10 Everyday Things To Do To Help The Planet
Although switching off the lights when you leave the room or choosing an eco-friendly shampoo may not seem like you’re doing a lot to change the world, these little everyday steps can actually compound and make a huge impact on the environment.
There are plenty of everyday choices you can make to create a huge change in the health of our environment. Small actions can add up to a big impact, and everyone has the power to help save our planet.
A big player in helping the planet is reducing your use of plastics, whether it’s by investing in a reusable water bottle, using tote bags for your groceries, or simply saying no to single-use utensils when you get takeout.
You can also go green by reducing food waste at home as best you can, biking or walking around town (get that heart pumping!), and shopping from sustainable, eco-friendly companies.
Did you know?
Sixty million plastic water bottles are used each and every day, with the majority heading to landfills or litter on the street. That’s enough plastic to wrap around the entire Earth 190 times in a year! Not a good look...
Although switching off the lights when you leave the room or choosing an eco-friendly shampoo may not seem like you’re doing a lot to change the world, these little everyday steps can actually compound and make a huge impact on the environment. Just imagine if every person in the world could put just one of these ideas into practice, we would have a planet that was improving rather than deteriorating. Keep reading to learn the 10 easiest ways to help join the fight to save our environment.
Okay, you’ve definitely heard this one before. You’ve been hearing the phrase, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” since grade school, and you probably know that you can recycle paper products, cans, and bottles. But, did you know you can also recycle batteries, old electronics, and even tires? Every city has recycling regulations that’re just a tad different, so a quick search online can help you with the nitty-gritty of what’s allowable in your town.
Regardless of where you live, the benefits of recycling are well-known. Recycling can conserve natural resources, reduce landfill and water use, keep waste out of the environment, and protect our ecosystems. Recycling paper products means fewer trees need to be cut down, and recycling plastic means that less of it will make its way into our oceans, beaches, and waterways.
2. B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Bottle)
Do you know how many plastic water bottles are used each and every day? Sixty million. Let that number sink in for a minute. That’s 60 million water bottles that get used once (maybe twice) and thrown away. Hopefully, some get recycled, but the majority are going to end up sitting in landfills or littering our environment and water sources. By making a very small investment, you can get a reusable water bottle and save up to 1,500 plastic water bottles per year! That’s something you can be proud of. You can also take it a step further and bring your own coffee mug, cup, or tumbler to help support that daily iced coffee habit.
3. Use Your Legs
In a culture that has become reliant on cars to take us anywhere and everywhere, try exercising your legs by walking or biking. We’re not asking you to bike two hours to work each day, but you could examine some of your common routes and see which could be walkable. Is your grocery store less than a mile away? Try buying less at each visit and instead walk or bike to the store. If your city isn’t walkable or bike-friendly, utilize public transportation or carpooling to help offset your impact. Each time you use your legs instead of the gas pedal, you’re helping the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. Speaking of footprints, the more that you put onto the pavement leads to a more fit and healthy lifestyle. And, less fuel in the car means more money in your pocket. This one is a win-win-win.
4. Reduce Food Waste
Did you buy yet another head of lettuce that wilted before you got around to making that great big salad this week? While some food waste is inevitable, we definitely have room for improvement, since 40% of all food produced goes uneaten. Simple actions like planning your meals, only buying what you need, and utilizing smart storage can help reduce your food waste. For example, rinsing berries in vinegar and storing them dry in a paper towel can reduce mold growth, and storing your herbs stem-side-down in a cup with water in the fridge can keep them fresh and perky for days longer. Meal planning and writing down your grocery list can help ensure that you aren’t buying things you don’t need at the store (those three different bags of chips probably aren’t necessary). This one is another twofer: meal planning is healthy for both you and the environment.
Photo by David Fartek on Unsplash
5. Go Paperless
Whether you’re a student, office worker, or stay-at-home parent, you know there are dozens of ways that paper comes into our lives on a daily basis. Taking a few minutes to change all of your bills to the paperless option and opt-out of junk mail subscriptions can greatly reduce your daily paper usage. Don’t need that receipt? Just say no or have them send you one via email. (It’s probably just going to join the other sad receipts stuffed in your wallet or purse anyway, right?) For students and those in the workforce, think before you print. If it’s absolutely necessary to get it out on paper, try printing on both sides.
6. Join The Local Food Movement
Farmers’ markets, CSA (community-supported agriculture) boxes, and neighborhood gardens are all great ways to eat more local food. When your food doesn’t travel halfway across the world to get to your plate, you greatly reduce your environmental impact. The worldwide transport of food has made us reliant on the fact that we can eat strawberries in January, but we should rethink the way we eat. If you don’t have a green thumb, you can buy fresh produce at your local farmers’ market or join a farm box subscription.
7. Turn Off The Lights
Switching off the light when you leave a room and not leaving the water running while you brush your teeth are two everyday simple habits that can add up over time. Not only will your utility bill be lower, but flipping the switch will help to save energy, as well. You can also use dimmer switches at night, or even ditch the lights altogether for some cozy candle vibes. As for the time you spend toothbrushing, you’d be racking up 8 extra gallons of wasted water per day if you leave the water running for your A.M. and P.M. brush! Moral of this story: not in use? Turn it off!
8. Use Eco-Friendly Personal Care
Going green can apply to your bathroom and cleaning supplies, too! Luckily, more and more companies are paving the way for eco-friendly personal care. Chemical-laden shampoos and blue-dyed window cleaners are soon to be a thing of the past. Some areas where you can consider shopping for environmentally safe products include dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, bar soap, and household cleaners. To go even further, try using concentrated and refillable cleaners that reduce the need for using a new plastic container every time you run out.
9. Say No To Single-Use Plastic
Plastic grocery bags, take-out bags, plastic utensils, cold coffee cups, straws. All forms of plastic that most likely get used just once and then sent to a landfill to live out the rest of its long life. Most plastic is not biodegradable and will take years to decompose, which produces some pretty toxic chemicals along the way. So, an easy way to help the planet is by saying no to any single-use plastic you see coming your way. Time to become a tote bag collector, a bamboo fork-and-knife carrier, a dried goods bulk-buyer, and a reusable water bottle eco-warrior!
10. Shop Sustainably
More and more companies are doing their part to give back to the environment. We strive to help the planet by using minimal and plastic-free packaging, as well as using sustainably sourced materials for our blankets. When buying food products or apparel, looking for the Fair Trade Certified label can ensure you’re supporting the environment, as well as the farmer or worker who produced it. You can also look for companies that give back to the planet in some way, whether it’s supporting specific organizations. For instance, (and not to toot our own horn), but we plant a tree for every Tree Napper purchased, through One Tree Planted.