With rapidly rising sea levels and increasing examples of extreme weather, we should all be focusing on how we can help reduce carbon emissions and therefore diminish the consequences of climate change, and hopefully someday rid the planet of this problem altogether. However, all of us are feeling comfortable with our typical routines and sometimes living a greener lifestyle means changes to these habits. Humans tend to be resistant to change, making it difficult to remember eco-friendly practices like opting for a reusable grocery bag instead of the standard plastic. But with dedication, we can make small, simple changes that can have a big impact on our world.
1. Reduce Your Energy Consumption
Energy is something that we take for granted because we’re so used to having access to lighting, heat and air conditioning and everyday appliances. However, one of the greatest things we can do for our planet is to be conscious of our energy use and try to reduce unnecessary consumption. Unplugging chargers when they are not being used is an easy way to do this. Many people will also unplug lights or other electronics that don’t need to have power running to them all day long. Invest in a power strip so that you can easily switch the power on and off to these devices and reduce your energy consumption.
While taking advantage of renewable energy sources is the best way to lower your energy use, there are plenty of ways to use traditional electricity and still save energy. Replace all of your light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs to reduce your consumption and also save money. These bulbs tend to be less expensive and last longer, saving you money in the long run.
2. Eliminate Single-Use Plastic from Your Daily Life
Making reusable water bottles, utensils and other products a part of your daily way of life is a super simple way to help the environment. Plastic water bottles have dozens of negative effects on the world from the production process to the way they are disposed of. During manufacturing, factories that create plastic water bottles give off harmful chemicals and toxins that are released into the atmosphere adding more carbon dioxide, increasing the Greenhouse Effect. Carrying a reusable bottle with you will greatly reduce the number of plastic bottles being produced and thrown away. Although these products should be recycled, it’s estimated that 60 million water bottles are thrown in the trash on a daily basis in America. Last year alone, a total of 22 billion plastic water bottles were sitting in landfills.
Aside from reusable water bottles, you should also try investing in some metal, reusable straws or skip the straw altogether when dining at a restaurant. This item is difficult to recycle because they are so small that they often get lost in the process—if they are even recycled in the first place. Getting rid of single-use reusable straws is one of the easiest ways to help the planet.
3. Opt for Eco-Friendly Packaging
Whether you’re a business owner who has to mail items often or just someone who tends to use plastic bags at the grocery store, you can select a more environmentally friendly option. Buy eco-friendly packaging for all of your shipping needs. Then, try to plan on bringing your reusable grocery bags next time you go shopping, decreasing the number of plastic bags being used. Although bringing a cloth shopping bag is a really easy way to reduce the amount of plastic, it can be difficult to get in the habit of doing, so try keeping your bags in your car to ensure you’ll have them with you when you need them.
4. Recycle Properly
Recycling is a really easy way to go green. In your home, you can make a space in your kitchen for all of your recyclables and get into the habit of separating them accordingly. These days, most people try their best to recycle, but not many people realize the correct way to recycle. Simply throwing everything in one bin is not enough. You should be separating paper products from glass, cans and plastic. It’s also important to rinse out your recyclables before tossing them in the bin because any items that are dirty cannot be recycled and facilities are often too overwhelmed to have the time or resources to wash every item.
5. Buy from Local Farmers and Food Suppliers
Large-scale factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to air pollution and carbon emissions. As the global population continues to rise, there is more demand for these large operations to produce more food. Many of these facilities create huge amounts of pollution that is released into the air, furthering the issue of climate change. Buying local helps to support your own community and sustainability efforts in your area. Also, most local farmers produce meat and other products that are healthier and fresher.
6. Ride Your Bike to Work
Traditional cars that run on gasoline are one of the biggest contributors to the Greenhouse Effect. The more you can minimize your use of fossil fuels, the more you reduce your carbon footprint, so riding your bike as much as possible is a great way to get some exercise and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. If you want to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions even more, you can invest in a hybrid or fully electric car. As more people become aware of climate change and want to live a green lifestyle, car manufacturers have started to produce a number of options for these types of automobiles promoting eco-friendly living.
Small Changes Do Make a Difference
If you want to go green, but you’re not sure where to start, try implementing small changes into your daily life. Cutting out single-use plastics is the perfect way to start. Bring your reusable grocery bags with you when you shop, carry a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles and invest in a metal straw or skip the straw altogether. When it comes to purchasing recycled materials, opt for recycled packing items and recycled paper. And, of course, learn how to properly recycle any plastics, cans, glass and paper goods. Every little bit counts so start living an eco-friendly life today. The Earth will thank you for it.