In today’s world, the number of individuals who are striving to maintain a more eco-conscious, environmentally friendly life is rising at a rapid rate. This much-needed shift in priorities has led many to adapt to sustainable switches and adjustments to better the environment. With a continued, collective effort, we can positively impact our planet, and you can start with these simple, sustainable switches.
1. Unplug electronics when not in use.
Turning the lights off when you leave the room is a known energy-saver. However, did you know that many of your conventional, household appliances and devices are sucking energy even when turned off?
The energy used by these devices is known as “phantom energy,” which can account for up to 25% of your energy bill. Some of these sneaky culprits include:
- Toaster ovens
- TV’s & stereos
- Video game consoles
- Cell phone charger
- Laptop charger & desktop computers
Try utilizing power strips to consolidate all of these plugs, so all you have to do is unplug the one cord to alleviate this electrical energy leakage. This tactic will help the planet and your wallet.
2. Ditch the wasteful plastic & one-use items.
Plastic never goes away. Every piece of plastic ever made is still existent somewhere on our planet. Over 8 million tons of those broken-down plastic particles are currently swirling around our ocean’s surface. This pollution has been found to affect the deepest parts of the ocean floor humans have been able to access. At our current waste rate, we are on track to double this harmful production by 2050. To mitigate the detrimental consequences, begin eliminating plastic across the board.
If you begin to reduce your use of plastic, opt for reusable items, and properly dispose of waste (trash vs. recycle), you can create a positive impact on our environment. Primary plastic perpetrators you can easily switch out for a sustainable alternative includes but is not limited to:
- Plastic water bottles
- Plastic Straws
- Single-use cutlery & kitchenware (including chopsticks, paper plates, plastic cups, etc.)
- Packaged produce or plastic produce bags
- Plastic shopping bags
3. Avoid using chemical-laden laundry detergent & other household cleaners.
With an overwhelming amount of detergents and household cleaners on the market, it can be a daunting task figuring out which one is best for you. Be aware, most brands you find in your local grocery store shelf are packed with unnecessary fillers, artificial dyes, and gnarly, harmful chemicals. These detergents and cleaners are not only dangerous to your own health, but the planet suffers too.
Make sure you are seeking out a brand whose focus is on safer, plant-based alternatives that are also biodegradable, and greywater safe. You want your detergents to contain only green, chemical-free ingredients with no trace of optical brighteners, phosphates, and other harmful components.
4. Line-dry your laundry as much as you can.
A sneaky suspect that could be leaving a significant carbon footprint is the good ole dryer. Although this is such a convenient appliance and makes laundry more manageable, there are ways to lessen the major use of energy. If accessible, embrace some old-school ways and set yourself up for line-drying your clothes.
5. Build your own compost.
Back in 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, better known as EPA, reported the United States produced over 260 million tons of solid waste. This was a massive 3.5 million ton increase from the previous year, and we haven’t slowed down since. How can you help minimize our waste? A DIY compost will help put a good chunk of your trash to better use - healthy, robust soil!
6. Try to carpool, rideshare, or ride your bike more often!
Switching up your means of transportation can drastically reduce toxic emissions. Currently, our country’s transportation sector makes up a third of our climate-changing toxins. An easy way to lend a helping hand in the fight against carbon emissions, strap on a helmet, grab some friends, and rally together for a bike-to-work day or opt for once-a-week carpooling!
7. Buy in bulk & find a refillery near you.
Buying in bulk has been a trick of the trade for years, and it’s becoming more and more popular as individuals around the world try to minimize their carbon footprint. The amount of plastic containers, wasted food products, etc. begins to add up each time you have to re-up on shampoo, spices, cleaners, and more. By purchasing bulk items, you reduce the amount of waste, and more often than not, it’s cheaper! Win, win in our book.
Small Changes Can Make a Big Impact
Whether you start with one adjustment, all seven, or a complete sustainable sweep, all of the effort counts towards a more significant, positive impact. Learn as you go and adapt to innovative, waste-reducing methods and tactics.