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Do you know how much waste you produce per day?
Well, the EPA found out that an average American person creates 4.4 pounds of (non-recyclable) trash everyday.
No wonder the environment is heading south.
Sure, there are things that are out of control that you may not be able to do much about. But you can make some easy changes to your daily lifestyle and start small.
You don’t have to make big shifts. The small, everyday things can and will make a big difference.
Every single person has the capability to do their part in some way, even if it’s as little as choosing to get electronic bills instead of paper mails (see #4).
Here are five simple ways anyone can start their journey to becoming more eco-friendly (and even save some cash!):
1. Use a reusable water bottle
A large portion of the 4.4 pounds of trash produced by a person is plastic bottles and jars.
I don’t have to tell you this. You already know how many plastic bottles you have dumped in the garbage in the last 3 weeks.
Instead of buying plastic water bottles, you can get a steel water bottle that will last for a long time. That will be more convenient for you and save you money (since you won’t be buying the plastic ones anymore).
I highly recommend the S’well Stainless Steel water bottle. But frankly, you can get any bottle you like. As long as it serves it purpose, it will work.
In general, it should be:
- High quality and durable
- Big enough (17 oz is pretty good)
- Portable (should fit your bag, cupholder, etc.)
2. Use cloth bags
Instead of plastic or paper bags, go for a reusable cotton cloth bag.
A lot of convenience stores are opting in for a green solution by making the customers pay for the branded plastic bags (if they choose to get it). This method makes some customers bring their own shopping bag from home to save money.
Even if your local store doesn’t do this, you should be taking the initiative to carry a good canvas tote bag to shopping. They are more durable than the plastic or paper ones and can help you carry heavy things.
On a side note, I know some people collect the plastic bags from stores to use them for other household things (like storage). You can get Ziplock bags for this purpose. They are recyclable and sometimes even reusable.
3. Use cloth napkins
Almost every household has paper towels. They are in high demand and have to be bought as frequently as toilet papers.
But you can easily replace them with reusable cloth napkins. They are multipurpose and can be used for everything that paper towels are used for. Just buy a bulk of them and wash in a regular cycle after using.
Do not buy the white ones! They are more likely to get stained. Go for the colored ones (like navy blue, red, teal, etc.).
4. Go paperless
Maybe you can’t be entirely without paper, but use your digital resources to replace paper whenever possible. With all the electronics, it’s easier than ever to do this.
Here are some tips to save more paper:
- Use a printer/scanner to scan documents and save them in your computer (if you don’t need the documents anymore, make sure to recycle them)
- Print (if you must) double sided
- Use note-taking apps instead of post-its or paper notebooks.
- Opt in for emails instead of paper mails
- Pay your bills online
- Use E-reader or Amazon Kindle instead of paper books
You will realize that doing some of these things will make space in your house and make things less chaotic. I know those of you that have piles of mails and books lying around the house know what I am talking about.
5. Buy (and sell) second hand stuff
Last but not the least, you can buy and sell locally to reuse and save money.
For example, you can choose to buy a second hand, same good quality couch from an app like Letgo or OfferUp, instead of going to a retail furniture store (where the price will be higher). So you are getting the same couch for a cheaper price.
Note that you don’t have to compromise on the quality of what you are buying. There are people that are selling things that have been used only for a few days and are in the almost exact condition as it was in when it was first bought. And ideally, it will be up for sale for a cheaper price.
You can also put up for sale things that you have. If you believe that you have clothes, furniture or books that are still in good quality and can benefit someone else, then you can sell them in a yard sale or online in a few clicks.
So, these are the five simple things you can do to start to be eco-friendly today.
All of the ways mentioned above have the potential to save you some extra cash if you implement them.
But these are not all the ways. I am sure there are so many other creative ways some of you are choosing to be sustainable.
What are some things you are doing to help the environment? To save money?
Let me know in the comments!