These days a lot more people are looking to be a little greener and I’m loving it. The environmentally unconscious are waking up and trying their hardest to leave a smaller footprint on the Earth. Unfortunately if you search how to go green on Pinterest or the internet it gives you these wild and tough to reach goals that might discourage a lot of people. Here’s some simple ways to lessen your impact on the Earth and save a little green in your pocket while you’re at it.
Some of the things on this list require a beginning investment but will cost you nothing or next to nothing in the long run so they’re well worth considering.
- Buy yourself a battery charger and rechargeable batteries. With how often we were tossing out batteries from the Leap Pad, my camera and the TV remotes this was a no brainer. Batteries are expensive and unless they’re disposed of in the proper place, they wind up in landfills and their harmful acidic insides leak into the Earth. Ew!
- Stop buying disposable cups and plates and opt for more ceramic or glass ones instead. Paper serve wear might be convenient and save you from doing dishes once in a while but they’re ultimately costing you a lot of money and they’re not particularly Earth friendly. In 2003, 970 thousand tons of paper cups and plates were discarded into landfills (EPA). 730 thousand tons of Styrofoam and plastic plates and cups (710 thousand tons were Styrofoam) were disposed in 2003 as well. That’s a lot of landfill and wasted cash.
- Use environmentally friendly products. Chemical free cleaners and body products stop you from washing harmful chemicals down the drain. Make your own DIY household products and what beauty products you can or purchase from all natural or organic companies. Check out these facts from onegreenplanet.org:
- Stop treating your lawn! I cannot stress this one enough. Grass grows just fine in nature without all of the chemicals people spray and dump on it. There is no reason to try and prevent weeds or bugs from ever crossing the threshold of your landscape. Stop trying to keep up with the Jones and let the dandelions grow, it’ll keep more money in your pocket and less chemicals will run off into our water supply. That’s what I call a win-win.
- Make/buy a countertop compost bin or one for the backyard. You can’t imagine all of the things that you toss in the trash that could actually be churned up into some super sweet potting soil. I used an oversized cheeseball container to make mine. Simply remove the labels, poke some holes in the lid to let air out and fit a small filter (or a folded paper towel) inside of the lid to keep the stink in. Check out this list of 163 things you can compost from planetea.com.
- No more bottled water. Buying a few sports bottles and a water pitcher with a filter can save you a lot of loot and significantly shrink your footprint. Curious how many plastic bottles were used just last year? 50 billion! In the United States alone that’s about 1,500 per second! Ditch the disposables.
- Limit your waste (in general). Kick the K-cups and use the refillable plastic pod instead. Reuse glass jars from pasta sauce, salsa and other foods for crafts or storage around the house. Use more cloth towels to clean up messes instead of paper towels. Reuse and repurpose everything you can and if you have no use for it make sure it winds un in the recycling bin.
- Stop using plastic shopping bags. This is one that I just recently committed to. I purchased some plain eco-friendly canvas shopping bags and will be using them from here on out at the grocery store. Which means I will no longer contribute to the estimated 4 billion plastic bags that end up as litter or in landfills each year.
- Donate DON’T discard. I can’t tell you how often I drive by a pile of clothing, toys or furniture in someone’s garbage that could still be used by someone else and are instead going to rot away in a dump somewhere. There is a Goodwill, a Salvation Army or a homeless shelter somewhere near you, I’m sure of it and your unwanted items have the ability to help someone in need so don’t just throw them away.
- Think long term. If you’re really serious about reducing your footprint and becoming more and more eco friendly here are some things to consider in the future. Grow your own foods (when possible), collect and use rain for your gardens and outdoor activities, purchase cloth napkins and non-paper towels, buy low flow toilets and water conserving faucets and shower heads.
When I was little my mother took me many times to go pick up garbage that other people had discarded along road ways and in parks. We would pack up the car with trash bags and gloves and spend an entire day slopping through other people’s unwanted items. My parents took my brother and I camping, fishing and hiking all the time and I think that combined with the garbage pick ups really made me into the tree hugger that I am.
Teach your children to love the Earth and you’re saving the planet today and tomorrow. Easy ways to help your child go green include teaching them to not waste water at the sink when washing hands or brushing teeth, turning off unnecessary lights and, of course, not littering.
Websites I pulled information from include: