10 Easiest (and Cheapest) Ways to Show the Planet Some Love!

1. Buy a Reusable Grocery Bag

Paper or plastic? While paper is definitely a much better alternative to plastic, both options still create waste. Next time you’re buying groceries, invest in one (or two) of those 99 cent canvas bags in the checkout line. You’ll find that they are so much easier to carry than the 20 plastic bags you’ll have to unload from the car. The best way to do this is by keeping a canvas bag or two in your car so you never forget them at home! You’re also significantly reducing waste, which makes you an environmentally conscious queen!

2. Commit to Meatless Days

Aside from being a little gross, the meat production process takes a huge toll on the environment. It wastes vast amounts of water, emits harmful gases into the atmosphere and produces an insane amount of physical waste. But, if you’re a die-hard meat-eater like me, the idea of vegetarianism can seem just about impossible. That’s why I’ve simply cut my meat consumption in half by committing to at least three meatless days per week. This way, I’m significantly reducing my meat consumption, but I still get to satisfy my chicken nugget cravings once in a while! I recommend starting with one meatless day in the week and working your way up. You might even find yourself fully converting to the veg life!

3. Stop Buying Plasticware

Want to save the earth while also saving some money? Stop buying plasticware! No more plastic cups, plates, or silverware. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: But I don’t waaaanna do the dishes! Well, boss up. You’re a grown woman. If washing a dish here and there means cleaner oceans and less waste, then do your part! If you want to make the transition as easy as possible, before you cut plastic, invest in a nice set of silverware, plates, bowls and cups that are durable and easy to clean. This way, dishes will be as painless to do as possible.

4. Carry a Reusable Bottle

Plastic water bottles create a lot of waste. If you purchase crates of plastic water bottles when you go grocery shopping, all you’re doing is contributing to the tons of it that end up in our oceans and landfills. And even if you’re recycling it, you’re still a consumer of the product in the first place. In fact, an estimated 80 percent of plastic water bottles don’t even get recycled! The solution? Invest in a cheap BPA-free bottle (I recommend a 32 oz Nalgene bottle) that you can refill every single day. This will also save you money in the long run, because you’ll never have to buy those huge crates of plastic bottles ever again!

5. Don’t Create Unnecessary Trash

Whenever you eat out, avoid any unnecessary items that will just end up in the trash. For instance, when getting take out, you’re probably going straight home. So why do you need the lid and straw for your soft drink or the extra plasticware when you have utensils at home? You don’t! If you really want to take this tip to the next level, go on Amazon and buy a reusable utensil kit (spoon, fork, knife and straw included) that you can always keep in your purse or car. This way, when you’re dining it at a place with plasticware, you don’t have to use any of it at all.

6. Skip the Dryer

Want to save the earth AND your clothes? Stop drying them! Not only do dryers waste a considerable amount of energy, but they also diminish the quality of your clothing. This means that by skipping the dryer, you’ll have to replace your clothes less often because they’ll last you so much longer. So, you’re basically being twice as eco-friendly with just one change! I recommend buying a foldable drying rack from Home Goods, TJ Maxx or Amazon. They’re super inexpensive and take up no space in your room when you fold them down. Not to mention, I’ve personally noticed that using a drying rack instead of a dryer also makes my clothes smell a lot better for some reason. Give it a try on your next laundry day!

7. Run Full Loads

Whether it’s laundry or dishes, don’t wash a load of anything unless you have enough to fill the machine! Washing a load of laundry with just one shirt uses the same amount of water and energy as washing a load full of towels or clothing or sheets. So rather than doing small loads of laundry more frequently, do full loads less frequently. If you live in a place with a public laundry room, this will also save you money because you are doing far fewer loads! The same applies to dishes. If you only have a dish or two to wash, wash them by hand rather than loading them into the washer. Your dishwasher should only ever be used if you’re filling it with dishes.

8. Unplug Everything

Doing this may not sound like it would make a huge difference, but you’d be surprised! Energy consumption is one of the biggest factors of your carbon footprint. Unplugging your devices when you aren’t using them is not only easy to do, but it can have a tremendous impact on our planet. And if you don’t want to do it for the earth, at least do it for your energy bills!

9. Switch to LED bulbs

LED light bulbs are a win-win situation for you and mother nature! Not only are they more energy efficient, but they’re also long-lasting. This means you’ll be using up far less power and having to change your bulbs far less often. As these bulbs are becoming increasingly popular, they are also being made available in a wide variety of brightness and hue, which means you’ll have no problem finding the perfect LED bulb for your space.

10. Do Your Research

The best part about information is that it’s free! One way to begin leading a more environmentally conscious lifestyle is by doing research on how eco-friendly your favorite brands and companies are. By supporting companies with green practices, you’re doing your part to help save our planet!

All photos courtesy of Unsplash.