8 Ways to Live More “Green” This Year
Being sustainable isn’t all or nothing, start by being green when you can and slowly implement more sustainable ways into your life. From reusable bags to ditching the one-time plastics, implementing Meatless Mondays and even shopping local more often are all ways you can be more “green” this year and every year. Here are 8 ways I am going to start implementing or continue doing in my daily routines over the next year.
Ditch the bag
Next time you go food shopping or shopping anywhere, bring your own bags. You can get produce bags, shopping bags and pretty much any type of reusable bag. Produce bags are definitely one thing that I always forget about until I’m in the store and go to get veggies. Put some of these produce bags in your reusable shopping bag and leave them in your car so that you are more likely to remember using them.
Shop local, when you can
Think about how much goes into shipping. There are packaging, airplane and car fuel, extra energy if its needs to stay cold, and more depending on what it is that is being shipped. Go to your local farmer’s markets and get what is in season and fresh from your local farmers and artisans. Even taking the extra time to make an informed decision knowing where your products are coming from. Save the planet and support your local community all at the same time!
Donate & shop secondhand
Always donate your old clothes instead of throwing them out. Allow someone else the chance to use these clothes before they go into a landfill somewhere. Shopping secondhand is also a great way to find nice clothes (there can be some fun finds too) for half the cost and you’re helping to end the cycle of the landfill.
Plastic Tupperware (if you can’t switch to glass), use bamboo to-go forks, spoons, and knives instead of plastic and making the switch to reusable water bottles. Forgot your reusable shopping bag? Use the plastic bag or paper bag as a garbage bag at home. That way it isn’t just being thrown out. Want to stop buying and using plastic wrap? Try beeswax wrap. There are some really good reusable items meant for to-go or for at home and it’s pretty cool to think of all the different ways things can be used.
Cut down on food waste
There is so much food that we just throw out. A few things that you can do to cut down on food waste is to use items like peels and bones to make stocks for soup. If home-composting is a possibility for you, that is a great way to limit food waste. It’s a great way to sustainably reuse food waste you wouldn’t expect like some grains, egg shells and even coffee grounds. Another area that we waste food is buying more than we use or forgetting about food in our fridge that it goes bad and we just end up throwing it out. I love making stir-fries and making different recipes with all the things I have left in my fridge. Once a week, use up as many different items that you think will go bad soon.
Actively manage your utilities and transportation
Sustainability feels like such a global act, but small steps can really make an impact. Take inventory of your utilities, such as making note if you leave your heat or air on all day while you’re not home, do you leave the water running while you’re doing other things around the house. Water consumption and heat/ air are two areas that can be easy to make adjustments. Maybe when you leave the house for work in the morning, turn down the heat or air, don’t leave the water running to warm up before you dishes, maybe even get a timer for your heat and AC.
When it comes to transportation you can also make an impact. If you’re not willing to ditch the commute in whole, make sure to bundle your errands together so you get more done in one drive than taking your car out multiple times.
Think when you shop
Try and avoid plastic bottles and cans when you shop. Some things are inevitable, but if you cut out the canning and plastic and buy fresh, it can benefit both the planet and your health. Try and make what you can from fresh items and store them yourself in mason jars. This is a great way for you to save money, eat healthier and be more sustainable. This is also a great way to utilize in season and local produce.
You don’t have to go completely vegan or vegetarian to be more sustainable. Start by doing Meatless Mondays aka where you don’t eat any meat that day. Cut out some dairy products that you don’t need in your life or you don’t need to eat that day. The meat industry actually hurts the environment to a point, from the greenhouse gases to the shipping and handling and more. I don’t think you have to cut out meat or meat byproducts completely to make a difference, but I think eliminating some from your daily diet will.