This spring, don't just clean your room or closet, take some time to help clean up the world! All of your daily habits have an impact on the environment, which means it's so important to take a little extra time to think about your actions, make good choices, and limit the amount of pollution you produce. Anything you buy and use can contribute either positively or negatively to the environment. And while Earth Day is a great reminder of our impact on the world, our actions matter every day. Here are 7 changes you can make right now that will make your lifestyle more environmentally friendly:
- Meatless Monday
Meat production contributes to 15% of the greenhouse gases being produced worldwide! Now, it doesn’t have to be Monday that you decide to go meatless, you could do any day or days! On average, people eat half a pound of meat every day. For every half pound of meat a person consumes, they produce 36 pounds of CO2. And for every 2 days someone eats meatless, they save more water than if they stopped showering for six months. Giving up meat for just one day a week quickly adds up and it's not that hard with so many recipes and meat alternatives available today.
- Donate Your Old Clothes
Spring is a great time to go through your closet and get rid of clothes you don’t like or don’t want anymore. When you donate your clothing instead of just throwing it out, you are reducing the amount of trash in landfills. By the time clothes are made, they’ve caused their own carbon footprint from the materials it took to make them and the electricity to sew them (plus, if it’s from a fast-fashion company, it was most likely made in a factory). So by donating, you’re also giving someone else the chance to buy your used clothing to get more use out of the clothes since all those resources already went into it. BONUS! Try shopping (& don't forget to take a reusable shopping bag) at a local thrift or resale shop for some new clothes rather than heading to the mall to help reduce carbon emissions even more!
- Wash Laundry with Cold Water
By doing just 80% of your loads of laundry using cold water each month, you can reduce your CO2 emissions by 72 pounds! Plus, when you wash with cold water rather than hot, you reduce the chances of accidentally shrinking your clothes.
- Plant Something
An obvious way to help fight carbon emissions is through plants. Plants actually use CO2 to make more oxygen which improves the air. Whether you want to take time to plant a tree outside, pot an indoor plant, or add some flowers outside your window, they will all help the environment! (And plants are a cute decoration for any room or style.)
- Find a Reusable Water Bottle and USE IT!
Single-use water bottles create a lot of waste. In fact, landfills in the US are overflowing with more than 2 million plastic water bottles that will take 1,000 years to degrade. A wide variety of reusable water bottles are available today. You can find a water bottle for any price range, size, color, and type of opening. There's no reason not to get a reusable water bottle. The trick is remembering to grab your water bottle before you go somewhere so you don't have to buy a single-use bottle somewhere.
- Ride the Bus
Take the bus as often as possible, but if one doesn’t go wherever you need it to at a certain time, try to carpool as often as possible. If driving your car is an absolute must, make sure to keep your tires at the right pressure to optimize your gas mileage because the farther you can drive on less gas, the better off the environment will be.
No matter how hard you try, at some point you will get something in a cardboard box, or have printed homework, or forget your reusable bag and get a plastic bag. The good news is that all of these things are recyclable. Just take a little extra time before you throw something away to see if it's recyclable!
Everyone thinks they are just one person and can't really make a difference, but these changes can certainly help.