5 Easy Ways to Live a Greener Lifestyle
You’ve no doubt heard that you should “go green” by now, but what exactly does that mean? The notion of living a greener lifestyle is both appealing and daunting, which is enough to keep most people from even trying. The thing is, living a more eco-conscious lifestyle doesn’t have to be the drastic, expensive, and impossible change that it seems to be. In fact, there are lots of small choices you can make on a daily basis that will make your life greener before you know it. From quick and easy power saving tips to long-term investments or product swaps, there are enough eco-friendly options out there that you can find the ones that work best for you and still help make a difference.
Reuse and Recycle
We’re all taking proper care of our recyclables at this point (…right?), but how many things do you get rid of that are actually reusable? Glass jars are great reusable containers that come with lots of different daily items, and they prevent you from buying any more harmful plastic. You can also donate lots of old items like furniture and clothing that you may have otherwise simply thrown away. If something seems like it’s still got some life left in it, take that as a queue to find it a new purpose (whether that new purpose is with you or not). If you’re not quite sure what you can recycle and what you can’t, Heifer International made this handy visual guide to help you make sure everything ends up in the right place.
Switch to Reusable Shopping Bags
Most states have opted to “ban” the plastic bag by now, but the slightly sturdier counterparts that now cost some charge in addition to ending up in a landfill have replaced them. If you haven’t actually switched to reusable shopping and grocery bags yet, what are you waiting for?! Once you find some sturdy bags that you like and regularly to bring them to the store with you, you’ll never want to use one of those plastic disasters again. We like using canvas tote bags for their reliability, but you can find some great specific recommendations like this top 10 list from Women’s Health. A good way to get into the habit of using reusable bags is by buying lots of shopping bags and keeping them everywhere. Keep the bags in your car, at your desk, and near the front door. Any place you might need a reusable shopping bag, make sure that one is ready and waiting there for you.
Stop Buying Plastic Water Bottles
Not only are plastic water bottles expensive, but they are incredibly wasteful. Even if you recycle every last bottle that you use, that’s still a lot of bottles, and it’s a better idea to avoid the waste entirely and opt instead for something sustainable. Stainless steel insulated water bottles have been the popular trend in recent years, mainly because they come in cute colors and can keep a drink cold (or hot!) for hours. Hydro Flask is a popular high-quality brand that makes a variety of sizes and styles, but there are countless excellent options to choose from. The thermos-like qualities make these metal canteens extremely versatile as well as durable, allowing just one small investment to help you quit plastic water bottles for life.
Carry Reusable Straws
Plastic straws are one of the most harmful items to aquatic life, and there are already so many of them floating out in the ocean already. Help out a sea turtle and make a habit of carrying a reusable straw or two on your person. There are many alternative straws on the market made from different materials, the most popular of which are glass and stainless steel. Sustainable straws are compact and often come with sleek carrying cases so that you can toss them in your bag or wallet without worry. It might even be wise to carry a couple extras if you have the room, and then you loan when to a friend if they need it.
Monitor Lights & Appliances
Conserving energy at home is a popular way to go green because more than anything else on this list, it can save you money. There are countless ways to be more responsible with your energy consumption, from replacing old light bulbs with new LEDs to using a dimmer switch to keep the light levels low. It’s important not to leave any appliances running when they’re not needed, so it’s a good idea to stay on top of regulating the indoor temperature with ceiling fans and thermostat adjustments. For more tips on responsible energy consumption, check out this simple guide from Just Energy.