You like to do your part to protect the environment by practicing green living. Do you want to reduce your dependence on natural resources and replace what you do use? Try these strategies for living a more sustainable life.
- Grow Your Food: Going to the grocery store is convenient; however, growing your food is a more sustainable option. Plant an herb and vegetable garden and eat what you produce. If you’re short on outdoor space or live in an apartment, you can grow vegetables and herbs inside your kitchen or on a balcony or patio. The food you grow doesn’t need any packaging that will end up in a garbage dump either.
- Make Your Own Coffee: If you work five days a week and spend $5 each morning on your favorite latte, this means you spend more than $100 a month on coffee. That’s $1,200 a year. Did you know you can slash this expense by making your own coffee? Even better, grounding and brewing your own coffee is an excellent way to live a more sustainable life. This sustainable kitchen practice reduces waste and allows you to drink a coffee mixture that is really healthy for the body.
- Support Renewable Energy: How large is your home’s carbon footprint? Complete an energy audit to find out if you’re wasting resources while you heat or cool your home. Check for drafty windows and doors, and upgrade the insulation if needed. Dirty filters and ducts make your system work harder and burn more energy too. Regular HVAC maintenance can help the unit run efficiently and save money. If the home’s HVAC system is older, replace it with a renewable energy source. Consider a solar or geothermal system to heat and cool your home and reduce your dependence on fossil fuels.
- Ban Plastic in Your Home: That recycling bin in your kitchen may not be doing as much good as you think it does. A recent study indicated that up to 91% of plastic used by consumers isn’t recycled. Discarded plastic fills the earth’s oceans and landfills. Don’t add to the problem. Ban the use of disposable plastic bags and water bottles in your house. Opt for reusable shopping totes and metal or glass water bottles. When you shop, choose products that limit plastic packaging and come in cardboard boxes.
- Repurpose Glass Jars: How many times have you emptied a jar of jelly and thought to yourself “what should I do with this jar?” Instead of throwing it in the trash, consider repurposing it. You can use it as a holder for makeup brushes, candy, toothbrushes, paint brushes, or anything you want. Painting glass jars and selling them is a great way to stash away money in a rainy day fund.
- Drive Less, Walk More: Instead of hopping in the car every time you go outside, walk or bike to your destination when you can. You could consider investing in a hybrid or electric car that uses less fossil fuel or use your current vehicle and try to drive more efficiently to use less gas. Break and accelerate slowly, and take your car in for regular maintenance. Keeping the tires properly inflated can save gas too.
- Drink Through Metal Straws: It’s not something a lot of people think about, but how many times do you throw away paper straws? If you think about it, you probably throw them away a lot. Every time you do, this adds to the amount of garbage you throw away each week. By ordering metal straws, you can easily cut down on your waste. Metal straws are dishwasher safe and can be used again and again.
- Use Cold Water Instead of Hot Water: An excellent way to lower your utility bills and live a more sustainable life is by using cold water instead of hot. You don’t have to wash dishes in freezing cold water, but you can always use cool water instead of hot. You can also wash your clothes in cold water.
- Use Cloths Instead of Napkins: How many napkins and paper towels do you throw away each week? There’s a good chance it’s a pretty high amount. Instead of using paper towels and napkins, you can use cloths. You can cut up old t-shirts into cloths and use them for wiping down tables, cleaning windows, and much more. After you’re through using one of them, rinse it out, and set it on the sink to dry and it’ll be ready to use again.
- Use Natural Cleaners: Harsh cleansers emit chemicals that create harmful ozone. Use natural detergents instead. You can mix homemade cleaners with items like vinegar, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide. You’ll help keep your home clean and save money.
- Recycle Gift Bags: Gift bags are expensive. Any time you receive a gift from someone, make sure to save the gift bag and then recycle it by using it when you give someone else a gift. You can do this with boxes too, like shoe boxes.
- Wear Socks to Stay Warm: Instead of turning up the heat, put on a pair of socks and an extra layer of clothes. This is especially important during the winter when you’re running the furnace. For every degree that you can lower the temperature, you can save up to three percent on your heating expenses. During the summertime, keep your home at a moderate temperature and use fans to circulate air in the home to keep it cool.
- Frequent Thrift Stores: Reuse clothing and household products. A simple way to recycle is to visit thrift stores. Donate gently used clothes so someone else can use them. There’s a growing demand for second-hand clothing. Shop at a donation center also to limit your use of new items. You’ll help keep things out of landfills that still have life left in them.
Take smalls steps to start living a more sustainable life. You’ll feel good about using fewer natural resources and giving back to the environment. Going green and protecting the environment can help you save energy and money too.