With the concerning current state of our environment, many people are wondering how can they lower their carbon footprint on our planet. The average lifestyle can be pretty wasteful, full of unnecessary things that we end up discarding (sometimes haphazardly). But wanting to make a change is half the battle, and you’ve already started by doing this research. Whatever your reason for wanting to “go green,” there are effective strategies to reduce your impact on the environment. To get started with these small steps in the right direction, check out these 8 ways to be more eco-friendly.
Change your transportation habits
Take a look at your typical route or commute, and ask yourself, “Is there an alternative form of transportation I can use that will reduce pollution and energy consumption?” Chances are, the answer to this question is yes, especially if you live in a large city. Public transportation, biking and carpooling are all great alternatives to driving your car solo.
Cut back on meat
Although it may come as a surprise, eating less meat can actually save the planet, sort of. So much money and earth’s resources are invested into the meat industry, that cutting back can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
Use less paper
There really isn’t as much need for exorbitant use of paper these days, as we are living in a digital, technologically advanced world. Opt out of snail mail updates and bills. Take notes on an electronic device instead of endless notebooks and sticky notes. Reducing your paper usage is an easy way to be more environmentally-friendly.
Unplug, unplug, unplug
You may think that turning off an appliance is actually stopping electricity usage, but that is most often not the case. Your devices and appliances are likely using something called “phantom energy,” and this little pain in the neck is sky-rocketing your energy usage and adding to your electricity bill. Whenever you are away or simply not using an appliance, unplug or purchase “smart” surge protectors (which cut power when appliance is not in use).
Reduce excess everything
A lot of the waste we acquire is from things we know we are never going to use upfront. Stop accepting promotional material at the grocery store that you know you will never use, or purchasing products/food we will never use or eat.
If you do your research, you’ll find that almost everything we would throw in the trash can be recycled. This may require more time and effort than other environmentally-friendly practices, but it is definitely worth it.
Compost your food waste
Do you eat a lot of fresh vegetables, but never quite finish them all before they go bad? Start a compost of your veggies that are a few days too old, and you can save the planet and improve your home garden soil all at once.
Speaking of gardens, one of the most enjoyable and fun ways to improve the environment, is to use that green thumb and plant something! You can plant a few trees or start your own home garden. And if you are short on backyard space, there are plenty of beautiful plants, fruits and vegetables that can be grown indoors – or you can create a small window sill or patio garden if space allows.