23 June 2020

7 Easy Things You Can Do to Be More “Green”

green tote bagsAndrea Piacquadio / Pexels.com

Ready to live an eco-friendly lifestyle but not sure how to get started? You’re not alone. Great intentions can often be overwhelming at first. Fortunately, though, you can make a difference and start living a more “green” life in less than a day.

Whether you’re just starting to consider being “green”, or have been thinking about an eco-friendly lifestyle for a while now, here are seven easy ways to get you started.

1. Scale Back on Energy Usage

Scaling back on the energy you use at home is an important first step to being green. There are several easy ways to get started, so choose the one, or ones, that you can do right away.

• Keep an eye on your thermostat settings – raise it a few degrees in the summer, and lower it in the winter. Adjust your clothing to fit the season.

• Avoid phantom energy loss by unplugging appliances when not in use.

• Turn off lights in rooms you are not using.

• Switch to energy-saving light bulbs.

• Wash more clothes in cold water. Hang dry.

• Replace energy-draining appliances.

While you may not be in a position to swap out those appliances for more energy-efficient versions (Energy Star label) just yet, there are plenty of other easy steps you can take to scale back on energy usage. Start where you can, then add on later.

2. Reduce Water Consumption

Reducing the amount of water you consume on a daily basis is another way to help the environment. Here are a few simple suggestions on how to begin:

• Take shorter showers.

• Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and washing your face.

• Add barrels under gutters and drains to catch the rain. Water your indoor plants and outside garden with the water you collect.

• Install low-flow toilets and showerheads throughout your home. Check for WaterSense labels, an EPA standard for water efficiency.

• Be on the lookout for leaky pipes and faucets and repair them as soon as possible.

3. Give Up Plastic

Plastic is already choking the environment and filling up landfills. It is also making its way into waterways, threatening the animals that live there. Limiting the amount of plastic you use, and eventually toss, will go a long way in helping. Here are a few quick ways to cut down on the plastic you use:

• Take canvas tote bags with you on shopping trips.

• Give up plastic food storage bags and purchase a set of reusable containers.

• Avoid using plastic straws and utensils.

• Replace purchased bottled water with your own reusable water bottle. If your current tap water is undrinkable, buy a portable water filter, or consider a full house filter system.

4. Reduce Household Chemical Use

Harmful chemicals are released into the environment daily by thousands of households. You can help avoid this by reducing the number of chemicals you use, including:

• Household Cleaners. Switch to environmentally-friendly cleaning products or make your own. This can easily be done with simple ingredients already in your pantry, such as vinegar and baking soda.

• Pest Control Measures. If you hire someone to take care of the pest control measures in your home, ask them to use less harsh chemicals. If you do this yourself, conduct research on what environmentally-friendly products are available. Also, consider using natural pest control options.

• Lawn Care: Consider what you currently use for lawn maintenance, or talk to your lawn care providers. Look for eco-friendly choices.

5. Eat Less Meat

It may sound strange, but eating less meat will drastically help the environment. How so, you ask? Meat production requirements are high, including intensive land use, high water needs, and the use of chemicals. Vegetables and fruits require fewer natural resources in order to thrive, so consider adding more of them to your meals. Don’t worry; you can still eat your steak or pork chop, just do so less frequently.

6. Use Less Paper

Thanks to the innovations in digital technology, it is easier than ever to cut down on the amount of paper we use today. To save our trees and forests, consider doing the following:

• When cleaning, use cloths or old towels to clean with. Avoid using paper towels whenever possible.

• Eliminate or lower the amount of paper mail you receive. Use online billing when possible. Remove your name from lists to receive junk mail

If you must use paper, be sure to recycle it.

7. Reuse or Repurpose

Find ways to reuse or repurpose items around your house. Turn jars into vases, or use them to store nails, screws, and other items on your workbench. Use your imagination to find ways to limit trash. If you can’t use something again, donate it to a local group or thrift shop.

A few easy lifestyle changes can go a long way in protecting the environment. Start small, learn as you go, and soon you’ll be helping others get started on being green also.