Most of us are conscientious people who try to do the right thing - and if you have landed on this blog, then it is safe to say that you care about the environment and the impact humans have on it. There are two major reasons preventing people from doing all that they can to reduce their own individual impact.
The first is that they feel that they will have to sacrifice too much in order to be environmentally-friendly. Secondly, that it will be too overwhelming. We have put together this easy guide to show you that you can live in an environmentally-friendly manner while sustaining your normal life, and to simplify matters so that you can get started.
Be mindful of the trash you generate.
The average American generates four and half pounds of trash per day. By paying attention to how much you personally contribute to the trash cans in your home and other spaces, you can make a huge dent in this area - without any lifestyle sacrifice on your part. There are several strategies you can utilize to tackle this one.
- Recycle: Most town sanitation centers and major cities make recycling easy these days, so there are no excuses. It is as simple as learning what you need to separate out from your local sanitation authority. Many major cities have no streamlined the process so that you can recycle paper and plastics together. If you live in a smaller town you may need to keep your cardboard and paper separate from plastics and other containers.
- Compost: Food scraps are one of the largest contributors to the emission of methane, a greenhouse gas that is much more detrimental to the environment than carbon dioxide. Instead of tossing them in the trash to be sent to the nearest landfill, compost them.. Keep a container in your freezer to avoid any issues with odor, and compost at home, or bring to your compostable items to the local farmer’s market for collection.
- Re-use: Whenever possible, opt for reusable items. If you do nothing else, you will generate a substantial reduction in trash by only using your reusable BPA-free water bottle and bringing reusable tote bags when you shop. You will get extra eco-warrior points for swapping out those paper towels for washable rags and hand towels.
Choose the personal and home products you use wisely.
The chemicals in personal care and household cleaning products are some of the biggest culprits of environmental pollution. In addition to adding pollutants to the environment with each use, their very creation in the factory is a toxic process with high amounts of chemical waste. Luckily, there are some simple ways to reduce your reliance on conventional home and personal care products.
- Opt for green beauty products: There are a ton of green beauty product lines on the market these days. Many lines are just as effective as their conventional counterparts, come with beautiful packaging, and are better for your health! Rely on natural oils and oil-based products for skincare as much as possible. Remember that what you put on your skin can easily enter your bloodstream. There are even great products on the market for men.
- Look for eco-friendly cleaning products: Brands like Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyer’s are widely available in stores. These offer recycled and biodegradable options to many conventional products. They smell great and work just as well. If you want to become an eco-warrior, you can learn how to make some cleaning products at home. A go-to multi purpose cleaning spray can be made from distilled vinegar and an antibacterial essential oil such as tea tree oil, diluted with water.
Bonus tips to go the extra mile.
Now that you have tackled two primary areas for positive environmental impact, here are some additional things that you can do with minimal effort for sustainable living:
- Keep your car clean and in good repair: We have all heard about carpooling, which certainly helps, but you can also reduce your environmental impact simply by keeping your tires inflated. Keep your vehicle free of any heavy items that you might store their unnecessarily. This helps to reduce your fuel usage.
- Shop locally: Ordering items online can contribute to greater fuel usage via shipping, not to mention all of the packaging. Eating locally grown produce reduces fuel usage as well since the food does not have to travel as far to reach you.
- Buy your clothing secondhand: Cheaply produced fabrics often hail from largely unregulated factories in the developing world, which contribute a great deal to global pollution. You can also opt to seek out ethically-produced, eco-friendly textiles.
Keep it simple and pick just one thing to start with, and then incorporate more green habits as you go. Focus on what you can do, not on what you cannot do, and take it from there. Remember, a little goes a long way.
Hailing from Caboolture in South East Queensland. Mike has been dedicated to the waste management industry for over 20 years. He joined the Jims group 12 years ago and is passionate about helping people find a rewarding career with their own business. Now as franchisor of Jims Skip Bins Queensland, Mike is able to help Aussies looking for that career change to finally achieve the dream of being their own boss.