Happy Earth Day everyone! The one day a year we can all pretend we're super green and justify ways in which we have helped in the last year. Earth Day is just a reminder of how we can do better. Sure we have good intentions and I'd like to think a lot of us have so called "green" practices but a lot of people out there just don't care enough and like convenience over Earth friendly day to day measures. Now I'm not an earthy-crunchy hippie but I do believe in taking some measures that can help. They aren't out of control or ridiculous even given the fact that my father is a super-recycler and I've been surrounded by that environment. I like to think I'm fairly reasonable and I personally am not one who's going to go there composting my waste. No thank you! With that being said, I have some simple things you can do in your day to day or weekly life that can make a difference, even if they are small. Everything helps! Here are some tips for how you can live a "greener" life:
1) Shop with reusable bags instead of using plastic or use paper bags.
*I understand this is a outrage to some who like the plastic bags to be used for carrying other things. I get it, I sometimes use them too but maybe try to use them only half the time instead of every single time you go to the store. Also opt out of getting a bag for the one item you purchased. You can't carry that by hand?*
2) Use energy-efficient light bulbs.
They take up less electricity when used and last you longer thus saving you money in the long run.
3) Use a coffee mug instead of disposable cups.
When you have your daily coffee or tea at work, bring your own mug or keep the mug at your office for regular use. This prevents having to use disposable cups that add to the trash pileup and ultimately go into landfills.
4) Walk to work or bike.
I understand we're not Seattle and a lot of cyclists on the road annoy us (me included), but if you literally live right down the street from your work, why not walk or cycle? For the rest of us who live miles and miles away, we have to drive or a good option is public transportation to cut down on fuel usage within the city. If you're heading out somewhere that is literally right around the corner, down the street, or not a far walk, just walk it! I do that all the time when going to a store or restaurant near my house. I could drive but I choose to walk. It's easier, healthier, and saves you the hassle of parking, and money on gas.
5) Use water wisely.
When using the water in your house, use it wisely. Examples: Don't run the shower water for minutes on end before you get in, you're wasting water, don't run the dishwater until it's full loaded thus making the most of the water you're using, and the same goes for doing the laundry. It might come as good news that some of the chores don't need to be done as often! Be smart about it.
6) Recycle, recycle, RECYCLE!
When possible, always recycle. As I mentioned my dad is like a superstar recycler and somehow has found things to recycle I never would have thought of. At times I think he goes overboard...but look for those extra things you can recycle in your house. Things such as tin cans (canned goods and soda cans), cardboard, newspapers, magazines, plastic bottles, glass bottles (beer bottles, wine bottles), etc. The cardboard comes in many forms which I found out from my dad...like toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, shopping bags, shoe boxes, etc. If you want like we do in my family, some of the recyclables we cash in for refunds/money, like those beer bottles or soda cans so if you want to help the environment and get some cash back, that's a win win! Just set aside a barrel for recyclable bottles/cans and walah!
7) Don't top off gas tank when the weather is hot.
This is an interesting one I did not realize until recently. It's probably not the end of the world if you do it but good to know and easily avoidable if you can. They say not to top off your tank in hot weather in case of fuel leakage on the ground that can evaporate in the hot weather and add to the air pollution. If you can top if up early in the morning or late at night when it's not in the heat of the day, it helps.
8) Use refillable water bottles.
It helps by limiting the production of plastic that is used. Plastic waste is really bad for the environment so if you do have some of those plastic water bottles, try to reuse them and refill them with tap water or filtered water from your fridge. Not only does it save you money but it's better waste management. In general it's good to have a durable, reusable water bottle that you can take to work, on the go, and working out.
All these little things can make a big difference! I get that some green practices like living in a "green" house or buying a Tesla can be unattainable and expensive but the list of these practices here are attainable for everyone! It just takes a little more mindfulness and willingness to do so. I hope these tips help you help the Earth and improve your daily living!