Everyone has the power to help protect the planet. While it seems like our individual contribution is small, if the 7.8 billion people who live here each take steps to properly care for the environment, we can do some amazing things.
Here are 20 changes you can make in your life today that will help the environment and preserve it for future generations. Sometimes being a 100% committed can be hard but if everyone is 80% or even 50% committed we'll be in a much better place.
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1. Use Every Drop of Water
For example, if there is still water in your glass after a meal, give it to your houseplants rather than dumping it down the drain.
2. Buy Products With Minimal or No Packaging
Sure, you can recycle, but wouldn’t it be better to avoid the waste altogether?
3. Don't Buy Single-Use Plastics
50% of the 300 million tons of plastic we use is used once and thrown away to persist in the environment for hundreds of years. Avoid this plastic like the plague.
4. Don’t Pre-Heat Your Oven
Precise baking may require pre-heating the oven, but it’s unnecessary when roasting meats or vegetables. Save energy instead.
5. Cut the Plastic Rings from Packs of Soda or Beer
These rings are nearly impossible to see in the water and many poor marine animals have been choked to death by getting one stuck around their throat.
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6. Buy Local Products
Support your local economy and reduce the carbon emissions used to bring your products to your home. Check out a local farmer’s market, it’s lots of fun!
7. Reduce Your Junk Mail
Junk mail is not only annoying but it also wastes a lot of paper. Sign up for opt-out lists and return postage-paid envelopes to the sender with a note asking that your name be removed from their list.
8. Use Matches Instead of a Lighter
Use wood or paper matches that are biodegradable and sustainable rather than yucky lighter fluid encased in plastic.
9. Bring Your Own (Water) Bottle
We buy as many as 1 million plastic water bottles a minute. Though recyclable, many never make it to the treatment plant.
10. Re-Use Gift Wrap
Gift wrap is pretty, but it’s also a big waste of paper and resources. If you must use it, at least re-use the paper and especially the bows and tags.
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11. Buy Second Hand
Save some money and the environment by buying clothing, cars, and other household items second hand.
12. Bring Your Own Bag
A reusable cloth bag works great for groceries and they’re sturdier than plastic bags anyway. No more spilled milk because the bag ripped!
13. Turn Off the Water When Brushing Your Teeth
Ummm...why leave the water running for 2 minutes for absolutely no reason?
14. Create a Compost Pile
Reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and reduce your landfill waste at the same time by throwing your scraps in a compost pile or dropping them off at a local collection point.
15. Eat Vegetarian More Often
Livestock account for 14.5% of greenhouse gases in the world. You don’t have to go completely vegetarian but cutting back 1 or 2 days a week will help
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16. Double-Check Your Recycling
Check to make sure you are following your area’s rules for recycling. And don’t just toss in something you’re unsure about and hope it will get to the right place. Your good intentions could be doing more harm than good.
17. Leave Your Car at Home
It can be nice to get out and enjoy a brisk walk or bicycle ride. If you’re going farther away, consider taking public transportation. As a bonus, you get some exercise!
18. Reuse Everything
Our first reaction is usually to throw away anything that no longer works. Stop. Can you reuse the item, fix it, or use parts of it to create something else? Don’t send it to the landfill, unless it’s really unusable.
19. Don’t Waste Napkins
Do you really need to use a napkin at every single meal? Probably not.
20. Invest in a Travel Mug
You can get a discount on coffee at many coffee shops like Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee if you bring your own mug.