When it comes to living more sustainably, the smallest changes can often make the biggest difference. Here are five ways that you can go green in your everyday life.
1. Use Reusable Bags
Did you know that plastic bags are only used for an average of 10 minutes, but they can take up to 100 years to decompose in a landfill? Making the switch to reusable bags can help the environment in many ways, from preventing greenhouse gas emissions to reducing litter. As an additional benefit, many stores offer a discount for bringing your own reusable bags, and some even charge extra for plastic bags. Therefore, using eco-friendly bags can not only save the environment but also your wallet.
2. Eat Less Meat
Meat production is one of the largest contributors to pollution and climate change. This is because it results in the emission of methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Additionally, the destruction of forests to make room for grazing animals results in billions of tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere, warming the planet and oceans. While this doesn’t mean you have to completely eliminate meat from your diet, eating sustainable foods such as oatmeal, lentils and tomatoes can have positive impacts on the environment and your health. If you’re wondering, “Is oatmeal fattening?,” you may be surprised to learn that it isn’t. In fact, it’s an extremely nutritious food that’s packed with antioxidants, fiber and zinc, just to name a few. Not only is it nutritious, but it also has a low carbon footprint and doesn’t harm any animals.
3. Reduce Water Use
You’d probably be surprised to learn how much water you use on a daily basis. Once you become aware of the various ways in which you waste water, reducing your usage can become easy. Start off with simple steps such as keeping showers under 10 minutes, turning off the tap when brushing your teeth and fixing leaky faucets. Not only can these activities save the environment, but they can also lower your water bill. To further reduce water use, use a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand. Be sure to wait until the dishwasher is full before running it in order to minimize water usage. Don’t worry if you don’t have a dishwasher. Turning off the water while you wash your dishes by hand can also save a significant amount of water.
4. Unplug Unused Appliances
It may come as a surprise, but your appliances are never truly “off” even when you’ve shut down the power. This is known as a phantom load, or electricity that devices use even when they’re off. Unplugging appliances that aren’t in use can help you save money on your monthly electric bills. You can also install a smart power strip, which turns off power to devices that have entered standby mode.
5. Use Dual-Flush Toilets
Did you know that conventional toilets can use five to seven gallons of water per flush? Considering this statistic, it’s no wonder that the average American family uses thousands of gallons of water a year. However, the good news is that you can easily reduce your water consumption by installing dual-flush toilets. Dual-flush toilets come with two flush options: liquid and solid waste. While the solid waste option uses about 1.6 gallons of water per flush, the liquid waste option uses only 0.8 gallons. This can reduce your water usage by up to 80%, which translates to approximately 4,000 gallons a year. Dual-flush toilets also clog less frequently than conventional toilets, which can save you both time and headaches in the future.
Although the idea of living a more sustainable lifestyle can sound overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be if you start with small steps. Following these five tips can help you protect the environment while also saving a few extra dollars each month.