10 Simple Ways You Can Go Green Today
For many, the idea of “going green” can be daunting, especially when you’re not sure where to start. The great news is you don’t need to make huge lifestyle changes in order to help save the environment. In fact, even the simplest of changes can have a pretty big impact if you combine it all together. There might already be some tips you are already following, but consider adding two or three more to your routine. Below are 10 simple things you can do today to help improve your impact on the Earth.
Change Your Lightbulbs
If you’re still using incandescent lightbulbs, now is the time to switch over to compact fluorescents (CFL) or LEDs. Both of these use significantly less power and also last a whole lot longer than your average bulb. Plus the technology is improving on both rapidly in terms of light color and safety. You can now find more natural looking CFLs and there are also options that do not contain mercury. LEDs are also improving over the years and use even less electricity than CFLs. The only downside is they produce one-directional light making them better for recessed lighting instead of lamps or light fixtures.
Turn Off Your Electronics at Night
The simple act of simply turning off your electronics can go a long way in your path to becoming eco-friendly. Simply turning off your computer at the end of the night can save you around 1.3 kilowatts/hour. At around 8 hours that means you’re saving 10.4 kilowatts/hour per day. Depending on your energy cost, this can mean you save around $1.15 a day. While this might not seem like a lot, when you factor it in for a year, you’re not only saving a ton of energy but a good chunk of change as well and this is just for your computer. If you make sure to turn off your other appliances you can reduce your energy consumption even further. For many electronic devices this might mean unplugging them completely as generally they are in “sleep” mode when off.
It can be tempting to just throw your wet laundry into the dryer, but putting aside a little more time to hang them up either instead or outside can actually improve your carbon footprint. Not only will you decrease your energy consumption, you’ll also be treating your clothes better. Your favorite shirts and tees will retain their color and also last a lot longer as they won’t be treated with the high heat and rough handling from the dryer.
Eat Less Meat
If you’re not a vegan or vegetarian, one of the easiest ways to decrease your carbon footprint is to simply eat less meat. If you’re just getting started you don’t necessarily need to cut it out of your diet completely. Instead, start off slowly by taking part in the Meatless Monday event. Reducing meat consumption has numerous benefits besides environmental including: reduced risk of heart disease, lowered cancer risk and reduced grocery bills. Of course, the environmental impact itself is well worth the effort. Meat production produces significantly more greenhouse gases than vegetables also uses more fossil energy. If one person eats one less burger a week, at the end of the year it is the same as him/her not driving 515 kilometers.
Take Shorter Showers
Simply reducing your shower by two minutes can conserve more than 37 liters of water. Try to get your time down as much as possible. If you have family members, make it a competition. Whoever takes the longest shower has to take out the trash or whatever other chore. This will definitely encourage people to go a little faster. If you can, try to save the water from your shower and use this to water your lawn and garden.
Buy Used When Possible
You can get everything used from appliances to clothes either at flea markets, thrift stores or even online outlets. When buying used, make sure to inspect the product and, if you’re buying directly from the seller, ask any questions about the product before making the purchase. You’ll be saving a lot of money this way and reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills.
Buy a Thermos
If you have a daily coffee habit, instead of going into a coffee shop, whip up your own at home and put it in a thermos. You’re saving money and reducing the amount of waste you produce. As a bonus, you can refill the thermos with regular water or even soup if you like. The best part is if you don’t have time to make your own coffee you can always ask coffee shops to refill your thermos. Many often offer a discount if you bring your own container.
Create a Natural Weed Killer
Those store-brand weed killers are, as you would expect, full of dangerous pollutants. Instead, make your own by mixing in some vinegar, salt and dishwashing soap. This does a great job at getting rid of unwanted weeds and keeping future ones from popping back up. For more stubborn weeds, sometimes the only way to get to them is to turn the dirt completely and then cover with mulch to destroy the roots and prevent the weed from getting sunlight.
Recycle Your Plastic Shopping Bags
Many areas now have recycling bins for shopping bags. If you have no use for them, it might be time to gather them all up and recycle. Once they’re all gone, purchase some reusable shopping bags so you never have to deal with another plastic shopping bag again.
Create Your Own Compost
Making your own compost isn’t as daunting as it might seem, though it does take some preparation. Still, it’s a great way to make excellent fertilizer for your garden and reduce the amount of waste you produce since it uses food scraps and things like paper, cardboard and leaves. There are plenty of great resources on how to start and maintain your own compost bin.
There are hundreds of other ways you can reduce your overall impact on the planet and most of these might seem incredibly simple, but can make a world of difference if everyone followed them.