One of my new year goals, I’m not sure if you all remember, is to try to become more eco-friendly. Over the last few years, emphasised by the environmental ethics course I took last year, I’ve been thinking more and more about how I can be a better tenant on our beautiful planet. The world is quickly changing and the more damage I see done to the earth, the more I want to break down in tears about the fact that people don’t seem to be doing enough to stop the damage from becoming irreversible. While it may not necessarily be enough for one person to change the world, one person’s actions in terms of being more eco-friendly can still have a positive result, and so the thought that my actions may not make that much of a difference is no longer an excuse. Even if the things that I do can help a little, or inspire someone else to start initiating similar changes, then that is still more success than before. SO today, holding up my new year goal, here are some easy, eco-friendly changes you can make (these are the same ones that we are implementing in my house so I am practising what I preach, fear not) so that little by little, we can at least try to make a difference in keeping our beautiful planet alive and healthy.
Turn off the lights
If your lights serve no purpose being on, why keep them on then? All that is doing is wasting electricity and energy. If you are working and the natural light is not enough, then I understand the need for some light so that you don’t strain your eyes, or having your lights on at night so that you don’t trip over something and injure yourself. However, every time you leave the room, make a habit of switching the light off because it doesn’t need to be on while you’re not there. Also, if there is enough natural light in a room, you don’t need the lights on at all. By only using the lights when you absolutely have to (and are in that same room), you can save so much electricity and energy, without that much effort at all. How great is that?
Stop buying bottled water
There really is no good reason to be buying bottled water. In fact, plastic is such a killer (maybe that could be a future blog post? Let me know your thoughts in the comments) that I’m trying to get my whole family to move as far away from it as possible. If you want some water to drink during the day, you don’t need to resort to buying a plastic bottle of water from the store because all that will end up happening is you will use the bottle once, throw it away and do the same thing tomorrow. Rather drink the water straight out of the tap (in most places it is completely safe to drink tap water) in either a glass or a reusable water bottle. Also, instead of buying dozens of plastic bottles a month, why not invest in a good quality reusable water bottle. That way you can refill it for free from the tap, whenever you need, and you aren’t doing any harm to the environment by supporting the plastic bottle industry. It’s a win!
Reusable shopping bags
Again with the plastic. All it does is end up in some land dump where it can’t decompose or killing some innocent animal. Remind me again why we use this stuff? Another easy way to decrease plastic use is to stop using plastic shopping bags. Instead buy a handful of those reusable material bags and keep them in your car, so that you always have some ready for a trip to the grocery store. One other idea that a grocery food chain does here is offer boxes for customers to take their groceries home in (the same boxes that the food is delivered to the store in) which means not only reusing the cardboard but also avoiding the plastic packets entirely. All it takes to implement this one is a little bit of effort on your part to remember your reusable bags sitting in your car.
It’s quite easy to save water when you think about it. If you are a person who loves to bath (like me! I mean the last post was about at home spa baths so I’m definitely a huge fan of them) then why not try cutting down the number of times you bath in a week, or month. Baths may be super relaxing, but they aren’t exactly friendly on water conservation. So, if you bath three or four times a week, why not cut that down to one? You could also try taking shorter showers, and every time you brush your teeth, don’t let the water run. Even if you see a dripping tap somewhere, try to stop that dripping because so many litres of water are wasted per day from one dripping tap. And just like that, you have made so many improvements to water conservation! WELL DONE!
This is the big one right? Everyone is always talking about recycling and how it can make such a big difference. So, let’s do it. Recycle anything that you cannot reuse or repurpose, such as plastic, aluminium and paper products. The easiest way to do this is to get a bin dedicated to each one. That way, there is no need to go through all of it to sort. Just make sure that everyone sticks to it and also, that the company you use (the one who takes away your sorted rubbish to be recycled) actually does recycle the items you give and doesn’t just send it all off to the same landfill. That way, all your hard work of trying to be more eco-friendly doesn’t get ruined.
They work the same, but use less energy. It’s a no-brainer. Using energy-efficient light bulbs has huge benefits because they make 75% less heat than their less energy-efficient counterparts, which results in great deals of energy saving. They also help to keep the room you are in at a slightly cooler temperature. Yes it costs a little to make the transition but once it is done, the result and effect on the planet is so much more eco-friendly.
Avoid single-use plastic
What do I mean by single-use plastic? By this, I mean disposable cups from coffee shops or the plastic ones by water coolers, I mean plastic plates and cutlery that just get used once and then thrown away, and plastic straws! There are so many eco-friendly alternatives that can help get rid of single-use plastic for ever (there are more examples of single-use plastic but I’m not going to get into them now). Instead of using a disposable cup, rather use a mug, or keep a water bottle or flask in your bag. Avoid plastic cutlery as much as possible and if you don’t feel like investing in a reusable straw, then don’t use a straw at all. All these little things make such a big difference at the end of the day in decreasing plastic waste.
Start a compost heap
So if you start recycling, you might ask about where you can put all of your other rubbish. Particularly fruit and vegetable scraps peelings, scraps from after cooking, old flowers and plants, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds and even leaves. Well, all of that doesn’t have to go to waste. You can turn it all into compost, which you can then use in your garden. It is very easy to get a compost heap started, it means less waste and ultimately also gives you very nourishing organic material for your plants or garden. There really is only benefit to having a compost heap.
Reuse and repurpose
Despite what people think, there are many things that typically get thrown away that can be reused or repurposed. If something is broken, you can always try to fix and upcycle those items rather than throwing them away and buying new ones.By reusing or repurposing glass food containers, wine bottles and other items, you not only reduce and eliminate waste but you also conserve resources and decrease harmful emissions. If you’re looking for inspiration for things that you can reuse and repurpose, I’d highly recommend checking out Pinterest, as they always have tons of options, but maybe that is another post I can do in the future if people are interested (let me know in the comments section).
Use the car less
Last but not least, one of the biggest ways to try and reduce your carbon footprint and be more eco-friendly is to use your car less. Now depending on where you live, this can either be quite easy or quite challenging. If it is easy enough to rather use public transport, walk or cycle, then I’d highly suggest doing that instead of driving. If it is more problematic to do that, then why not try carpooling, or even saving certain shopping trips so that you drive to the mall (or wherever) once or twice a week rather than every day. You may not think it will do much, but it does.
And so there you have it! Don’t be fooled to thinking that one person’s actions can’t make a difference because if everyone thought like that, then things would never get any better. Every little thing that you do to become more eco-friendly, reduce your carbon footprint and help preserve the earth helps, you just may not always see it. But please, don’t let not seeing a result put you off making any changes. If everyone starts to make changes, we will see a result. So, I hope that this blog post encouraged you or inspired you to make one or two eco-friendly changes to your life and if you are already doing all of these things (Congrats by the way!), then why not challenge a friend or family member to start making some changes. Every little thing counts and if we all band together to try and save our planet, we may actually succeed! Thank you all so much for reading and I will see you all next week.
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx