Embracing an eco-friendly lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a thorough evaluation of your day-to-day habits, followed by small steps that reduce your energy consumption and waste accumulation. Here are four eco-friendly steps to take every day that will lead to a greener lifestyle.
1. Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
The first step to adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle is calculating your carbon footprint, or the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds you emit as a result of fossil fuel consumption. The Nature Conservancy offers a free carbon footprint calculator that evaluates your travel, household, food, and shopping habits, calculates your footprint, and even suggests ways to take action to reduce your footprint.
2. Find Inspiration On Social Media
When you feel like you’re doing all you can to embrace a green lifestyle, look for inspiration from others, especially on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Companies such as Amway have YouTube videos on their channels showing you how to use their eco-friendly products in your everyday life. Follow green influencers on Instagram such as Lauren Singer, founder and CEO of the Package Free Shop, who after five years can still fit all of her business trash into a single mason jar. Use Twitter to stay up to date on current events related to the environment and use that as inspiration to make eco-friendly steps in your life. Finally, follow eco-friendly boards on Pinterest or create your own board to save green ideas for your home or business.
3. Eliminate Plastic
Plastic bags and more recently, plastic straws, are in the limelight as some cities and states ban their use, causing people to look for eco-friendly alternatives. But let’s not stop there. About 40 percent of the plastic produced is for packaging that is used once then discarded, according to National Geographic. Avoid this excess plastic by shopping in bulk or at farmers markets and steer clear from online distributors that are known to over-package their items. Going cold turkey with plastic is not easy; a good first step is ensuring the plastic you purchase is actually recyclable, which won’t be easy considering only 9 percent of the plastic produced in the United States can be recycled. Finally, with nearly 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flowing into the ocean every year from coastal regions, be sure your trash ends up in a waste bin, or better yet, a recycling bin.
4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Although it sounds cliche, ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ remains one of the most eco-friendly mantras to live by. Reevaluate your lifestyle and see where it’s appropriate to reduce consumption, reuse materials instead of tossing them to the landfill, and recycle, especially unconventional items. Reduce your car usage by riding a bike, carpooling, or using public transportation. Reuse food waste by composting at home and creating nutrient-rich fertilizer for your plants. Recycle non-traditional items like electronics, batteries, and any other e-waste by dropping it off at a third party or government recycling center near you.
There are so many resources out there with tips for living a greener life. If you feel overwhelmed, start by calculating your carbon footprint. Once you’re aware of your impact on the environment, look for inspiration online and don’t be afraid to fall back on timeless advice like ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. Never consider even the smallest eco-friendly step insignificant toward the end goal of adopting a lifestyle that’s harmonious with Mother Earth.