8 Eco-Friendly Practices You Can Add to Your Life Now
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Have you been thinking about ways you can add sustainability to your life? You can do so many things to help the environment, but it can be overwhelming if you’re handed a list of 100 things to do!
When you choose to be environmentally friendly, you consciously alter how you’re living your life to make it better for the environment. So much of what humans do impact the environment in negative ways, whether it be wasting energy, littering or polluting the air, and we all contribute — not one person or home or business is responsible — we all are.
That’s why it’s important to begin with small steps. Here are eight eco-friendly practices you can add to your life now to make the earth a better, healthier place to live.
1. Turn Off the Lights
How often do you turn on a light switch and then leave it for hours without even being in that room? Many people are culprits of this, and it is even accidental most of the time. Any time you leave a room, try to remember to turn off the lights.
Even if you are occupying a room and need light, simply open the curtains. Let in the natural light instead of flipping the switch. The sun provides natural, bright light, and it can help heat your home. Plus, it saves energy.
When you need to use artificial light, check your bulbs to see if they’re energy-efficient, like LED light bulbs. If they’re not, switch them out!
Another simple practice you can add to your life is recycling! Grab yourself a blue box and recycle any materials that are safe to recycle.
Paper, plastics, batteries and glass are just a few of the common recyclable materials. Each time an item is recycled, it has a lesser chance of being thrown into landfills. Check with your local recycling center to ensure that they can take in certain recyclable items.
3. Limit Food Waste
Americans throw away so much food that it takes up the most space in landfills. Out of the total food supply, about 30-40% of it goes to waste. There are a few simple ways to limit your food waste:
- Write a shopping list before going to the store to know exactly what you need for the week.
- Check your pantries and fridge before shopping so you don’t have too much of one item that it goes to waste.
- Use your refrigerator, freezer and tightly-sealed containers to keep food fresh longer.
- Create new and fun dishes with leftovers.
When food goes to waste, the energy to create it goes to waste. The less food wasted, the less energy is wasted!
4. Shop Local
If possible, shop local. During the summer and fall, get your fruits and vegetables from local farmers. Additionally, support local businesses throughout the rest of the year.
When you shop local, the items you purchase don’t have to travel as far to get from the source to your home. That means less fuel is needed for transportation, therefore limiting carbon emissions, and your produce will be fresher!
5. Avoid Single-Use Plastics
Does it seem like everywhere you go, you see plastic straws, silverware and bags? Plastic seems to be in every part of a person’s daily life, but you can find ways to avoid it.
For example, you can use reusable items, like canvas bags when you go grocery shopping or a metal straw for drinks. Tons of plastic waste enter the environment every year, especially into the ocean. By limiting your plastic use, you’re helping the environment.
6. Eat Less Meat
You don’t have to go completely vegetarian or vegan to be eco-friendly. What you can do is just cut back on the amount of meat you consume.
You could implement a “meatless Monday” into your routine and load up your plate with more plant-based items. Meat production contributes to climate change, so if everyone ate just a little bit less meat, the planet would greatly benefit.
7. Travel Efficiently
How often do you drive your car and you’re the only person in it? You’re not alone, but that way of traveling is more harmful to the environment than helpful.
Instead of driving solo, take public transportation, carpool, ride a bike or walk! Additionally, you can choose more fuel-efficient vehicles like an electric car.
Compost is an organic fertilizer you can add to your plants to give them the necessary nutrients to grow. Much of home compost is made up of food scraps or dead leaves that you can put into a compost bin. Instead of throwing away those scraps, you can turn them into plant food.
Composting both renews your soil and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers that can be harmful to the environment. It’s an eco-friendly practice that anyone can participate in. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can donate your compost to a local farmer or neighbor with a garden.
Eco-Friendly Practices Anyone Can Do
With a mindset change, you can easily add these eco-friendly practices into your daily routine. You don’t have to do them all at once — sustainability takes time, but it’s well worth it to help the environment in any way possible.
How will you start living more sustainably?
About the author
Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.