Today is an international Earth day, and thus it’s an ideal day to think about what we can do for the planet. We can definitely change some of our habits and implement healthier, more ecological and often more economical approach to life. We can walk more, use less energy, waste fewer resources, and consume less in general. Each of us can do a thing or two to participate and help sustain and protect the planet.
There are things we try to do in our household. We are far from perfect but many things we changed in the past stuck with us and became standard. Most of the changes you can make are small, uncomplicated, and inexpensive. And changing just one thing today can have a significant impact in the long haul.
These are 10 things we focused on in the past, are implementing now, or plan to change in the near future. Will you join us?
I consider food waste to be one of the biggest and most easily preventable problems we as a society create. It’s very sad if you think about how many people could be fed with that food before it goes bad and how much money could be saved.
Most of us can afford such a quantity and variety of food these days that we consider it a standard to have a full fridge and many different options all the time. We often buy or cook too much, only to realize we don’t want to eat it the next day. It’s normal if things get spoiled occasionally, but it shouldn’t be a rule.
Say No to Straw
Not so long ago I read this article explaining how the oceans and ocean life are threatened by plastic pollution. And plastic straws are part of the problem.
Not using staws at home, and declining them in the restaurants is just a tiny thing we can do. And if you cannot resist slurping your beverage through a long slender tube, then opt for reusable stainless steel or paper straws.
Get a Reusable Water Bottle
Another simple change you can do to help reduce plastic use is to buy reusable water battle and bring water from home. Nowadays free drinkable water is available in many shopping centers, cafes, and even on some outdoor playgrounds or pedestrian areas.
When it comes to reusable water bottles, there are many options. You can buy BPA free plastic one, glass, or stainless steel. For me, insulated stainless steel bottle is the best option. It’s lightweight, hard to damage, it holds its content hot or cold for hours, and it doesn’t absorb smell or gets discolored as many plastic bottles get over time. I have been using this bottle for years.
Give Capsule Wardrobe a Try
Shopping for new clothes not because we need them but because they are cheap, we had a bad day, or we are bored, became a norm. We end up with closets full of things we don’t wear, many with price tags still on them months after the purchase.
Having a capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean owning only a specific amount of items. The whole idea is about creating wardrobe which consists only of clothes we love and wear as long as possible. It means not shopping out of boredom, but buying new things when we need them. It emphasizes choosing versatile quality pieces instead of cheap seasonal trends.
Having a capsule wardrobe leads to decluttered closets, unique personal styles, less money spent, and less waste. That’s a pretty good deal, right?
Eat & Use More Fresh Produce
Eating more fresh produce means our food needs to go through less processing, spends less time in transportation containers, and requires less packaging. And it’s healthier for us!
Fruits and vegetables are versatile, and you can use them in many recipes and meals. They can be cooked, baked, steamed, used raw, in salads, smoothies, or just as they are. And longterm, they lead to lower medical bills.
Cook at Home More Often
Not only will you save some money, but you’ll also eat healthier. It will give you a chance to use more fresh produce and eat more seasonally. You don’t need to be a chef or have a huge repertoire of recipes you can make from scratch. Start with a few favorites and add new once over time.
Eating simpler food from real ingredients will become second nature over time, and you’ll be able to whip up a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner from fresh produce and pantry staples in a matter of minutes.
Go Meatless One Extra Day a Week
Meatless Monday initiative started in 2003 as a campaign for eating healthier meatless meals. Lowering meat consumption is ecological and environmentally friendly since it leads to water and energy conservation and lessening of greenhouse gas emissions.
Nowadays Meatless Monday is a global movement and if you haven’t joined yet, give it a try. In case you’re already on board, can you switch to plant-based protein sources one more day a week? It’s better for the planet and your health as well!
Find One Healthier Snack to Have on Hand
For most people, snacks are the least healthy foods they eat. If you look around, plastic wrappers from chocolate bars and chips are polluting the streets.
Find a snack you like and which is easy to have in bag or purse. Grab a piece of fruit, a handful of almonds, or a home-made muffin when you leave the house, and you won’t be tempted to buy snack outside. Home-made and unprocessed snacks are a healthier, more economical, and usually more ecological option.
Switch One Cosmetic or Cleaning Product for a More Ecological Alternative
Switching all your cosmetic or cleaning product at the same time neither easy nor economical. But next time you’ll need to buy a product choose an ecological alternative and stick to buying it from now on.
At the moment, there are plenty of eco-friendly products available under the shop brands (such as Delhaize in Belgium). And they are about the same price as non-eco products from big brands. Over time, you’ll be able to switch to an ecological alternative to most of the products you use without ruining your budget.
Even after minimizing our consumption, waste, and use of plastics, we still end up with some trash. Make sure you separate and recycle at least the main groups – glass, paper, metal, and plastic.
You can usually bring batteries and light bulbs to the shops. And many cities have separate bags or bins for compostable waste. Also, don’t forget that unused medicine should always be returned to a pharmacy, and frying oil is also separately collected.
I believe if each of us would choose just one thing to change and improve a year, collectively we can revert the threads our planet, and we, are facing. Which one of these tips would you choose to implement next? Do you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments!