Small Lifestyle Changes that Affect the Earth in a Big Way (Eco-Friendly Lifestyle)
Caring for the planet doesn’t have to be as difficult as you may think. While there are some environmentalists like Leonardo DiCaprio who have dedicated their lives to saving the Earth, it’s also possible for us non-Oscar winning folks to do our part in protecting the planet.
Transitioning to a more eco-friendly lifestyle may seem daunting at first, but it’s actually pretty easy. All you need to do is make small tweaks to your lifestyle that make a large impact on our planet. Once you implement these changes into your life, you’ll see how easy it can be to do good for the Earth, which in turn typically saves you money as well.
Here are 12 small lifestyle changes that affect the Earth in a big way.
Ever heard of the Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s basically a large portion of the ocean that is drowning in trash. And when I say large, I mean it’s three times the size of France. Guess what one of the top trash items is that fills the garbage patch? Plastic bottles. How can you help? Recycle.
Recycling is so easy that anyone can do it. All you need is some large trash bags or recycling bins to store your bottles in and when they get full, take them to a nearby recycling center. There is also the added bonus of getting money for recycling.
Also, recycling is not just for plastic bottles. You can also recycle aluminum cans, glass bottles, batteries, ink cartages, cell-phones, makeup products, electronics, cardboard and much more.
Not only are there environmental benefits to recycling, there are also economic benefits. Recycling creates jobs, reduces energy consumption, and cleans up communities. The benefits of recycling are endless, it’s an easy way to be eco-friendly, and the effects that it has on our planet are vital.
Did you know that appliances that are turned off but still plugged into an outlet continue to suck energy? Knowing that, do you have any appliances or devices plugged in that you aren’t currently using? Unplug it!
According to this article, Americans have 40 appliances plugged in on any given day. That’s a lot of energy being used for devices you aren’t using.
Aside from saving energy by unplugging, it also saves you money. Think about it. If you have appliances plugged in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that is constantly sucking energy, you’re unnecessarily spending more money each year on your electricity bill.
In case you aren’t sure what to unplug, here are some suggestions:
– Laptop charger
– Cell-phone charger
– Toaster Oven
– Coffee Maker
– DVD player
If you only need to wash a few items, it can wait. When you wash small loads, it takes up the same amount of energy when you wash full loads. Try scheduling a washday you know will work for you and your family. Also, sxaving your laundry for when you have full loads opposed to washing multiple small loads conserves water.
Water temperature also affects how eco-friendly your laundry day is. A lot of energy is used when heating up the temperature of the water. When you can, wash with cold water. Natural laundry detergent and wool dryer balls are also great eco friendly items. They are just as good and they are good for the environment.
We live in an era where virtually everything can be done online. Why not take advantage of that and go paperless with bills and general notices from businesses? Paperless billing makes it possible to pay for all your bills online or through phone apps. This also helps you to keep an accurate and detailed electronic trail of past bills.
In addition to signing up for paperless notices, opt out of receipts when given the option. Receipts typically end up in the trash so avoid them when possible. While you’re at it, cut down on the amount of junk mail you receive. Junk mail is just junk after all and we don’t want that. Cutting down on the use of paper is one of the best ways to be eco-friendly for our planet.
Here are some instructions on how to get rid of receiving junk mail.
Brushing Your Teeth
Do you brush your teeth twice a day? Don’t leave the water on while you’re doing it. It’s simple as that. It’s estimated that about 5 gallons of water is used when you leave the sink on while brushing your teeth. Imagine how much water you can save if you used minimal water when brushing your teeth. It will not only conserve water, but it will also reduce your water bill.
This may be hard for those who frequently have concerts in the shower and spend time winning arguments in their head. Cutting down on shower time is crazy important. While leaving the water running when you brush your teeth uses 5 gallons of water, long showers can use more than 70 gallons of water. The average American actually uses 25,000 gallons of water a year in showers alone. Not only is this much water usage unnecessary, in some locations it is extremely harmful.
As a California native, the constant drought we are in has been a somber reminder that water is limited. This has made it easier for me to transition into faster showers. Additionally, sometimes when I don’t want to get out of the shower as fast, I think about the 1 in 9 people who don’t have access to clean water. That stastics it reminds me of the privilege I have and to not abuse it by wasting gallons and gallons of water.
Plastic bags are everywhere. They are in our homes, on the streets, in the ocean, and in landfills taking anywhere from 400 – 1000 years to break down. While we can’t do much about the current plastic bags that are distributed all over the world, we can do something about how we handle them in the future.
The first thing to do is to reuse plastic bags around the house and at grocery stores. Since you probably have some plastic bags lying around, find a use for them instead of throwing them away.
The easy way to do this is to gather all the plastic bags you own and store them together. I store my plastic bags in a wine bag because it takes up little space and I can stuff a bunch into them. When I need to grab a bag, it’s easy to get one from the top.
Recently, in California, a law was passed to charge $0.10 per plastic bag used in stores. This has forced me and many others to bring tote bags with us when grocery shopping.
At first, it seemed like a big burdensome ordeal, but now I see the immense benefits of it and it has significantly cut down on my consumption of plastic bags. Even if your state doesn’t have these laws, it’s a good practice to get into if you want to do your part in protecting the planet.
Refillable Water Bottles
Remember how plastic water bottles make up the majority of the Pacific Garbage Patch? Well, one option is to recycle all plastic bottles you consume. The other option is to stop consuming plastic bottles altogether. To do this, all you need is a refillable water bottle or thermos.
There are so many options out there for different water bottle designs and that hold different ounces of water. I actually have multiple refillable bottles that hold from 8 ounces to 32 ounces. Ever since switching to refillable water bottles, I haven’t had to purchase a flat of water. The bonus is that I actually drink more water now than I ever did before.
Let’s be real. We aren’t getting rid of our smartphones anytime soon (at least I’m not). I know there is a lot of controversy on whether or not they are bad for the environment, but it’s literally impossible to convince the world to throw away their phone for the sake of the planet. So, might as well utilize them. Here are some ways how:
– Use the notes app vs. using paper notepads
– Get a streaming service or download music vs. buying albums
– Download e-tickets straight to your phone vs. printing them out
– Pay your bills through apps or online banking vs. paper bills mailed to your home
If you have to print paperwork or homework like I often do for work and school, print double-sided. This cuts back on the use of paper significantly. To make sure you never forget, set your printers settings to automatically print double-sided. Also, whenever possible, print single-spaced to conserve even more paper.
Being eco-friendly is easier than ever before with the shifts in the marketplace. Many brands and products are transitioning from chemical-based products to more natural alternatives.
There are two types of products to look out for. The first one is products and companies that use recycled material for their packaging. The second one is products that are all natural and use only organic material.
If you can find brands that are eco-friendly and work for you, you will be doing your part for the planet and benefiting from natural alternatives.
DIY Cleaning Products
I swear by DIY cleaning products. In fact, I have a blog post on how to clean your entire bathroom with just vinegar. Making your own cleaning products is easy, crazy cheap, and more effective than the chemical induced products on the market. It’s better for your surfaces.
Making your own products is also cost effective because you can make large batches for practically pennies and it lasts for months and months. Honestly, it’s amazing.
These 12 lifestyle changes are not only possible, they are easy. I have personally worked on implementing these 12 steps into my life and now my eco-friendly conscious acts as a reminder to do my part for the planet. It’s important for us to love Earth and remember that this is the only home we get. We need to treat it right!
Are you eco-friendly? If so, let me know how you do your part for the planet! Happy recycling friends.