Human beings have done more irreparable damage to the earth in the last 25 years than in all the prior years, combined. That’s a pretty significant impact in such a short amount of time. Along with major legislation on a global level to help fight, counter, and reverse these changes, there are plenty of steps every individual can take to help ease the burden as well. While some are more life-changing and require quite a bit more effort, here are 8 simple steps to take that can help you live a life that’s just a bit more environmentally friendly!
- Carry a portable, reusable straw.
Straws have really been under the gun ever since that picture of the turtle with the straw stuck in its nose went viral. They use of them has become so under attack, that many restaurants either don’t offer them at all, only offer them by request, or now use glass or aluminum straws that can be reused. You can’t really count on them being offered anymore, but that’s probably a good thing. And yet, let’s be honest, there are certain drinks that just taste better through a straw! Keep your own, compact, reusable straw handy at all times in your pocket, purse, or on your keychain. With their convenient carrying case in various colors, this stainless steel straw is lightweight and BPA free.
- Follow recommended energy usage times.
There are certain times of the day and night that are ideal for washing clothes or for running the dishwasher. The time period between 3 and 8 pm on weeknights tend to be the highest periods of usage, as people are just getting home from work and handling business. During the summer, when the air conditioners are run more frequently, energy consumption levels can be at their highest. Running washers and dryers earlier in the morning or later in the evening are ideal and often help conserve energy. Check with your local energy provider to find out which hours are most ideal.
- Use refillable water canisters.
In an effort to eliminate the abundance of plastic that either ends up in the ocean or that needs to be recycled, the trend towards 18-24 ounce water containers has been on the rise. They’re convenient to carry to work, easy to refill, promote the drinking of more water, and many of them, like the Kool8 bottle, are insulated to keep cold fluids chilled and hot fluids warmed. They eliminate the need for plastics while still promoting healthy habits in an environmentally sound way. Kool8 was also recently included in the list of best gifts of 2019 from CoolThingsChicago.
- Install a low-water showerhead.
Low water showerheads slow the flow of water to allow you to save 40% more water each time you shower. Water conservation is a big step, especially in more draught ridden locations. Not to mention, installing a water-saving showerhead can also cut down on your water bill, saving you some money in the long run. The pressure isn’t necessarily the same, but the environmental impact is major.
- Replace lights with energy efficient bulbs.
As your bulbs are slowly dying out and needing to be replaced, start purchasing energy efficient bulbs to plug into the socket. Energy efficient bulbs require lower wattage, and not only cut down on energy usage in your home, but also cut down on electricity bill costs. Cutting down on energy can have a huge environmental impact, so the next time you notice some bulbs running low, invest in some long-lasting, eco-friendly LED light bulbs.
- Carry reusable shopping bags.
Whether you’re shopping at the mall, hitting up the market for groceries, or strolling through the farmers market on a Sunday, you’re going to need to put the goods in some bag before you head out. Some stores now charge customers for the use of plastic bags, some don’t even offer any at all. Come prepared no matter where you are by keeping some small, reusable, foldable, and durable bags. Eliminate the need for plastic or paper. These ones are cute, stylish, and made of durable material that will let you hold various amounts of goods.
- Purchase package-less toiletries and goods.
A lot of the steps one can take to become more environmentally friendly involve helping to eliminate the massive amount of plastic being made, processed, and purchased across the world. Another small step to accomplish this comes from purchasing shampoos and conditioners that don’t even need plastic packaging, but one’s that still do the job and do it well. Not only do these shampoos and conditioners come in convenient bars, but they don’t need any sort of packaging at all and they last for months.
- Eliminate red meat consumption to a few days a week.
Beef products are one of the largest contributors of methane gasses, which significantly damage the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. By eliminating your consumption of beef to a few days a week, one person can save significant amounts of gasses as well as all the other effects that come as part of the process of eating meat. It’s also healthier for your heart to eat less red meat.