Lately, more and more people have made the swap to ‘go green’. If more people made the switch to an eco-friendly lifestyle, it would impact the environment for generations. In fact, we’ve even seen evidence of the impact on the environment from people changing their habits this year.
Especially as people are home more and commuting less this year, the environment has changed dramatically. In 2020, the Venice canals were clear and had fish again for the first time in years and scientists estimate that the pandemic has reduced CO2 emissions by 1600 million tonnes. All this talk about the environment changing has people realizing that their actions do have an impact on the environment.
What it means to “Go Green”
Going green means choosing a lifestyle and habits that help protect the planet. It is about choosing environmentally friendly habits to sustain our world’s natural resources. Going green is an eco-friendly choice.
If you’re looking for ways to live green and be eco-friendly, or just learn more about what it means to live green, then look no further. This list of 25 ways will help you know how to live greener with simple steps you can take today.
25 Simple Ways to Live Greener Today
1. Use Apps that fight food waste
Several apps can connect you to restaurants offering free or reduced-price food that is leftover. It’s a win-win for you, the restaurant, and the environment; you get good food at a reduced rate, the restaurant doesn’t have to toss goods and it prevents waste. Check out Too Good to Go, Olio, and Share Waste.
2. Shop with a plan
Many people head to the grocery store with a vague idea of what they want but end up coming home with much more than they needed. This can create a lot of wasted food that doesn’t get eaten. When you’re shopping, plan what you need and what you’ll actually eat before you go.
3. Pick/Grow your own food
A great way to reduce your food costs and be more eco-friendly is to grow your own garden. Try herbs, berries, or tomatoes to start.
You can reduce your food waste by saving some scraps like apple cores, bread crusts, or fruit peels to compost.
5. Buy seasonally
Purchasing fruits and vegetables seasonally is not only cheaper but also you save energy used in the grocery supply chain if you purchase seasonally. Oh, and you’ll get fresher produce too. Try freezing, canning, or jamming to help your produce last.
6. Lose the packaging
The less packaging on your products, the friendlier it is for the environment. You can also look for products with recyclable packaging.
7. Wash only when you need to
We waste the majority of a garment’s energy on washing it frequently. While we all want to be clean, you can try spot cleaning for small spills until a garment really needs a wash.
8. Recycle whenever you can
If your city has a recycling system, make sure to take advantage of it. But beyond that, you can also recycle waste with TerraCycle, and you can return plastic bags to most grocery stores for recycling.
9. Get house plants
2020 has been a popular year for house plants. But they’re not just good for decoration—they also help create clean air. Plus, plants can be relaxing and help you destress. Try mother-in-law’s tongue, which gives off oxygen at night.
10. Change your showerhead
A water-efficient showerhead can significantly save your energy and water usage. Energy-saving showerheads inject air into the stream of water, to save how much water you’re using, while still ensuring that you have enough water for your needs.
11. Use eco-driving
Eco-driving is safer and cleaner. Eco-driving involves checking tire pressure, keeping up vehicle maintenance, not over-loading the car, and rolling the windows down in replace of air conditioning. All these steps can help improve fuel efficiency and/or save energy.
12. Thrift your furniture
Furniture is expensive to purchase and environmentally-taxing to create. Buying gently used furniture helps reduce your home’s footprint. Check Freecycle, local thrift stores, or Facebook Marketplace for deals.
13. Choose energy-saving appliances
The large appliances in your home, especially the fridge and freezer, consume most of your household’s energy. Newer appliances can save energy and costs that add up over the years. You should also set your fridge at 5C or less and keep a gap behind your fridge to let the heat escape.
14. Grow your grass
Cutting your lawn frequently uses gas and electricity, which may be unnecessary. Of course, you don’t have to let your lawn grow into a jungle, but you also don’t need to cut it every day, or even every week. Aim to cut it once or twice a month to save energy (and your time!)
15. Donate extra items
We all have clothing in the closet we never wear. Old books that collect dust. This is wasteful of energy, and money.
First, try flipping all the hangers in your closet backward. As you wear something, flip it around. After 30 days, you’ll know which items you wear and which items you don’t.
16. Buy less clothing
After donating unused clothing, you may be tempted to buy more. However, before buying something consider how often you would wear it. If it won’t get worn at least 30 times, it’s not worth your money or the environmental impact.
17. Shop secondhand
When you do need new clothes, try shopping second-hand which is more sustainable than the fast fashion of most department stores.
18. Swap clothes – swishing
Swapping clothes with friends, family or neighbors is a great way to refresh your wardrobe without damaging the environment. You can also find local swishing places where you can bring in your old clothes for credit towards quality items in the store, which is known as swishing.
19. Shop in person
Shopping in-store is more eco-friendly than shopping online because of the shipping impact of sending goods across the world. Plus, when shopping online you may have to return items which further increases your carbon footprint.
20. Quit fast fashion
Speaking of fast fashion, if you want to go green a huge place to start is to quit shopping at stores with lots of cheap products. Stores that have constant sales and are always introducing new products likely fit under fast fashion. You can also delete your fast fashion apps, unfollow them on social, and unsubscribe from the emails constantly luring you to buy.
21. Learn to sew
Mending your own clothes can significantly decrease your carbon footprint. If a button falls off, or you get a small tear, it doesn’t make an item unwearable as long as you know how to sew.
22. Recycle in every room
Most of our recycling is done in the kitchen, likely because that’s where you keep your recycling bin. If you get a split-waste bin for each room, especially the bathroom, you can recycle significantly more.
23. Reduce your cotton ball usage
1kg of cotton takes 20,000 liters of water to make. Make the cotton you do use count, or reduce it by using reusable makeup towels, washable bamboo pads, etc.
24. Use less travel-sized products
Small bottles are convenient when traveling, but they make a lot more waste than the full-sized versions. Try using refillable travel bottles or wash out and use the travel-sized bottles you already have.
25. Invest in sustainable brands
Put your money where your mouth is and invest in funds and brands that prioritize going green. Look for investments labeled as SRI (Socially Responsible Investment).
The Importance of Living a Green Lifestyle
Living a green lifestyle is important because it helps create a sustainable environment for current and future generations. Sustaining the world’s natural resources does not happen overnight, but it is an individual choice that we all have to make.
But, besides benefitting the environment, going green also can improve your quality of life. Since living greener means conserving your resources and reducing waste, you can build habits of living with less which means less clutter and less money wasted on things you never use.
This leads to the final benefit of going green, which is saving money. For example, if you choose to consume less paper you can spend less on those products.
These steps will help you live green, which can protect our world’s natural resources for now and future generations. You can also save money and reduce your waste.
There may be an initial cost and time spent learning how to live greener, but in the long run, you can save much more money by consuming less and reusing more. So, what are you waiting for? Start going green today.