Wednesday, April 25, 2018

10 Tips to Start Your Eco-Friendly Way of Living

(If you are looking for make a positive personal impact on the environment -- especially with the U.S. EPA under its current management -- you might enjoy these ideas from Lily Kaligian.)

While climate change and environmental degradation may seem like issues that we can’t make a huge difference to as individuals, every choice we make can have an impact, no matter how small it might seem. Making more sustainable choices is an important part of having a more eco-friendly lifestyle and by just changing a few habits we can do our part for the environment. Here are ten tips to start living more a more eco-friendly life.

1. Eat Local And Seasonally
Buying your food from local producers and farmers markets not only means the produce will be fresher and taste better but it also has environmental benefits. The food spends less time in transit, so there's less chance of it losing nutrients or spoiling. Eating local food means your food has less ‘food miles’ and reducing your food miles helps to reduce our carbon footprint. This is because when you buy food from overseas or goods not produced in your local community, these items have usually been transported to the supermarket from very far away via plane, truck or ship. By shopping locally, you’re helping to cut down on fuel consumption, air pollution and production costs. 

2. Use Canvas Bags
Plastic, and how much we use it, is one of the biggest issues affecting the environment. It takes an inordinate amount of time for plastic to decompose and everyday people use plastic bags, bottles and packaging unnecessarily. To help prevent this, use reusable shopping bags when you go to your local supermarket and try to reduce the number of products in packaging that you buy. There’s no need to separate different fruit and vegetables into plastic bags when you’re just going to be putting them in the fridge all together and washing them before use. A good tip is to keep a bunch of canvas bags in your car so that they’re there and ready to use if you decide to drop in at the supermarket to pick something up. 

3. Set Up An Easy Recycling System
A lot of people don’t recycle simply because the process seems intimidating or difficult when in reality, recycling is easy to do once you have a system in place. Firstly, make sure you know your city or area’s recycling rules and follow them. Find out what you should be putting in which bin. Within your home, make sure you have different bins for different types of waste and that the system is clearly labelled so people aren’t likely to put items in the incorrect one. 

4. Stop Using Plastic Water Bottles And Takeaway Coffee Cups
One of the ways we create waste every day is by using plastic water bottles and takeaway coffee cups. Neither of these items can be recycled and plastic bottles, in particular, take hundreds of years to properly break down. However, it is easy to avoid using them simply by investing in a reusable bottle and a keepcup for your takeaway coffees. By changing your habit and taking the time to make sure you’ve got your water bottle on you, you can stop using plastic bottles for good. 

5. Invest In Eco-Friendly Brands
One way to live more sustainable is to be sustainable in our fashion choices and the way we shop for clothing. While making your wardrobe eco-friendlier can require some research, understanding what brands are eco-conscious makes you a more empowered consumer. 
Not only can you purchase products that support the idea of the eco-friendly way of living, but you can learn how to invest in companies that are “green” and sustainable. By doing that, you are supporting businesses with a great initiative and showing that you want more environmentally-friendly companies in the market.

6. Change Your Lightbulbs
Almost one-fifth of the world’s electricity comes from artificial light, generating almost 2 billion tonnes worth of carbon a year. So, next time you’re in need of new lightbulbs, switch to a more eco-friendly brand that will last longer and use much less electricity than regular lightbulbs. Cooler-burning bulbs, such as CFL and LED, can also save you money on your electricity bill. 

7. Use Your Car Less
Reducing how much you use your car is beneficial for the environment because it reduces fuel consumption and air pollution. Instead of using our car for short distances, opt to walk or ride a bike instead. Carpool or catch public transport to work and avoid peak hour traffic when you can. 

8. Start Composting
Compost bins make a big difference in reducing food waste and the can also help your plants (and food) grow better in your garden. Like recycling, composting is easy to do once you have a system in place. If you have a backyard, you can simply have your compost heap outside somewhere and keep a bin inside where you can hold scraps until you put them on the heap. If you live in an apartment building contact your landlord to see if it would be possible to organiser a communal compost area. Materials such as fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, grass clippings and coffee grounds can all go into your compost pile. 

9. Line Dry Your Clothes 
Tumble drying is not an eco-friendly activity given that by simply using a clothesline, you could save your household almost half a tonne of CO2e. Avoid using your dryer unnecessarily and instead try and dry your clothes on a rack or a line. 

10. Eat Less Meat
Meat production is one of the most environmentally destructive industries because it uses significant amounts of water, causes greenhouse gas emissions and the destruction of habitats, not to mention incidences of terrible animal cruelty. This doesn’t mean you have to become vegan overnight but you can make a difference by simply reducing how often you’re eating meat.

(Lily Kaligian is an editor at and She creates a variety of articles about careers, entrepreneurship, technology, business, education, as well as travel and personal development.)

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