How can you be a more environmentally friendly person?
Starting an eco-friendly life and cutting back the impact in the environment is something many people are interested in this age. You might’ve heard many stories about how the government, local authorities, small and large companies, and ordinary people are doing their level best to live a greener life.
If you’re not sure how to get started, just keep in mind that being eco-friendly is more about incorporating the principle into your day-to-day living. Simply by making small choices, you can enjoy far better physical and psychological health, while at the same time, contribute to a healthier planet Earth.
Find below the recipe to lead an environmentally friendly lifestyle:
- Keep less meat and dairy in your meal
- Buy proper food and use the leftovers
- Drive less, walk more
- Use less amount of paper in your daily life
- Support the ocean cleanup projects
- Always prefer reusable alternatives
- Donate everything that you don’t need
- Try vegan foods for your pets
- Minimize the usage of chemical
- (Bonus) Aim for a Zero Waste Home
Let’s explore more about how to do this.
1. Cut-back on your meat and dairy consumption
Many environmentally-conscious people play with the idea of eliminating animal products from their diet, but are unwilling to forego their favorite steak or bacon completely.
Every small action makes a difference.
If the majority of the people eliminated meat from two or three meals each week, the magnitude of the impact would be unthinkable!
Raising livestock and processing meat requires a massive amount of land and water, harmful chemicals, and creates a lot of packaging products. A research done by the scientists at the University of Oxford found that each time a person switches completely to a meat-free diet, around 70% of their carbon footprint is reduced. This will also lower greenhouse emissions and free up large tracts of land that take away wildlife habitats.
Going vegan is a proven way to keep you physically and psychologically healthy. This will also lower the risk for most common diseases, keep you thin and strong, and let you enjoy life to the fullest.
2. Buy less food and freeze leftovers
This eco-friendly practice is not just great for the planet, it is likely to do wonders for your wallet.
When shopping for groceries, try to make a list of the items you absolutely need and stick to that list (Yes, it’s easy to say and hard to do. Still, try.).
Only buy the food that you know that the family eats, and you’ll cut down on at least a small part of the 21.5 million tons of food waste that the US generates each year.
Here’s another interesting fact:
Best before dates don’t indicate that the food has gone bad and should be thrown away!
In most cases, use your common sense to judge whether a food is still safe to eat. If you have leftovers from meals, freeze, and reheat before eating later.
Also, watch out for the term – organic. Ideally, this should mean that the food is produced in an eco-friendly and sustainable way, doesn’t necessarily reflect 100% in the real-world.
Do your research and find products that have been manufactured with the minimum usage of water, energy, and emissions, before purchasing.
Here’s a relatable and timely infographic from the good folks of Happy Cleans explaining what food labels really mean, and what you should look out for when you start your journey for an eco-friendly life.
3. Stop driving everywhere
So, here’s another one for your wallet –
Restrict driving as much as you can.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it possible for many professionals to work from home. Try to adopt this “new normal” system and make it a regular practice. Shop online and carpool with friends and colleagues. Combine multiple errands into one trip and share them with friends. Park in one spot and walk if you can.
Your body will thank you for the exercise, and the planet will appreciate the lower carbon emissions.
4. Avoid using paper and paper-based products in any form
Did you know that only about 35% of the waste is recycled each year in the US?
Although 94% of Americans are in favor of adopting eco-friendly and recycling practices, most people don’t make a genuine effort to sort their waste.
If these figures are shocking, here’s another one. Each American consumes around 700 pounds of paper in some form, each year.
On your part, you can focus on how to lower this appalling waste. Stop subscribing to paper catalogs, brochures, and magazines, and sign up for e-billing and e-statements from your banks and utility providers. Bring your own bags to stores or decline the offered plastic bag if you’re only getting one or two items.
Many workplaces have found they can reduce printing by offering virtual versions of documents such as memos and meeting agendas. Coworkers who need to take notes can choose to print their own copies, and people who weren’t using the printouts anyway save paper.
5. Encourage the ocean cleanup projects
If you wish to make a small contribution to the ongoing efforts to heal our beloved planet, you may invest in an Ocean Cleanup Bracelet.
