Are you looking for easy ways to reduce your environmental impact? Well, I have a crafted a mega-post full of easy swaps that we can make to reduce the impact we have on the planet.
Some of these tips you might have already mastered, but hopefully you'll pick up a few new ones along the way too.
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1. Reduce Food Waste:
- Write down what is inside of your fridge before you go grocery shopping! Plan meals around the food that needs to be eaten first.
- Buy less than you think that you need. We tend to over buy on food so remove on meal from your meal plan because you'll most likely have an unexpected dinner out or leftovers!
- Chop and store the produce when you get home from the store so creating meals is easy during the week.
- Store your food properly so it doesn't go bad! Head to this post for a list on how to store your produce plastic-free.
- Ignore the dates. Best-by, sell-by, and use-by are NOT expiration dates. There's no scientific way to predict the exact day something is going to expire so use your best judgement with smell and taste. If it tastes fine - it's probably fine to eat.
- Eat your ends and stems. Are you still throwing the tops of the carrots and beets out? STOP IT. They are delicious!! Beet tops make a great chard substitute and carrot tops make a delicious pesto. Check out this cookbook for TONS of tips on how to use your scraps.
- Save the peels of your onions, carrots, garlic, and celery ends to make a delicious vegetable stock that you can use to infuse more flavor into rice, quinoa, etc.
- Use your freezer to freeze fruits and veggies you might not have time to get to before they turn.
- Use slightly mushy fruits in smoothies or breakfast breads.
- If you do have any leftover food, make sure you compost it! Get our guide for composting.
2. Re-Think Transportation:
- Drive less. Like WAY less.
- Opt for riding your bike.
- Grab public transportation.
- Create a 30-minute rule. If it's under a 30-minute walk, walk or ride your bike.
- Combine your trips so you're not ping-ponging back and forth.
- Take one less intercontinental or international flight this year and opt to vacation somewhere closer to home.
- Pack lighter when you travel.
- Carpool! Try to get a carpool sheet going at work so people can ride together to save on gas and cut down on emissions.
- Pitch working from home for a day or two to reduce emissions... and work in your pajamas. ; )
- Switch to an electric vehicle and charge it with solar power.
3. Make your Home More Efficient:
- Opt for LED light bulbs.
- Install low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets.
- Look into gray water systems or catching rainfall.
- Install solar panels and a solar battery. Don't own your home? Look into switching where your energy comes from with your electricity service provider or joining a community solar farm.
- Seal all of your windows and/or replace them with more efficient double-paned windows.
- Add insulation to your home.
- Unplug your devices to prevent phantom electricity from being consumed.
- Keep a bucket in your shower to catch the water while it's heating up and use it to water plants or flush the toilet.
- Wash your clothes in cold water.
- Hang your clothes to dry on the line instead of using the dryer.
4. Avoid Single-Use Plastic:
- Say no to freebies.
- Invest in a water filter for your home to avoid buying bottled water.
- Buy several reusable water bottles and keep them full of filtered water so you can grab and go and be out the door.
- Bring your own bags to all stores like pet store, hardware store, grocery store, etc.
- Bring your own cloth produce bags to the grocery store or the farmers market.
- Drink your coffee in the cafe in a real cup.
- Bring a thermos to the cafe to get it to-go.
- Bring your own container to take home leftovers from the restaurant.
- Say no to straws.
- Opt for plastic-free produce and food.
5. Make Simple Swaps in the Bathroom:
- Use a safety razor or electric razor instead of a disposable plastic razor.
- Opt for a bar of soap instead of body wash.
- Try a shampoo bar or use a refillable service like Plaine Products.
- Create a core of makeup that you use everyday, and one for special occasions and don't buy ANYMORE than that.
- Implement a 'one in, one out' rule where you only buy one product once you finish a product.
- Use the correct amount of product. Often we use way too much product. Here's a handy guide for how much you really need.
- Cut your tubes open to get the last bit of product and don't let any of it go to waste.
- Put your toner in a spray bottle and spray it on your face instead of using cotton rounds that absorb a lot of the product.
- Switch to reusable cotton rounds instead of disposables.
- Opt for a bamboo toothbrush. My favorite is Brush with Bamboo.
- Opt for products in glass instead of plastic.
- Look for beauty products with clean ingredients that are better for both your health and the health of the planet.
- Install a bidet attachment
- Go for recycled or tree-free toilet paper.
- Switch to reusable menstrual products like period panties, menstrual cups, and cloth pads.
6. Make Simple Swaps in the Kitchen:
- Don't buy individual servings of food. Buy larger servings and portion them out at home.
- Use reusable dishcloths instead of paper towels. For more tips on ditching paper towels read this blog post.
- Avoid plastic wrap by switching to beeswax wraps.
- Quit aluminum foil by switching to reusable silicone mats.
- Store your food in glass containers like snapware or mason jars.
- Swap plastic baggies for reusable silicone baggies.
- Pack your lunch in a lunch box instead of a brown paper bag.
- Use real plates and flatware.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
- Clean-up with a simple homemade cleaner of 1 part vinegar / 1 part water.
- Opt for looseleaf tea (tea bags are made with plastic!)
- Ditch the Kuerig and opt for a trash-free method like pour-over, french press, etc.
- Keep a stocked pantry so you can make all of your favorite meals quickly without creating trash.
- Spend a few minutes prepping a few foods to help get zero waste dinners on the table fast.
- Swap sponges for compostable bamboo dish scrubs
7. Live Local:
- Head to your local farmers market.
- Start a small garden, even an herb garden in your windowsill.
- Try to regrow your food from scraps like green onions or celery.
- Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) and receive local, farm-fresh goodies straight to your doorstep.
- Support your local small businesses like local soap makers etc.
- Find your local repair shops like tailors, cobblers, tinkerers, and woodworkers to get all of your things repaired.
- Eat with the seasons and enjoy the bounty of your region. Maybe even try your hand at preserving foods.
- Shop your local thrift store or garage sales when you're looking for new homewares, small appliances, even trendy clothing.
- Join a local community garden where you can compost and even have a hand in growing your own food.
- Get involved in your community by screening a documentary, hosting a clean-up, or giving a talk to help others live a more eco-friendly life.
8. Re-Think Your Plate:
- Go heavy on the plants.
- Participate in meatless-Mondays
- Participate in wheatless-Wednesdays
- Commit to eating plant-based two days a week or more if you can!
- Opt for smaller plates of food and go back for seconds if you're still hungry.
- Make sure you actually eat your leftovers!
- Make local produce the star of the show and lightly garnish with animal products.
- Focus on crops that aren't as water-intensive like lima beans, corn, peanuts, quinoa, watermelon, radishes, spinach, etc.
- Re-brew your tea leaves
- Opt for local, in-season fruits and veggies as snacks instead of pre-packaged ones.
9. Shop Consciously:
- Support companies that have ethical practices.
- Look for companies that offer warranties on their products.
- Look for companies that are environmentally focused.
- Purchase products that give back to environmental organizations like through 1% for the planet.
- Pick products that have staying power and will last with your for years.
- Ask yourself if this is something you could proudly pass onto your grandchildren.
- Wait 30 days before making a purchase.
- Buy less!
- Look for recycled content and corporate responsibility programs where they will take their products back at the end of their life.
- Look for items that can be repaired and mended.
Well folks, that was 100 tips! I hope that you picked up a few new tricks that you can implement in your daily life.