Whether it’s your basic New Year’s resolution or it’s a really big goal you want to pursue, being environmentally friendly is more achievable than ever before. With all of the buzz around the real economic benefits of going green, big companies, small mom-and-pop stores, and individual homeowners are beginning to take action.
The thought of changing your habits to reduce your carbon footprint can become overwhelming when you begin to analyze all the waste you produce each day. Don’t worry! Here are 10 simple steps you can implement into your daily life to help you become more eco-conscious in 2020.1
How to Be More Environmentally Friendly
1. Use LED Lightbulbs
The smallest tweak can make the biggest difference when changing to an environmentally friendly lifestyle and changing from regular lightbulbs to LED lightbulbs can be a minimal change that you can implement throughout your life without much effort. LED lightbulbs use less power, last longer and are available in a range of colors and designs to accommodate all of your lighting preferences. Why not make the switch?
2. Buy Local
If you have a farmer’s market nearby that you have wanted to visit but just never have, now is your chance to try local produce. Buying local helps reduce your “food miles,” the distance your food traveled – whether by plane, train, or automobile – to get to your plate. Lowering your food miles is a key component to shrinking your carbon footprint.3
Thus, when you purchase your groceries from a local farmer’s market or family-owned store, you are supporting local businesses, and it’s less likely that the food you are consuming has been treated with chemicals or pesticides.
3. Reuse and Reinvent
Do you have old t-shirts you haven’t worn in years? Instead of throwing them away, cut them up to use as a dishrag or face cloth. Americans alone produce 13 billion pounds of paper towel waste a year. If every family replaced one roll a week with an old t-shirt to use as a dishrag, it would make a huge impact on the number of paper towels that end up in landfills every year.4
4. Minimize Your Water Usage
Every time you turn on the sink to brush your teeth or start your next load of laundry, energy is used. This includes both heating and pumping the water you’re using. By reducing our water usage by even a fraction, we shrink our carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions.
We recommend taking shorter showers, turning the water off while you’re brushing your teeth, and washing small loads of dishes by hand (without constantly running the faucet). By making even the smallest change to your water habits, you are reducing your total water usage.
5. Swap, Don’t Shop
Did you know that Americans alone produce 16 million tons of textile waste a year? In 2020, try trading clothing, household items, and accessories with a family member, friend, or coworker instead of buying everything brand new. This way, you directly decrease the amount of waste caused by producing a single item of new, unworn clothing.5
Set up a gathering in your neighborhood where everyone trades clothes they don’t want or wear anymore for other clothes. You could build an entirely new wardrobe and spend little to no money!
6. Know Your Clothes
That being said, we know that clothes really do wear out. When you are shopping for new clothing, research where the clothes come from. Many clothing lines are trying to reduce their fabric waste, so finding a sustainable fashion line is easier than ever.
If possible, you should find a local designer or clothing shop that creates their clothes in-house. Not only are you supporting local designers, but you are simultaneously impacting the number of miles your clothes traveled to get to you.
7. Reconsider Your Hygiene Products
Examine your daily care routine and count how many pieces of plastic you use. The number might shock you, as a majority of hygiene products use single-use plastic packaging. Try switching to bar soap and bar shampoo, both of which last longer and are more environmentally friendly than bottled products.
8. Don’t Overbuy
The old adage “Your eyes were bigger than your stomach” rings true in most homes every day. Many people overbuy groceries each week, which means they throw away food that went bad before they had the chance to eat it.
We recommend planning your week of meals ahead of your trip to the grocery store. This helps you better evaluate the amount of food you need to buy, saving you money and reducing food waste.
9. Cut Down on Energy Usage
There is a direct correlation between your energy use and impact on the environment. When you consume less energy, you cut down the number of greenhouse gas emissions released by energy companies and power plants. This helps conserve the earth’s natural resources and protects the ecosystem from damage.
But we also know that technology isn’t going away. We need electricity for everyday life. Start with the little things: Unplug your phone after it’s fully charged, turn off the lights when you leave a room, and let your clothes air-dry instead of using the dryer.
10. Recycle, Recycle, and Recycle Some More!
Perhaps the simplest step to becoming more eco-friendly is to recycle. You can recycle more than you think, from cars to batteries to old technology. If you find a way to recycle everything instead of automatically throwing it away, you will reduce your amount of waste exponentially. This lowers the amount of greenhouse gas emissions being released every day by landfills all over the world.
If you have any questions about what you can and cannot recycle, contact your local waste disposal company for more detailed information.
By taking even the smallest step towards eco-friendly living, you are helping the environment. When you create an environmentally friendly daily routine, not only are you helping the planet, but you are helping yourself financially, physically, and mentally. Start creating a happier Earth in 2020!