We all want to do our part in saving the planet, but who has the time? Fortunately, there are a variety of small changes you can make that can have a big impact – and some of them may even save you some dough! Our handy guide will help you master eco-friendly living, and it may even help you inspire others to join the eco bandwagon. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and save the world!
It’s All In The Bag
Let’s begin our eco-friendly odyssey at the grocery store. You’re probably already bringing your own grocery bags, but did you know you can also buy reusable produce bags? It’s true. These thin cotton sacks are perfect for hauling veggies home from the grocery store. And when they get dirty, just toss them into your washer. What could be simpler?
Bring Your Own Cup
This one seems obvious, but it can be so easy to forget. Paper coffee cups are a huge problem for landfills. Their paper nature makes them seem eco-friendly and recyclable, but the polyethylene inner coating that allows them to hold liquids makes recycling them prohibitively expensive, so most often they just end up in the trash. Stop the cycle before it starts by bringing your own cup. One cool solution is the mason jar mug. It is almost guaranteed to be spill proof, as long as the lid is tightly screwed on. But there are a million cool ways out there to hold your coffee that are better than paper.
Cutting down on the amount of mail you receive each day can have a big impact on your personal eco-footprint over time. Opting for emails in place of paper statements from your bank, utilities, and other financial institutions will help, and in some cases may even get you a discount for your effort. You can further cut down on paper in your mailbox by joining the national do not mail list, and unsubscribing from catalogs and newsletters you no longer read. Pretty soon you’ll be a lean, mean, paperless machine.
Cut Down On Cutting Down … Trees
Continue your paper-free effort by replacing paper products in your home with reusable ones as much as possible. Examples include a reusable coffee filter or french press, fabric napkins instead of paper, and reading your news online. When you must use paper products, commit to only buying recycled as much as possible. By minimizing paper use in your own home, you can make a big difference and inspire your guests as well.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle … Clothing
Every part of the clothing business is an environmental burden, from shipping clothing and materials from places like China and India to the large amounts of water needed to batch-wash all those garments. You can do your part by donating your old clothes and buying used clothing whenever possible. Places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are ideal for picking up last year’s fashions, and local vintage stores can be a fun place to create a unique look. If anyone gives you a hard time about those bell bottoms, explain that sometimes saving the planet requires sacrifice.
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