No matter if we live in the city or the suburbs, green living is becoming more important to people across the nation. We often hear about green living in the news and in the media, but many may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of altering one's lifestyle to live a "greener" life. The great news is that making the choice to go greener is as simple as changing up some behaviors that you may not realize are contributing to waste and harming our planet. Going green is easier than ever. Follow some of these simple steps below for adopting a greener life:
1. Decrease Energy Used in Your Home
Did you know that even unplugging an appliance when it's not in use is a step in a greener direction? That's right - even this small change can help spur lasting changes in your habits and help the Earth. Other options include lowering the thermostat in the winter and raising it in the summer, making sure to turn lights off when you're not in the room, washing clothes with cold water, air drying clothes on a line or drying rack, and replacing traditional light bulbs with eco-friendly CFL bulbs. Not only are these tips beneficial to our planet, but they also save you money on your monthly energy bills each month! If making all of these changes seems daunting, why not try one or two and see where it leads?
2. Reduce Your Use of Paper
Many of us rely on paper all day long - whether we're using it at work or mopping up a mess one of the kids made with paper towels. Many companies are going green by offering online or digital options in order to save paper, and we can adopt that idea in our own lives too. See if any of your billing companies offer paperless billing to cut down on junk mail making its way to the landfill. Is there anything you can do at work to optimize technology and decrease paper notes or handouts? Even at home, we can chuck the wasteful paper towels for eco-friendly recycled cloths made from old T-shirts or clothing. Consider recyling the paper that you do use in your daily life. Up to forty percent of waste in landfills is paper based, and recycling one short ton of paper can save seventeen trees. If we all pitch in, that can add up!
3. Eat Less Meat
Ok, ok, this doesn't mean that you have to go vegetarian or vegan, but most people could cut back on meat consumption - even if it's just a meal or two per week. Approximately 30 percent of the Earth's surface is being used for livestock raising and meat production, and the meat industry is a leading contributor to harmful emission of global warming potential gases. We live in a time where meat substitutes are readily available in grocery stores and restaurants. Choosing these products or recipes that do not call for meat is a meaningful step that humans can take in reducing their carbon footprints and living a greener life.
4. Choose Sustainable Products
Going greener usually starts in the home. Opting for products that are made sustainably and/or from recycled goods is a remarkable way to live a greener lifestyle. Whether it's choosing a stainless steel straw over plastic, buying sneakers made from recycled plastic water bottles, or choosing bedding products that are made with natural materials like the EcoPEDIC line, taking time to make a green choice and research your options is a meaningful way to help our planet. Sometimes these products are more expensive than their alternatives, and sometimes they are not, but it is difficult to put a price on what it means to live a green life in terms of benefit to our Earth.
No matter where you are on your green journey, adopting any (or all) of the green living tips above can help you feel good about making less of an impact on our planet.