Are you wondering what else you can do to be more eco-friendly? We’ve got you covered with an extensive list of habits to help the environment.
If you don’t already have a recycling bin through your city, go to your local utilities office and sign up for one for a nominal monthly fee (sometimes free depending on where you live). If your city doesn’t offer this service, take your recyclable goods to a local recycling facility.
2. Choose Compostable Packaging
Buy products that come packaged in compostable materials like paper or cardboard, or better than that, buy from companies that use zero packaging and ship in recycled boxes.
Ride sharing is an easy ritual with a big impact. In 2019, a study showed that over 76% of commuters drive alone. That’s a lot of toxic fumes!
4. Quit Using Plastic Straws
Go ahead and invest in some stainless steel reusable straws. Paper straws are also acceptable, but say goodbye to plastic straws, because they are a big contributor to pollution.
5. Buy Secondhand
Reduce waste by giving something a second life. Clothing, toys, storage containers, audio equipment, and books are just a few examples of items that can be found in great condition.
6. Eat Your Leftovers
Letting food go to waste is a no-no. Think about the amount of energy it takes to grow, package, ship, and stock the food you eat.
7. Start Composting
But hey, we aren’t perfect and the occasional food container goes unnoticed. However, less guilt will ensue if you start composting, and your leftovers can serve a new purpose. Make sure you research what is compostable and what isn’t.
8. Ditch the Pre-made Foods
Cook at home more. There are recipes for all skill levels and most basic meals need few ingredients. Take out containers and pre-made food containers use a lot of material and take up space in landfills. Lacking motivation? If you organize your kitchen efficiently, you’ll be more likely to use it.
9. Go to the Farmer’s Market
One easy way to avoid unnecessary packaging is to buy your produce and other natural goods at the farmer’s market. Don’t forget to bring your own bags.
10. Grow Your Own Food
Gardening is a wonderful habit! On a small scale, you can grow your own herbs in pots. If you have a yard, try growing some seasonal vegetables. Avoid big name brands, which are usually GMO. If you are growing from seed, Seed Savers Exchange is an amazing resource for heirloom seeds.
11. Eat a Plant Based Diet
Eating less meat helps the environment in several ways. When you do eat meat though, go to a butcher that uses paper instead of styrofoam or plastic packaging.
12. Eat Sustainable Seafood
Refer to consumer guides that will help you make smarter choices for sustainable seafood. Help curb overfishing and try underrated fish that are equally delicious.
13. Bring Your Lunch to Work
Eating out on your lunch break might feel like a get away, but if it’s nice outside, bring your lunch to work instead and eat it in a local park or community space.
14. Buy Reusable Shopping Bags
Single-use bags are soon to be something of the past as continuous research shows their harm to the environment. Purchase some reusable bags and keep them in your car so you don’t forget them.
15. Landscape With the Appropriate Plants
It’s a good idea to only grow plants in your yard that are indigenous to your area. Check out these growing zones to see what types of plants will flourish in your particular region.
16. Grow Plants For Bees
If you aren’t aware, bees are essential for our survival as humans. Grow some flowering plants for these pollinating friends.
17. Plant Some Trees
Create a new tradition for yourself and your loved ones by planting trees once a month or once a year. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen; without them the air would be toxic.
18. Reuse Your Teabags
You might think that teabags are single use, but you can actually use them 2 or 3 times and still extract a lot of flavor. Depending on the type of tea, used teabags also make a great spa treatment for your eyes.
19. Get a Charcoal Water Filter
Brita water filters are the most well known, but if you want to skip the plastic, Big Berkey Water Filters are stainless steel systems with plastic free charcoal filters.
20. Buy a Reusable Water Bottle
Now that you have clean filtered water, get a stainless steel reusable water bottle and say goodbye to single use plastic ones.
21. Time Your Showers
Showers are a luxury that we often take for granted. Time yourself to see how long you normally spend in the shower and then see if you can shave off a minute or two, eventually getting your routine under 10 minutes.
22. Flush Less
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “If it’s yellow let it mellow…” While this may sound gross to some of you, flushing every other time will save you a lot of water in the long run. Or you can invest in a dual-flush toilet, which uses less water for Number 1’s and more water for Number 2’s.
23. Use a Bidet
A bidet will virtually eliminate your use of toilet paper, which is a major contributor to deforestation and wasted water. Bidet options for your toilet range in price from the inexpensive Tushy bidet attachment, up to a couple hundred dollars for a luxurious Toto Washlet.
24. Harvest Rainwater
Invest in a rainwater tank, especially if you are a homeowner. You can connect the tank to your gutters, allowing you to collect a large amount of water to use for gardening, washing clothes, or even to filter into drinking water.
25. Let Some Natural Light in
In the winter months, open up all your curtains and blinds when the sun is out. The sun’s heat will slowly warm your house, allowing you to give the heater a rest.
26. LED Lightbulbs
When you do need to turn the lights on, use energy efficient LED bulbs; they last 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs, they won’t get overheated, and you will definitely use less electricity.
27. Line Dry Your Clothes First
Hanging your clothes to dry on a line or a drying rack is a great way to use less electricity. If you hate the semi stiff feeling of air dried clothes, fluff them up in the dryer for 5 minutes.
28. Switch to Energy Efficient Windows
If you’re a homeowner, switching out your old windows for energy efficient windows can cut down your electric bill significantly.
29. Energy Saving Dishwasher
Now manufacturers are competing for who can make the most eco friendly dishwasher. You can now buy relatively affordable appliances that use a small amount of water from start to finish. And in case you are wondering, using a dishwasher usually wastes less water than washing by hand.
30. Unplug Appliances When Not in Use
This is a great habit to get into and can save you money. Don’t unplug your refrigerator though!
31. Smart Storage
Rent from a self-storage facility that was converted from it’s previous use. New construction takes a toll on the environment, so choosing to store your stuff in a repurposed building will help encourage other companies to follow trend. Over the last few years, many vacant Sears and Kmart stores have been converted to self-storage.
32. Turn Your Thermostat Down or Buy a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats, like Nest, allow you to control the temperature remotely and are easily programmable to turn off or turn down at certain times of the day.
33. Open Your Doors and Windows
If it’s nice out, turn off the AC and let the fresh air in. This will benefit your wallet and your lungs.
34. Learn to Sew
Having the skill to mend your clothes is timeless. Saving items from being discarded or turning scrap fabric into something useful helps to reduce waste.
35. Dress Appropriately
Rather than turn the heat all the way up during the winter months, wear a warm jacket. In the summertime, you guessed it, wear less clothes.
36. Get a Hybrid or Electric Car
If you are looking to get a new car or trade yours in, get a hybrid or an electric car. With environmental concerns growing everyday, more hybrid/electric vehicle choices are becoming available.
37. Walk or Bike When You Can
If you live within walking or biking distance to local amenities, use your car less and reduce your carbon footprint.
38. Take Vacations Closer to Home
You don’t have to travel far to go on a vacation. The closer the destination, the less pollution.
39. Start a Monthly Trash Pick up Day
Invite your friends and members of your community to clean up trash in the local parks once or twice a month. Take turns organizing.
40. Use a Natural Bug Repellant
Buy or make insect repellent that is DEET free. Essential oils like citronella, peppermint, lemongrass, and lavender are a natural insect repellent. Mix your favorites in a spray bottle with water to deter annoying bugs.