HOW TO BE MORE ECO-FRIENDLY IN EVERYDAY LIFE
There’s never been an easier time to go a little greener in our everyday life. Even though we live in a world of fast-moving technological advances, people who are deciding to be more eco-friendly in their homes and at work are finding there are many simple ways to accomplish this. Whether it’s walking or biking more and driving their vehicles less, or heading to a local organic farmstand where they can stock up on vegetables each week, consumers are finding ways to be environmentally sustainable that fit their lifestyle. Here are some of the ways you can make changes that are better for the planet.
Recycling has been available for years in many communities, and it’s one of the easiest steps to take when you’re trying to make more environmentally-friendly decisions in your daily life. Recycling used items like paper, glass and certain plastics not only reduces pollution and saves energy, but it actually conserves natural resources. New products can be made from recycled materials. When this happens, it represents energy savings because those items do not have to be made from scratch.
In many areas, households can do their recycling curbside, by placing items in a designated bin which is then picked up by the weekly trash collection service. If this is not available, check to see if your local government has recycling stations set up in designated areas. If so, you can store recycling items in your own bins or bags at home, then take them to the centralized drop-off site closest to you at your convenience.
Purchase Second-Hand Items
We all have friends who love to search the racks at second-hand clothing stores to score those “vintage” finds to match their personal style. It makes good eco-sense to join them. But don’t stop there. Purchasing durable used items from online sites like †Craigslist®, eBay® and OfferUp® give you the opportunity to find things that you like, and feel good knowing you’re putting something to another use.
Second-hand items can be as durable as things you’d normally purchase new. Giving an item a second life can cut its carbon footprint in half. As savvy shoppers know, there are a list of things that are better to buy as used items. These include:
- Children’s clothes
- Books, including textbooks
- Small kitchen appliances
- Sports equipment
- Kids’ toys
Avoid Using Disposable Products
This one takes a little planning ahead, but can really move your sustainable lifestyle in the right direction. Start by thinking about all the disposable paper and plastic products that are in your life. This means all the take-out coffee and beverage cups, paper plates and plasticware. Make the simple switches one at a time. Start by using your own mug or drink container at your favorite coffee place and skip the disposable paper cup and heat sleeve. Pick up some compostable silverware and keep it in your car, or pack a few pieces of regular silverware that you can wash and reuse. The same goes for napkins and paper towels. Try switching to cloth napkins and small kitchen towels - even makeup remover cloths - which can all be tossed in the laundry.
Parents of infants can look at switching from disposable diapers to cloth diapers and easy-close covers. There is an up-front cost to buy the cloth diapers or sign up for a diaper service, but industry experts say cloth diapers will cost parents half as much, and also cut down on the family’s carbon footprint.
Switch To A Reusable Water Bottle
Mega packs of disposable plastic water bottles are everywhere these days. You can make a greener choice by opting for a reusable water bottle. It can go from home to work or school and back again and keep you hydrated all day long. You can fill it up from your tap before you leave each morning. This way, you’re cutting down on your disposable plastic and bottled water use at the same time.
If you find you are drinking more tap water than you normally do, you might want to consider purchasing a water filtration system to ensure better-tasting tap water. Look at convenient under-counter systems like the eSpring™ UV Water Purifier, which is designed to improve the taste and odor of water while allowing beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium and fluoride to pass through.
Change Out Light bulbs
This is a simple switch. Take a few minutes and change out your regular light bulbs, opting instead for LED bulbs that are shown to save energy. These bulbs also last longer, so you’ll be buying fewer bulbs for your whole house once you make the change.
Unplug Electronics and Shut Off Lights
A quick check around your home or office might reveal a lot of vampires – the electronic kind. That’s what we call electronics that are constantly plugged in when they’re not being used. In some homes, energy sucked up by unused electronics can lead to increases of a couple hundred dollars a year on your utility bills. Whether you’re talking about your kids’ laptops or the big stand mixer on your kitchen counter, unplug electronic items when you’re not using them. To make it easy, use power strips in areas where you have multiple items. That way, you can unplug the strip and conserve energy from several things at once.
Making decisions that are good for the environment can be done at home and at work, typically by tweaking just a few small things we do everyday. From how we get our coffee, where we shop and making changes that use less energy, we can make sustainable choices that are better for our planet.
†Craigslist® is a registered trademark of Craigslist, Inc. eBay® is a registered trademark of eBay Inc. OfferUp® is a registered trademark of Offerup Inc.
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