If you are tired of living a wasteful lifestyle and are resolved to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle this new year, you might feel a little overwhelmed about all of the big changes in your life. Starting something new can be stressful when you are unsure where to begin. Rest assured, you have already completed the most difficult step – deciding to make a change. Focus on smaller changes you can make easily before you tackle the more difficult steps of your eco-friendly resolution. Here are some easy and small changes you can make in your everyday life to help live a more eco-friendly lifestyle:
- Eat Less Meat. Believe it or not, cutting back on your consumption of meat can make a huge difference in the environment. More than 30 percent of the Earth’s surface is being used to raise and support livestock. 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. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2.” Cutting back on your meat consumption is an important step in reducing the overall emission of GWP gases. Less livestock also means more land we can enjoy and use for recreation. Consider replacing some of your meat-heavy meals with vegetables or eating more seafood!
- Use Paper Less And Recycle More. The world we live in today is much more reliant on computers and digital technology. It is easy to go a day without using a notebook or even a piece of paper. The less paper you use, the less paper needs to be produced and the more trees that get to fill our forests. By recycling one short ton (0.91 t) of paper you can save 17 mature trees, according to the EPA. If it is essential for you to use paper at your job or at school, you can still make a difference by recycling the paper you do use. Today, more than 40 percent of municipal solid waste is paper and paper products. It takes less energy to create paper through recycled and used sheets than by creating ‘virgin’ paper. Recycling is easy and one of the best ways to live green.
- Use Canvas Bags Instead Of Plastic. Most stores offer a canvas bag alternative to their wasteful generic plastic and paper bags. Although a canvas bag might cost a small amount to acquire, they are actually much more useful than you might think. A canvas bag is sturdier than a traditional plastic or paper bag and can hold more goods. A canvas bag can also be used to store items or pack items when moving – making it useful in more than one way. Parents, if you have children that are about to head off to college, investing in a few canvas bags would be a great gift. Your kids might not know it yet, but they will be moving a lot in the next few years and those bags will come in extra handy when they need to bring the books they have been accumulating semester to semester with them. Even if you don’t use canvas bags, reusing plastic bags is a great way to live more eco-friendly. Just use your plastic bags in small garbage cans throughout your home, or recycle your used grocery bag! Every small change can make a huge difference.
- Start A Compost Pile Or Bin. Compost bins have become a huge trend throughout America in the last few years – and for good reason! Not only do compost bins reduce waste by letting you re-use things you would normally just toss out, but they also save you money and help your plants grow better in your garden! Why go out and buy expensive compost when you could be creating your own with things you are throwing out anyway? If you garden at all, it really doesn’t make any sense NOT having a compost bin. Invest in one or make your own today!
- Purchase The Right Light Bulb. Don’t run out today and replace all of your light bulbs even though they are still working, but the next time one of your light bulbs burns out replace it with a more eco-friendly brand. Replace your old bulb with a compact fluorescent light. CFL bulbs can last more than five times longer and use much less electricity than regular incandescent light bulbs. Plus, they are brighter, which means you might able to get away with using less lamps in your home!
- Choose Cloth Over Paper. Instead of rushing to the store and purchasing a dozen rolls of paper towels when you are ready to do your spring cleaning, cut up an old t-shirt or other form of clothing and use that as a rag instead. You were going to toss it out anyway, why not save some money and the planet at the same time? Collect all of your used rags in a basket together and wash them all at the same time. Use, re-use and repeat!
- Cut Down On Energy In Your Home. There are a lot of ways to cut back on energy you use in your home. These will lead to smaller energy bills and more money in your pocket! That is a win for you and a win for the Earth. Start by lowering your thermostat in the winter and raising it in the summer. Unplug appliances when they aren’t being used, wash all possible clothes on cold (according to The Worldwatch Institute, 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water) and use a drying rack or clothesline to dry your outfits when they are finished being washed. Reducing your energy around the home is literally as easy as a click of the button. Uncomfortable taking all of these steps at the same time? Try one at a time until your home is completely energy efficient!
- Borrow Instead Of Buying. It is easy to waste money on things that you can easily borrow. Rent movies, borrow books from libraries and buy secondhand goods when at all possible. By purchasing and using pre-owned items, you reduce those items that need to be kept in a landfill and save yourself money. Living green doesn’t mean you have to settle for less, many items that you find in a used-goods store are just as good as the original. Search the web or explore your town for some neat items. If you find or have found something super unique in the past, share it with us on our Facebook or Twitter page!
- Reduce Water Waste. You can live a more eco-friendly lifestyle by using less water and cutting back on your bottled water purchases. Take a shorter shower in the morning or install a low-flow showerhead. The investment in a low-flow showerhead will be worth it when you receive your next water bill and it is significantly lower than the last. Cutting back on bottled water purchases is easy. Even if you live in an area where your tap water isn’t the tastiest, purchasing a water filter will take some of that irony aftertaste out of your water and purify it to your bottled-water standards. Plus, a water filter will save you money in the long run, when you don’t have to take trip after trip to the store to purchase more bottled water!
- Recycling A Car. You may not know it, but recycling your vehicle is one of the best ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. While you are making your changes, you may be looking to get a more gas-friendly vehicle. If that is the case, donate your vehicle to Wheels For Wishes! We will recycle your vehicle or auction it off to a new owner, with all of the proceeds from your donation benefiting Make-A-Wish! The most recycled consumer product in the world today is the automobile. At least 95 percent of each unusable vehicle is recycled each year. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, about 26 vehicles are recycled throughout the world every minute! You can donate your vehicle and help change the lives of children with critical illnesses today by calling 1-877-431-9474 or filling out an easy donation form online. Since Wheels For Wishes is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, you will receive the maximum possible tax deduction for your car donation.
Make this the year of positive changes. Whether you live in Houston, Boulder, Billings or anywhere else in the United States, you can make a difference throughout the world when you make small eco-friendly changes in your everyday life. Living a greener lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as easy as shutting off a light when you are no longer going to be in a room. Plus, living eco-friendly will save you money! Get started living an eco-friendly life today.