Little changes can make a BIG environmental impact. If you’re looking to “go green,” reduce your carbon footprint or live a more eco-friendly life, here are easy ways to start making an impact today!
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Earth day is April 22, and that day always showcases so many inspiring ways to get a little “greener” in everyday life. While you may not think that the choices you make have an impact, they really do!
“It’s only one plastic straw…said 8 billion people”
Did you know?
- Leaving the water running while you brush your teeth can waste about 5 gallons of water.
- Around the world, nearly a million plastic bottles are sold EVERY MINUTE.
- Roughly one-third of the food produced every year – around 1.3 billion tons and valued at $1 trillion – is wasted or lost, enough to feed 3 billion people.
There are BIG things you can do like buying an electric car or installing solar panels on your house to curb your carbon footprint. But there are also tons of small things that will add up with a big impact. If those facts above weigh heavy on you, know that you can start today toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
If you’re looking to get started on your sustainability journey, or for additional ways to “go green” as a family, here are 52 easy ideas (one for each week of the year!)
Using Less Plastic & Recycling More
- Don’t forget your reusable shopping bags when heading to the grocery store. Keep them in your car for shopping trips. Make sure to take them out and wash them frequently.
- Skip plastic Ziplock bags and opt for reusable silicone ones instead.
- Recycle all those plastic containers, newspapers, egg cartons and more.
- Buy a reusable water bottle you can refill instead of buying bottled water.
- Say bye to plastic straws and hello to reusable ones. There are so many stainless steel and silicone ones to choose from.
- Don’t brown bag it – get a reusable lunch tote and containers for packing your familys’ lunches.
- Donate or sell unused items (housewares, clothes, toys, books, furniture etc.) instead of throwing them out.
- Swap disposable plastic wrap for reusable beeswax wrap.
- Don’t cover your baking sheets with aluminum foil, instead use a reusable silicone baking mat, like Silpat.
- Buying online? Opt for your items to come in less boxes/deliveries.
- Save toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, plastic fruit cup containers, etc. for arts and crafts projects with your kids.
- Don’t take disposable cutlery and napkins with your take-out food.
Preventing Food Waste
- Buy in-season produce = less transportation to get it to store. Plus it’ll be fresher and cheaper.
- Save those veggie scraps! Store your vegetable odds and ends in a freezer bag until full. Then, make your own veggie stock for soup.
- Go meatless at least once a week. Adding more plant-based foods to your diet is not only great for your health, but also for the environment. Plant-based foods emit fewer greenhouse emissions than other foods.
- Don’t let those fruits and veggies go bad – freeze them for later! Check out these tips for how-tos.
- Plan your meals BEFORE you head to the store. It’ll cut down on extra food purchases and set you up with a plan for the week.
- Know when and when not to toss out food. Expiration and sell-by dates aren’t always the same and can lead to you tossing otherwise good food. The FoodKeeper app can help you see the shelf life of common foods.
- Properly store your fruits and vegetables so they last longer. We break down 60+ items on our Produce Tips page.
- Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) and receive local, farm-fresh goodies straight to your doorstep.
Gardening & Composting Ideas
- Plant a garden. Whether you have a large backyard or just a small windowsill, planting fruits, vegetables and herbs can have a big impact.
- Start a compost pile and add to your garden to enrich the soil.
- Regrow your fruits and veggies! Green onions, lettuce, pineapple and more can all be regrown and save you money.
- Plant native to your area – all places have ecological significance – even your yard!
- Install a rain barrel and use the rainwater to water your plants.
- Water smartly! Water evaporates more easily during the hotter parts of the day. Stick to watering in the morning or evening.
Saving Energy & Water at Home
- Turn off lights as you exit each room to conserve energy and save on your electricity bill.
- Turn off the water when you brush your teeth, wash your hands or shave.
- Switch your regular light bulbs for energy-efficient bulbs. LED light bulbs can be more expensive up front, but tend to last longer and will save energy (and on your electricity bill) over time.
- Go paperless, billing that is. Opt to get your bills via email and pay them online or over the phone.
- Turn up the thermostat when you leave the house to save energy and cut down on your electricity bill.
- Wash dishes in the dishwasher instead of by hand to save water.
- Install low-flow showerheads, faucets and toilets.
- Unplug appliances and other items when not in use to avoid “phantom” electricity consumption.
- Wash your clothes in cold water and only wash when you have a full load.
- Check your sprinklers regularly to ensure they’re watering your grass, not the sidewalk or driveway.
- Take shorter showers.
- Use smaller appliances like a slow cooker, air fryer or Instant Pot instead of turning on the oven.
- Buy eco-friendly appliances.
- Turn off your computer when it’s not in use.
- Fix leaky faucets, toilets, etc. to save water.
More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Tips
- Spend more time outdoors. Plus, fresh air is good for the soul.
- Borrow books from the library instead of purchasing them.
- Read your favorite newspaper or magazine online instead of reading the paper versions.
- Adopt pets instead of getting them from a breeder. There are so many pets out there who need a family!
- Use eco-friendly cleaning products at home. A lot of chemicals used to clean our clothes, dishes, and house end up causing damage to our planet and its biodiversity.
- Carpool to work or school, or ride your bike!
- Shop at bulk food stores (and bring your own containers) for dry goods, nuts and other items you use frequently.
- Repurpose glass jars for storing leftover, dry goods and more in your kitchen and house.
- Swap your sunscreen for a mineral-based sunscreen. Look for sunscreens made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, they’re safer for the ocean.
- Buy second-hand clothes or shop sustainable clothing brands.
- Skip the elevator and take the stairs.