Every year when April 22 rolls around, Earth Day serves as a healthy reminder that even our most mundane activities can positively or negatively affect the environment. The way you eat, manage your house, and travel from place to place matter because the small choices you make can contribute to a greener future.
Below, find nine simple ideas to help you do your part for the environment.
Eat less meat — Cut back the quantities of meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy you consume and replace those foods with a more plant-based diet to reduce your impact on the environment. Go vegan, and you could shrink your carbon footprint by nearly 75%.
Compost your food waste — Instead of sending uneaten food to a landfill, give it a second life by making a compost heap. You can then use properly aged compost, comprised of vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, organic materials, and more, as a nourishing fertilizer for vegetables and flowers.
Buy less packaged foods — Think of how much plastic you buy and then throw away on a typical day. Plastic is terrible for the environment for multiple reasons. For a start, it can clutter up animal habitats and add to the issue of global warming. You can cut your plastic reliance by choosing loose fruits and vegetables instead of ultra-packaged foods, using reusable totes at the grocery store, or buying foods in bulk.
Buy energy-efficient light bulbs — You may want to give some extra thought to the light bulbs you use to illuminate your house and consider switching to energy-efficient CFL or LED lights. Not only can these lights cut down on waste by lasting longer, but they can also lower greenhouse gas emissions and save you money in the long term.
Be aware of appliance water waste — Appliances are one of the time-saving wonders of the modern world, but it’s key to make sure you’re using them responsibly. For the least amount of water waste possible, resolve never to run a half-load of laundry. When it comes to dishes, choose an energy-efficient dishwasher, which only uses 4 gallons of water per load, instead of the seemingly greener hand-washing option.
Use eco-friendly cleaning products — Just because it cleans doesn’t mean it’s green. Cleaning products containing volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, such as ammonia, phosphorous, and nitrogen, can wreak havoc on waterways and air quality. These ingredients may be common in cleaning products, but the smarter approach is to opt for environmentally friendly alternatives.
Walk or bike when possible — Don’t you love when good advice pulls double duty? Here’s an example. Opting to walk or cycle instead of driving when you need to go somewhere is not only healthy, but it can reduce your carbon footprint by .5 tons a year, even if you only switch up your car-reliant routine one day a week.
Carpool to work — Is walking or biking to your workplace not possible? Consider another potentially more realistic option: carpooling. By joining up with one or two other co-workers, you can all effectively reduce the number of cars on the road. Bonus: you get to cruise down that wide-open carpool lane.
Become an electric car family — While there are options to avoid using a car, many people choose to own one because of personal preference or convenience. If it’s within reach for you, consider purchasing a hybrid or fully electric vehicle. Both of these options produce fewer or no direct and lifecycle emissions.
Even one determined individual can have a significant impact on their environment with a few small lifestyle changes. This Earth Day and beyond, do your part for the earth by making one or more simple switches to the way you live your life.