When you hear people talk about going green, they might mention carpooling or declining straws at restaurants. These are little changes that catch on quickly with your friends, so you’ve considered jumping in, too. Many people like the idea of living a sustainable lifestyle to help the Earth, but you might not know where to start.
Going green doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t need to sell your car or move off the grid to reduce your carbon footprint. After you start, you’ll figure out what works best for your lifestyle without disrupting your normal routine.
Check out these 11 easy ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, starting today. Try them out on your own, with your partner, or with friends and family. Anyone can use these tips to go green and enjoy knowing the planet is better because you tried something new.
1. Get a Recycling Bin
Use a few minutes of your free time to look up recycling services in your area. You may get curbside pickup or have to take cans and bottles to a collection center. Either way, get a recycling bin and learn how to separate what you throw out so you can reduce how much of your trash ends up in landfills.
2. Try Meatless Mondays
Unless you’re already a vegetarian or vegan, you probably enjoy meals centered on meat. Meatballs, burgers and fried chicken are all tasty foods, but they have a surprising impact on the environment.
The livestock sector creates greenhouse gases while it raises, slaughters and processes animals. The industry produces 65% of human-related nitrous oxide, which adds up to 9% of all CO2 produced by people. Skipping meat on Mondays reduces how much you help fund that industry. Eat meatless meals more often to make a significant impact, if it’s something you enjoy.
3. Skip the Plastic Bags
Whenever you check out at a store, the cashier puts your belongings in plastic bags. Ask them to skip that next time and bring reusable sacks so the plastic ones don’t waste away in landfills. You can buy them online or make them at home, depending on what fits your budget better.
4. Experiment With Composting
Think about how much garbage you make every day. You could compost some of that trash instead, which turns waste into fertilizer for your indoor plants or yard. This is an especially useful tip for anyone who considers themselves to have a green thumb.
5. Invest in Kitchen Towels
It’s tempting to restock on paper towels when you throw away the last roll, but invest in kitchen towels instead. They’re easy to wash, reusable and don’t require killing trees that would otherwise filter CO2 from the atmosphere.
6. Replace Your Windows
Every time your home cools or heats up, your HVAC unit turns on to bring it back to the setting on your thermostat. It’ll consume more energy to turn on more frequently if air leaks in through cracks around your windows. Replace your windows to stop leaks and add value to your home, since new versions are more attractive to potential buyers if you plan to move.
7. Shop at Consignment Shops
Before you head to the mall this weekend, think about how your shopping affects the planet. The apparel industry alone emits 10% of worldwide greenhouse gases, mostly because of fast fashion. Instead of feeding into a sector that produces clothes faster than it can sell them, buy from consignment shops to recycle clothing and reduce your environmental impact.
8. Decrease Water Usage
Worried about your water waste? Invest in a low-flow showerhead. It will reduce how much water you need in a single shower by at least half a gallon per minute. You can also time your showers, turn off the water while you brush your teeth, and reuse grey water, in order to keep water usage to a minimum.
9. Learn to Freeze Food
Everyone deals with leftovers every once and a while, but how often do you eat them? Stop throwing out rotten food stored in your fridge and learn to freeze leftovers so they will keep for months.
10. Research Your Personal Products
Certain personal products contain volatile organic compounds that produce ground-level CO2. Check products like toothpaste, makeup and deodorant, and switch to eco-friendly alternatives as these are better for your health and the planet.
11. Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle
The amount of money spent on plastic water bottles each year is astounding. Some estimate more than 200 billion (with a b) water bottles are used annually, with each American spending an average of $100 per year on plastic water bottles. Reusable water bottles are one of the simplest steps a person can take to become more eco-friendly. It saves money and helps the planet.
Start With Something Small
If you try to change your entire life overnight, you may quickly become overwhelmed. It’s better to start with something small when you want to live sustainably. Try these tips to ease you into the lifestyle and decide where you want to go from there.