You don’t have to think back very far to remember a time that you used something wasteful just because it was convenient, right? There’s no nice way to say it — humans are wasteful creatures of habit and convenience.
We drive our cars short distances, choose plastic over paper, drink from plastic straws, and just never find the time to get a carpool together.
It’s important that we keep the earth in mind even on days that aren’t Earth Day. It’s so important that we make the effort to keep the environment clean. We owe it to our children and our children’s children to do our part to keep the earth healthy for them.
That’s why we’ve made this list of:
15 things we can all do in our everyday lives to save the environment
Eat Veg Once a Week
Did you know it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef?
According to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, if the world went vegetarian, we would experience a 17% of reduction on methane and a 21% reduction in nitrous oxide. Also, 8% of the water supply we currently use for feeding livestock could go to relieving the pressure on the world’s water resources.
While it might not be feasible for you to be a vegetarian full time, consider cutting down your meat-filled meals. One night a week, go vegetarian instead!
Fix Your Light Bulbs
If every household in the US replaced one light bulb with a fluorescent bulb, it would equate to removing one million cars from the road. And that’s with just ONE light bulb!
The next time you’re at the store, pick up a few of the eco-friendly light bulbs and replace the ones in your house that doesn’t meet that standard. You won’t notice a difference and you’ll be changing the world.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating. Recycle paper, plastic, and glass. These items don’t belong in the trash can!
Recycling is one of the best and most important ways that you can have a positive impact on the world we live in today. Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases are released from garbage in landfill sites. And our landfill sites are filling up fast. We just don’t have the space for this waste.
When we choose to recycle, we are reducing the need for raw materials. We destroy less of the rainforest and preserve our natural resources. Recycled products also cost much less than those made with new, raw materials do.
Use Refillable Water Bottles
1.5 million barrels of oil are used every single year to create disposable water bottles. Instead of using them, choose a refillable water bottle instead. They make them inexpensive and easy to clean.
Use Your Dishwasher
It might seem counterintuitive, but the dishwasher actually uses less water than the traditional handwashing method. Save the wash for when you have a full load, but don’t be afraid to run that washer to save yourself some time and the environment some water.
Online Bill Pay
Almost all companies offer the chance to pay your bills online. Some even go so far as to offer discounts for it. When you opt out of paper bills, you can save the planet 23 pounds of wood and 29 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
Every year, businesses in the US throw away over 21 million tons of paper. That comes out to equal 175 pounds of paper for every office worker in the country.
Companies can help the environment by setting their printers to print double-sided, reusing paper as often as possible, and taking their paper waste to a recycling center.
Skip the Plastic Bags
It might not be convenient to carry reusable bags with you to the grocery store, but every year the US uses 84 billion plastic bags. These bags always end up in a landfill, and they aren’t biodegradable. They’re killing our oceans and our environment.
So, either opt for paper or carry a tote bag with you into the store to save the earth.
Consider Green Cleaning
Our cleaning supplies can harm the environment. Disposable plastic gloves, plastic jugs of harmful disinfectant, and dangerous chemicals are just a few of the negative impacts of our current cleaning routines. Consider making your own environmentally safe alternatives.
There are even green cleaning services out there today. They aim to decrease the carbon footprint of households around the world by using chemical-free cleaning products.
Learn more here about green cleaning services before hiring a housekeeper of your own.
Recycle Your Old Phone
Cell phones usually last around 18 months. This means that there are 130 million phones being tossed in the garbage every single year. If these phones get to a landfill, the batteries will create a toxic substance and release it into the environment.
If your phone is in good enough condition, you could sell it. Check in your area for donation options as well.
Before you toss out your phone, look for a place that will recycle it for you. there are some companies that offer cash in exchange, so you could still stand to earn a few bucks in the process.
Use Your Car Less
Instead of trying to run your errands a little at a time throughout the week, choose one big trip to get them all done. On a free day, go out and get all of your shopping done and spend more time at home.
Alternatively, if using a bicycle is an option in your area, use it! This is a great way to get exercise and save the environment at the same time.
If you have to use a car, consider carpooling with a group of friends. The goal is to get fewer vehicles on the street, and every effort helps.
Set Your Thermostat
If you are willing to keep your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree lower in the winter, you could save 10% on your energy bill. Aside from just being able to benefit your pocketbook, you could reduce your carbon footprint as well.
A programmable thermostat is a worthy investment to regulate your household temperature and make sure you’re doing your part to keep our earth clean.
Go Consignment Shopping
Instead of buying everything brand new, visit your local consignment store. There are plenty of second-hand items that look and work as good as new. This is another area that you could save money and the environment all at the same time.
Say No to Plastic Straws
There are some plastic straws that are being made with toxic or carcinogenic materials, even today. And a lot of these straws even claim to be made with recyclable materials. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re easy to recycle.
If people even bother putting plastic straws in the recycling bin, often times they’re just too light to be processed through sorting screens, which means they end up in landfills anyway.
This means that the drink that you just drank will stick around for 2,000 years. And what’s worse, these straws end up in our oceans at an alarming rate.
There are studies that say that by 2050, our oceans will be more filled with the weight of plastic than with the weight of fish. Straws are also easily ingestible by aquatic creatures and they can kill them.
It’s an easy choice to make. The next time you’re out, ask for no straw to be included and spread the word.
It’s always a good idea to reuse gift bags, bows, and tissue paper when you’re wrapping gifts. Save all of the gift wrappings you receive and use them again as many times as you can.
However, you can also reuse brown bags to wrap a gift. This gives you the opportunity to design your own wrapping paper or create a fun craft that your children can decorate. This not only helps to reuse as often and as much as possible, but it also creates a cute, unique gift wrapping idea that your friends and family will remember.
Did you know that the average person uses 2,200 napkins every single year? Multiply that by the number of people in the word and you get well over a billion pounds of napkins.
These napkins end up in landfills, of course.
The next time you need to wipe your hands or mouth, consider using a reusable napkin instead. When you’re in the bathroom only take one paper towel or let your hands air dry.
When you make an effort to use just one or two fewer napkins a day, you could save landfills a lot of space.
Save the Environment
These are just a few of the everyday measures we need to start taking as a society in order to save the environment. All of the changes we listed above are easy to make and require very little effort to do successfully. Make these changes today and ensure this earth is around for our future generations.
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