Let’s face it. Our planet’s natural resources are diminishing at an alarming rate, air pollution is rising, species are going extinct every day, and with the amount of bad news out there, it can feel almost overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. In fact, there are some steps you can take to do your part and become a little more environmentally friendly in your life. Every little bit counts.
The first step in going green is to reduce your consumption of resources. This can be easier than you think. Start by taking a look at your utility bill. It can give you a glimpse at your rate of consumption compared to your peers.
Is your Heating bill too high? Seal your windows against the winter air with removable caulk, insulating foam liners, or plastic. Consider lowering the temperature on your thermostat and wearing more layers.
Electricity bill too high? Take a look at your lighting situation. According to Ygrene “an average household dedicates about 5% of its energy budget to lighting.” A change from incandescent bulbs to LED efficient lighting is an easy and fast way to quickly trim your electricity bill. Other ways to reduce your electricity consumption include unplugging appliances like televisions or microwaves when not in use or upgrading your older appliances into something that is Energy Star certified.
Using too much water? Replace your toilet or shower with a low-flow model. Run your dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand.
Another way you can reduce your consumption comes from your transportation choices. Riding a bus or train is much more environmentally friendly than driving yourself. If those aren’t feasible then perhaps you could carpool with coworkers or friends.
Reduce your paper consumption by switching over to electronic billing. Keep your printer unplugged and try to complete most of your work online. Not only will you have less clutter, but you will also be saving trees in the process.
The second step in going green is to start reusing more of your items. Here’s a list of easy things that can be reused or repurposed:
- Water bottles – Invest in a decent water bottle and filter and drink it straight from your tap. No more wasting plastic with single-use water bottles.
- Bags – Plastic bags are horrible for the environment. By investing in a few reusable bags you no longer have to worry about waste.
- Straws – single-use straws are an enormous waste of plastic and paper for people who simply don’t like drinking out of cups. If you absolutely need a straw, it might be a good idea to buy a metal one.
- Furniture – Instead of buying brand new furniture think about buying it second-hand. Not only will you be repurposing an old piece, but the vintage look is popular right now. Instead of throwing away your old furniture, see if you can’t repurpose it into something else.
- Clothes – Try buying clothes from a second-hand store instead of something brand new. Donate your old clothes instead of throwing them out. Learn how to sew so that you can patch or modify your clothes.
- Jars – Instead of throwing away old mason jars, consider turning them into cups, storage containers, or decorations.
The third step in a more environmentally friendly life is to start recycling. Almost everything which you can’t reuse is recyclable including paper, plastic, metal, and glass. When recycling rinse, wipe or scrape out food and drain out liquids. Recycle items loosely in your container without a bag.
If you have the space for it, start a compost pile for your leftover food.
Congratulations, if you’ve managed to follow these three steps, you are a much more environmentally friendly person than you were before, and mother nature thanks you. Your next step is to help others on their journey to becoming green. Remember “the longest journey starts with a single step.” Fighting climate change is difficult but every little bit counts. Good luck with your journey.