Living a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle doesn't require completely changing your life or spending a lot of money. In fact, most people are surprised to discover that choosing to be more environmentally aware will do more than just help out our Earth, it will also help out our wallets. These are 10 easy ways for anyone to live more eco-friendly each and every day.
1. Cut Down On Meat
For some people, giving up meat is a hard one, and we can sympathize with that. But the fact of the matter is that according to a United Nations study, “the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases." You don't necessarily have to go vegan, but replacing a meat meal now and again with some veggies or seafood will go a long way.
2. Use Less Paper And Recycle When You Can
While most of today's work is done on computers and other electronic devices, paper use is still responsible for much of the deforestation which is destroying many natural habitats throughout the world. If you do happen to go to a school or work in an office that uses a lot of paper, see if you can get people to find alternative, electronic ways of getting work done. If that isn't possible, then the best thing you can (and should do anyways) is to recycle whatever paper you do use.
3. Use More Reusable Bags
Not only are canvas bags much sturdier and less likely to break, they're also a lot better for the environment. These bags are pretty easy to acquire, most grocery stores carry them, and they've even been seen in many other drugstores and other shopping areas. If canvas bags just isn't your thing then you can always reuse the plastic grocery bags you get from your local supermarket. Try putting them in small trash cans or use them as doggy bags instead.
4. Start A Compost Pile
Lately, compost bins have become a pretty big deal throughout the United States, and for good reason too. These bins allow people to reuse things like food waste which would otherwise just end up in the trash. They're easy to make, and the compost they produce is great for any at home gardening or just for freshly manuring your front lawn. Why spend money on expensive compost when fresh compost is so easy to do at home?
5. Use Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
We're not telling you to go run out and buy a bunch of new lightbulbs to put in your house, that would be wasteful of the lightbulbs that you're currently using. But once those ones go out, we recommend purchasing your bulb with a compact fluorescent light. These bulbs are known for lasting 5 times longer than regular ones, and they shine brighter. This means you can use fewer light bulbs for longer amounts of time, something your wallet and your planet will thank you for.
6. Go For Cloth Rather Than Paper
Instead of having to constantly go out and replace your paper towels with fresh, new rolls, why not just use a washcloth instead? Not only can you reuse it several times before you have to wash it in most cases, but once it does get dirty you can stick it in the laundry with the rest of the dirty clothes rather than having to go out and spend money on new paper towels. Once again, you're helping your environment and your finances.
7. Try Using Less Electricity At Home
It's funny how helping the environment usually goes hand in hand with saving money, doesn't it? There are quite a few ways to make sure that you're using less energy at home starting with washing clothes on cold water if possible (The Worldwatch Institute says 85 percent of the energy used for washing clothes goes to heating the water). Additionally, you can unplug appliances when they're not being used and turn off lights when leaving a room.
8. Borrow Rather Than Buy
There's lots of little things that we buy that can easily be borrowed instead. Things like books from the local library, or asking your friends for a spare pair of headphones that they might not be using (usually someone has extra). Instead of borrowing, you can always buy secondhand instead. Things like clothes, electronics, and other items can easily be purchased from a secondhand shop for a fraction of the price of buying them new.
9. Reduce Water Waste
One of the best ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle is by cutting back on the amount of water you're using. Showering is probably one of the biggest uses of water in a person's day. Make sure you have the water off while you're soaping up and, if you can, try and make those showers as short as possible. Other things like using a water filter for tap instead of buying water bottles can really make a big difference!
10. Recycle Your Car
This may sound strange but it's actually very true; recycling a car is one of the best things you can do to help the environment. Try purchasing a more eco-friendly car and, when you're ready to get rid of the old one, organizations like Wheels For Wishes! can help you recycle it. Wheels For Wishes is great because they auction off your car and donate the proceeds to the Make-A-Wish foundation. You then get a tax write off for the price of the car so it's a win-win!