as making a few small changes. Even remembering to switch off the lights and turn off the TV when you leave a room can help you be more eco-friendly.
Reduce Water Waste
In the United States, most of us have access to plenty of fresh, clean water. Unfortunately, we often take advantage of this vital resource. You can reduce your environmental impact by committing to using less water and purchasing less bottled water. Install low-flow shower heads and take shorter showers. Don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth or washing dishes. Only wash full loads of clothes or dishes (this reduces energy consumption, too!).
Instead of buying bottled water, invest in a water filter. Water filters remove contaminants from your tap water, and they can save you a lot of money in the long run. Using a water filter also means that you will never have to carry heavy cases of water in from the store.
Choose Environmentally Friendly Clothing
Even the clothes you wear can have an impact on the environment. When you go shopping for new shirts, look for ones that are made from 100 percent cotton. Cotton is a natural fiber, and 100 percent cotton clothing tends to need to be washed less frequently than clothing made from other materials. Look for responsible clothing companies that have made protecting the environment a primary concern.
When an article of clothing has reached the end of its lifespan, don’t throw it away. Cut it up to use as rags or in a craft project. If it’s still in good condition but you no longer wear it, donate it to charity.
Committing to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle is a big decision. You can fulfill that commitment, though, by taking several small steps that add up to huge changes. Embrace one thing at a time and soon you will be living a life that has much less impact on the environment.
By Brenda Kimble