In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, today’s post is all about being green. You don’t have to go to extremes to make your life a little greener, you don’t have to ride a bike for hours to work or grow all of your food or live on a commune (although I am tempted by all of these). “Going green” can mean just a few simple changes to make life a little more eco-friendly.
- Use your reusable water bottle. Okay, so this is old news, but it’s important. Plastic water bottles still make up a large portion of what we throw out, filling landfills. Save the money and reduce waste.
- Switch to bar soap. A bar of soap lasts forever. Between constantly using triclosan filled liquid hand soap and lathering up with shower gel, there are a ton of chemicals on your skin and washing down the drain. These chemicals are harmful to the environment, not to mention it’s super wasteful. An all natural bar of soap is cheaper and will last for-ever.
- Clean your cleaning routine. I used to use chemicals for cleaning everything from the countertops to the toilets, but that’s a lot of nasty chemicals being washed down the drain or being introduced into the environment once the bottle is tossed. Vinegar and baking soda will get your entire house clean.
- Use those reusable bags everywhere. Reusable bags are becoming pretty common at the grocery store, but we often forget about other stores. Keeping a bag in your purse is super useful during impromptu Target trips, the type of shopping trips that usually use up a few plastic bags.
- Eat less meat. Not everyone wants to go vegan or vegetarian, and that’s okay. But the world consumes so much meat. Factory farming is one of the most damaging things to the environment (land use, pollution, use of resources like water, etc.). Having “meatless Mondays” goes a long way to help.
- Ditch the aluminum foil. Soiled foil can’t be recycled and takes forever to decompose, plus research has pointed out the hazards aluminum has on our health. Try switching to parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Stop the junk mail and paper bills. Opting for e-mailed statements and removing yourself from junk mail lists save a ton of paper. Plus, it’s easier to stay organized electronically than dealing with stacks and stacks of old mail.
- Kill the electric vampires. I don’t mean sparkly, broody vampires. I’m talking about electronics that are sucking up 25% of a household’s energy while not even being used. Try investing in power strips with an on/off switch. Turning off the plug or unplugging computers and televisions can help cut down on energy.
- Try cloth napkins. Paper napkins make up a big chunk of household waste. And if you’ve got a messy toddler eater like us, napkins are a must. Using cloth napkins is not only super fancy, it cuts down on waste and saves money. They are super easy to make with plain cotton fabric, just sew the edges.
- Wash on cold. Clothes will get clean if you set your washer to cold. Heating the water to wash clothing in warm or hot water takes up a lot of energy and is totally unnecessary to get your stuff clean.
It’s really not so bad making a few small changes at a time to be a bit more eco-friendly. And because it is becoming so crucial that we make changes, baby steps are better than no steps at all!