Lately, I’ve received a lot of questions, suggestions, and ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Now, I am definitely NOT an expert, nor do I live my life to be zero waste and worry about every little thing that I do, but I am trying to be better. My current lifestyle is often on-the-go and while I do have a calendar that I plan my day out on, there are a lot of events that happen unexpectedly.
While “being green” can seem daunting, there are some really simple tips you can incorporate into your life to become more environmentally friendly one day at a time. Living a more eco-friendly lifestyle doesn’t have to break the bank by purchasing a bunch of green products either – there are many things you can start doing right now.
9 Tips to Living A More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
Ditch the plastic bags and purchase your own reusable bags. My favorite “free” bags to use are Lululemon bags because they are large and are able to hold a decent weight. Plus, the small bags are perfect for carrying your lunch. Now, I use a large insulated bag for groceries and this market bag for most everything else. Although plastic bags can have negative effects on the environment, they are also used to create biofuel, so stay eco-friendly but don’t beat yourself up!
Do you really need to leave your coffee pot, iron, or computer plugged in when not in use? There are many smaller electronics that only consume a tiny amount of energy, however, leaving larger items like computers and televisions can not only save you money on your energy bill, but you are also preserving energy.
Swap out your plastic containers for glass. Not only do plastic containers pose harmful risks to the environment, they can also be harmful to your personal health by potentially releasing harmful chemicals when in contact with food. I love everything OXO, so these glass storage containers are a no-brainer. Not ready to part with your plastic containers – go for a set that is microwave AND dishwasher safe as well as BPA free.
Second hand Goods
Now this may not be for everyone, but it is an option – purchase items secondhand. I definitely have a “to buy and not to buy” list for second hand items, so you’ll definitely need to decide what you will and won’t purchase that’s thrifted, but some easy items that I often pick up are books, baskets, picture frames, or electronics that are like new. I have a friend who only purchases preloved luxury handbags for a fraction of the price. You can do it, but it can take a little time and research before you get better at it! This can be at garage/yard sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, or second hand stores (these are just different names they many fall under).
Say “NO” to straws
This is a tough one for me. My teeth are very sensitive and don’t like the feeling of liquid touching my teeth. I recently purchased these life-changing glass straws. I have a set at home and a set at work. Plus, I keep 1-2 in my purse. That may be a little much for someone who doesn’t care/need a straw, but it is important to me. I’ve tried metal straws and cannot stand the feeling against my teeth, the sound, or how cold they get from an iced drink – but they are worth a shot, if you don’t care for glass. Or skip the straws all together.
Turn off the lights
I know, I know – your parents have been telling you this for years! But really, turn off those freaking lights! You do not need to leave them on in any room you are not actively engaged in. Open those window curtains and enjoy the natural light and turn on those lights only when needed. Take it a step further and opt for energy-efficient lightbulbs. While they may be a bit pricier to begin with, they will often last longer and you’ll save money and energy in the long run.
Reusable Cups and Bottles
If you don’t already have one, purchase a stylish water bottle (I recommend this Hydroflask & Stanley) and travel mug (We use this Ella) to carry with you on the go. We have a bunch of Starbucks tumblers, mason jars, and branded cups from networking events that we use too. PS – check your local coffee shop to see if they give you a discount for bringing in your own cup! Starbucks gives you $0.10 off but I’ve seen a discount anywhere from $0.05-0.50 per reusable cup.
Going paperless seems like a no brainer in this day and age, but it is one that is often overlooked because a lot of companies ask you to opt in if you would like to receive your billing statements via email. It takes less than 5 minutes to log into each of your accounts and opt in to going paperless. Pro-tip – some services also provide discounts for going paperless!
I’m all about supporting local businesses, but be sure those businesses are ACTUALLY being environmentally friendly in their processes. I love shopping farmers markets for groceries and local boutiques that source ethically made products and even better, handmade products. At the end of the day, do what is feasible for your budget, but also remember that just because a storefront preaches local, doesn’t mean the products they are purchasing and reselling are environmentally friendly. I always go for quality over quantity when it comes to local.
I can definitely do a better job with incorporating some of the above tips into my own life, but I am all about baby steps. We are all human, we live certain lifestyles, and we make mistakes. No need to beat each other up on being so eco-friendly that you forget why you are doing what you’re doing. By incorporating even ONE of these in your life can make a difference.
You’ve got this! How are you living a more eco-friendly lifestyle?