Climate change is all over the news these days but sometimes there's a disconnect between what's happening out there and what individuals can do to affect the 'bigger picture'.
Many people say they want to "go green", they want:
- to reduce air pollution,
- to eat clean, nutritious food,
- to enjoy waterways and beaches free of pollution,
- to reduce plastic waste
But many don't actually realise that each choice they make contributes to achieving these things.
There's also the matter of cost, as some have heard it’s expensive to be environmentally aware. But there are lots of ways you can be more sustainable without buying an electric car or replacing your roof with solar panels. It’s a lot easier than you may think, and we’ve got some great cost-effective practical tips to get you started to help you be a better earth citizen that won’t break the bank--and may save you money too!
1. Say “no” to bottled water
Almost 30 billion plastic water bottles are sold in the United States every year. Of those, less than a third of them are recycled. Most bottled water companies use tap water to fill their bottles, anyway, so why give them your money? Ways to go green include:
- Purchase a stainless steel water bottle to refill and reuse
- Drink water from your own tap or home filtration system
2. Stop being a typical wasteful 'consumer'
This is hard to do as we live in a highly consumerist society where we are taught to see our belongings and possessions as part of our identity, and advertising tells us that we must buy something in order to feel respected/loved/whole. But if we want to reduce the burden on our planet, we must stop using up precious resources. This ultimately means reducing demand AKA stop shopping so much!
The best way to avoid the consumer trap and bring home unnecessary items you don't really need is to avoid shopping, or at the very least replace your shopping habits with a more healthy habit such as volunteering at a charity, starting a veggie garden or catching up with your family and friends over a coffee.
3. Eat local, eat organic
Most commercial food travels far distances before you bring it home to the family. All of that gas and energy can seem like a waste when there is a local and healthier source nearby. Locally-grown, organic food is more nutritious, AND you’re helping to support your local economy, so it’s a win-win!
So head over to your nearest farmer's markets and get to know your local producers - you may just find that some chemical-free produce is actually cheaper than supermarket prices!
Related Post: 5 Things You Should Consider Before Going Organic
4. Use less gas
The less gas or petrol you use, the more money you save and the greener you are, right? Right. Here are some easy ways to help you cut down on your gas:
- Walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation to work.
- Inflate your tires. More air in your tires means more distance traveled per turn.
- Don’t speed. Driving slower can increase your MPG average and save you gas (and money).
5. Don’t buy, borrow
Checking out books and movies from the library can save you money and paper, ink and plastic from being wasted. Other things you may consider sharing are:
- Power tools. Get to know your neighbors, and free your garage of clutter!
- Baby items
- Formal wear
- Push bikes
Related Post: To Buy Nothing New
6. Recycle electronics
Electronic waste is a growing concern because our products contain metals like mercury and other toxins that can harm the earth. Here are a few ways you can help:
- Keep your cellphones, computers and other electronics as long as possible.
- Donate or recycle your products when the time comes to get rid of them.
Donating clothes, accessories and furniture can greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions because you won’t be adding to the landfill while new clothes are made. To get rid of your items the green way, try one of these methods:
- Give your items to a charity that accepts donations
- Take your items to a thrift store
- Or if you don't want to donate, have a yard sale and make some extra cash too!
8. Upgrade your insulation
Fixing leaky ducts, walls and windows can help reduce your energy usage by as much as 30 percent! If redoing insulation isn’t in your budget, try one of these very cost-effective remedies:
- Install a draft guard on your windows and doors.
- Use thermal shades. These window shades block the sun in the summer and help to retain heat in the winter.
9. Go meatless (for one day a week)
Research has suggested that by having at least one meat-free family meal a week, you can reduce as much carbon emission as driving an electric car. Raising livestock creates a lot of greenhouse gasses, so cutting back one night per week can make a huge difference.
The biggest 'plus' besides reducing environmental impact? You save lot of money as meat is pretty expensive to buy!
10. Leave your shoes at the door
This may come as a surprise, but taking your shoes off before walking around your home can actually improve the health of your whole family. By leaving your shoes at the door, you can prevent the spread of harsh chemicals like car exhaust and pesticides around your house--think of it like washing your hands before cooking! In addition, you won't need to mop the floor as much if you're prancing around with clean bare feet, saving you time, energy and reducing your need to buy eco cleaning products!
11. Eco-friendly home services
Whether you’re signing up for lawn care, pet grooming, pest control, or any other home service -- speak with the business you’re considering before you sign up, and get an idea of how green their services are. Right now, in 2017, there are green alternatives to almost anything. Choose a company that cares about the environment and makes a conscious effort to be more eco-friendly. And if you can guarantee that you'll be a regular customer - it's worth asking for a discount too!
These helpful tips were provided by EnviroCon Termite & Pest Control, an eco-friendly pest control company in the Houston area.
For more tips on becoming a better earth citizen, don't forget to sign-up to the weekly newsletter where you'll also receive a Sustainable Lifestyle Guide which lists over 100 eco tips to help you minimise your eco footprint! Click here to subscribe.