Sometimes the issue of climate change feels overwhelming. It’s easy to wonder if the little things you’re doing to be more environmentally conscious can really make a difference. But, the truth is – YES, they absolutely can! When we all make little changes to be more earth friendly, they add up and can truly have an impact on reducing our carbon footprint and saving the planet. Here are 5 simple ways you can start living greener TODAY:
- Practice the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. What do each of these mean and how can you put them into practice every day? Here’s a few ideas.
- REDUCE what you purchase and be conscious about what you really need. Think about how much packaging comes with everything that you buy – the boxes, the plastic, the (gasp) Styrofoam packaging. When you simply reduce the amount that you are buying, you are also reducing the amount of packaging that comes with those items!
- REUSE or repurpose items you’re ready to get rid of instead of throwing them away. Donate unwanted clothes and toys. Reuse plastic grocery bags for trash or lunches. Use old clothes in poor condition as dust rags. Before pitching something into the trash, think about how you might be able to reuse it to reduce your overall waste!
- RECYCLE glass, paper, plastic, and aluminum. If you don’t already have a dedicated recycling bin, get one and get the whole family in on what you can and can’t recycle. Go beyond the usual items and recycle batteries, electronics, concrete and heavier metals like steel and iron. Not sure if something is recyclable or if your trash company will accept it? Simply visit their website or give them a call. If they don’t take it on a routine basis, they may hold special pickup days for these items.
- Drive Less, Exercise More – Did you know that vehicles account for one third of all air pollution? To reduce air pollution and the harmful toxins and chemicals our cars put into the air we breathe, be mindful of how much you drive. I know, I know…with limited public transportation options and some seriously wicked weather days, this one can be tough for us in Colorado. But, with more than 300 days of sunshine per year, there are plenty of days that we can entertain the idea of alternative ways of getting place to place. So, consider walking, biking, taking the Light Rail, or carpooling with a friend! Chances are, you’ll enjoy a little more fresh air, get some more exercise, and enjoy that commute just a bit more.
- Be Mindful of Resource Usage – Simply being mindful of our use of electricity or water can help us cut down on our usage. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or washing your face instead of keeping it running. Be sure to turn off your lights when you’re getting ready to leave the house. Limit showers to 5 or 10 minutes. And, just like your Dad used to say, “Don’t let all the bought air out!” – close your doors and windows when using the air conditioner or heater.
- Eliminate Single-Use Items – Another simple way to live greener is to eliminate single-use items like plastic water bottles, grocery, produce and sandwich bags, and plastic straws that are often thrown away after just one use. Reusable alternatives like aluminum or stainless steel water bottles, reusable produce bags, and stainless steel straws are widely available now and quite affordable, so make the switch!
- Find A Community – When you’re trying to live greener, it’s important to find others doing the same thing. You can get new ideas, share successes, swap tips and advice, and be inspired by seeing people in your community and around the world doing their part to be more earth friendly. Here are some great places to connect to a greener lifestyle online:
What are you doing to live greener? Share your suggestions in the comments below!