These beautiful accessories are created with beads made out of the recycled glass from the oceans. The cord is made out of recycled plastic water bottles (a.k.a. rPET) harvested from the seas. Each time you purchase one of these bracelets, a percentage of the proceeds are diverted toward cleanup drives.
Proudly sporting one of these colorful bands gives you a small reason to start conversations about a cause that you care about. Not only can you adorn yourself, you can also gift them to friends and family to raise awareness. Plus, it’s an entirely recycled gift, so you’re reducing your impact on the planet a tiny bit compared to the other jewelry you might select.
And, yes, both men and women can wear them.
6. Switch to reusable alternatives
Each time you use any kind of products from dining utensils, napkins, wrapping to cups, and glasses, switch out the disposables and opt for reusable alternatives.
Most people throw away flatware, cutlery, boxes, and paper napkins after every meal to avoid the hassle of cleaning and washing. Startup the dishwasher, and opt for cloth napkins that you use and toss in the laundry later.
Better yet, use soap and water for more hygienic and clean hands.
Bring reusable bags to carry shopping and find ways to use every item instead of trashing it.
Invest in SS beverage bottles, and bring water and coffee from home.
7. Donate clothes and anything else you don’t need
One man’s waste is another man’s treasure.
In this case, it’s actually true.
When you absolutely don’t want to use something, consider donating. Food, clothes, shoes, toys, books, furniture, and just about everything else that is still usable can find a new home. Search online and call up a charity close by, and they’ll have the items picked up.
And yes, this green living practice is food for your soul, actually.
8. Choose vegan foods for your furry friends
Most people have a misconception that dogs are carnivores and need a meat-based diet to thrive.
Although it still is a debatable issue, many studies show that the canine digestive tract is similar to humans and is well-equipped to process plant-based food. Good vegan dog food is made with high-grade protein sources such as a special kind of fermented yeast along with digestible fibers and omega fatty acids.
Dogs are known to thrive on this eco-friendly diet, and they have shiny coats and healthy digestion. Vegan kibble more than makes up for canine nutritional requirements as outlined by AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. Most importantly, this dog food is made with sustainable ingredients.
9. Use less chemical-based products
Using chemicals damage the Earth is more ways than one.
For instance, when you use cleaning supplies, the residue enters the groundwater or poisons rivers. Everywhere that water runs, it creates a toxic environment for wildlife and plants that absorb them.
Start making small switches by using baking soda and vinegar to scrub greasy pots and pans.
Instead of trashing food scraps and vegetable and fruit peels, add them to your garden soil as manure, and watch your plants thrive.
Use the white of an egg, potato skins, and orange rinds instead of chemical face packs to nourish your skin.
You’ll see the difference in a couple of months.
Try the concept of ‘Zero Waste Home’
When I got started, people were saying what you do doesn’t really matter. What really matters is what the politicians do and the manufacturers do, and we’ve been able to prove the opposite.Bea Johnson of the Zero Waste Movement and author of “Zero Waste Home”
So what does Zero Waste Home mean?
In simple words, it’s the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials.
Everything we use has an environmental cost and consequence so it’s important to be mindful, now more than ever. By following the 5R’s of Zero Waste principle, you can play your part in this revolution.
See how Bea Johnson started the Zero Waste Movement –
Also, here’s a beautiful and timely infographic shared with us by the folks in EZ Living Interiors detailing the reasons to follow Zero Waste principles, Zero Waste Hierarchy, and 5 actionable ways to reduce waste in your daily life.
All these might feel overwhelming to you at first, but honestly speaking, if you start small with a couple of actions, over time you’ll start seeing the benefits.
The seemingly tough journey to eco-friendly life will end with a fruitful and happy adventure.
Going green and starting an eco-friendly life will quickly become a way of living when you make small efforts to adopt these changes. But in the end, you’ll feel healthier, happier, and thankful for being a part of the initiatives to save our beloved blue planet.
Think about it, you still have the chance.
Featured image by coolvector from Freepik.com