You’re going to have to start somewhere, right?
If you want to do your part in saving our world from pollution, climate change, and the overall destructive existence of human beings, one of the first things you can do is take a hard, truthful look at your everyday habits. If you sit down and really think about it, you’re likely to know that you’re using up natural resources and adding more than you would think to greenhouse gas emissions. That’s hopefully the reason why your on this page, and to guide you on your way, I have put together 8 ways to live more environmentally friendly.
The habits below are a good place to start with. It’s important to bear in mind that none of these habits can magically alter the whole state of our world. There are a lot of problems far larger than one person who leads to climate change and uses up our natural resources (and if you want to help make a change on a bigger level, getting politically active is a great way to do that). But doing your part to minimise your own carbon footprint in your everyday life is a small, very worthwhile step in the right direction.
1. Cherish Food, Don’t Waste It
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 30 to 40 per cent of the food supply in the U.S. is being wasted at the retail and customer levels. The food could help feed people suffering from hunger. It’s a waste of money—and a massive waste of environmental capital. When food is wasted, the soil, water, labour and energy used to produce, process, transport, prepare, store and dispose of food is also wasted. Moreover, according to the USDA, food discarded in landfills releases a large amount of methane, a greenhouse gas that leads to climate change. When you shop in a grocery store, stop buying more than you can eat until it goes bad. Shift food from the refrigerator to the freezer because you realise you’re not going to be able to consume it until it expires. Instead of tossing out the leftovers, get imaginative and combine them with other fresh ingredients to give them a delicious new life.
2. Buy Less Single-Use Plastics
Have you ever stopped to think about how many things you purchase are wrapped in or made of single-use plastics? Single-use plastics mean only that: plastic products that you use once and then throw away. According to the National Resources Defense Council, the vast majority of single-use plastics end up in landfills or the ocean. Plastic bags are one example, but so are plastic containers in which berries are sold, plastic utensils, plastic bottles of condiment, plastic bottles of water, and almost any other plastic packaging that you do not reuse. Make a deliberate effort to purchase products packaged in glass, a more environmentally friendly material. Bring your own glass jars to buy from the bulk section if your grocery store allows. Carry around a reusable bottle of water so you don’t need to buy plastic bottles.
3. Eat More Plant-Based Foods
Research shows that, of all types of meat we grow and consume, beef production has the greatest environmental impact—more greenhouse gases are released and more land and water is adversely affected than any other form of animal product. And while dairy, poultry, pork and eggs have slightly lower environmental impacts than beef, plant foods go one step further, having a two-to six-fold lower impact on land and greenhouse gas emissions than non-beef animal products. Reducing the intake of meat will help to reduce the environmental effects of your diet.
Sweet Earth Foods makes it simple to accept Meatless Mondays with a variety of sustainable, plant-based proteins. Swap meat from your favourite dishes with Mindful Chik’n, Awesome Burger and Awesome Grounds to get the same delicious meaty texture and taste of chicken and beef without meat. Each variety provides protein, and their Mindful Chik’n is a good source of fibre—another bonus for adding more plant-based foods to your menu.
4. Get In The Habit Of Composting
Composting food scraps and organic household and yard waste—paper, leaves, sawdust, to name a few—is a simple way to keep these products out of landfill sites, where they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Instead, by composting them, you lower your carbon footprint and end up with good, nutrient-rich soil. You can set up a compost at home (here’s how to do it properly) or check if your town or city provides a group composting programme.
5. Buy Secondhand Clothes
Reducing and reusing, according to the EPA, are the two most important things you can do to conserve natural resources. That’s because it takes a lot of energy and materials to create new pieces. Fast fashion makes it very enticing to always buy new clothes—they’re not costly, and it’s easy to keep up with fashion fads. But new clothes need fabrics, electricity, and a multitude of resources to manufacture. Buying gently worn clothes from thrift stores or resale websites is one way to keep your wardrobe fresh without expecting more from the world. On the other hand, make it a habit of reselling or donating clothing that is gently worn by yourself instead of tossing it into the garbage, where it will eventually make its way to the landfill.
6. Research Before You Shop
There are so many brands out there that are taking steps to be more environmentally friendly. Many clothing and shoe brands are now using recycled, recyclable or biodegradable fabrics in garments and packaging and investing in environmentally sustainable processes to save energy and waste at any point in the supply chain. Before you shop, do some company analysis. Look at what they are doing to reduce their environmental effects and offset their carbon footprint. It’s always best to cut back on buying new products in general, but if you’re going to do so, purchase from companies that are taking steps to do better.
7. Get Active, Walk or Bike To Work
Transportation is one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. According to the EPA, more than half of the transport-related emissions come from passenger vehicles—cars, SUVs, pick-up trucks and minivans. By driving your vehicle less and opting for more environmentally friendly transport, such as walking, biking or even public transport (if it is safe to do so), you can dramatically reduce your personal carbon footprint. If you don’t own a bike, see if your city or town has a bike-share programme, you can sign up and rent a bike to use while you’re on the road.
8. Use Water More Consciously
Water is a vital resource that many of us take for granted. According to the EPA, the average family will waste 180 gallons of water per week, or 9.400 gallons of water per year, simply from household leaks. Putting it in context: enough water for more than 300 loads of washing. Maintaining water is easy—it just takes some thought and the breaking of bad habits. Wait for the dishwasher to run until it’s completely loaded. If you’re hand-washing, don’t just let the water run—turn it off when you’re not vigorously rinsing something clean. The same thing when you brush your teeth. Check if your faucets, sinks, and toilets are leaking, and replace old fixtures with water-efficient ones. Not only is water conservation more environmentally friendly, but it’s also much more friendly on your bank account.
Thanks for reading 8 ways to live more environmentally friendly.