6 Ways to Lessen Your Environmental Footprint

When you’re really young, you’re not really aware of the social issues that surround you, whether they’re political or environmental. You can’t help but become more aware of issues that surround you as you get older, and you inevitably start taking stances on certain issues. This is exactly what happened to me and the issue of sustainability. With every purchase that I made, I kept thinking about how this would affect the environment and if this was a good choice to make as a conscious consumer. Here are some tips that can help get you started on your sustainability journey and lessen your environmental footprint.

 

Reusable Bags and Produce Bags

Every time you go to the grocery store and buy produce, instead of taking the plastic bags that are placed there for you, you can purchase some reusable produce bags for a good price on Amazon. Reusable produce bags have more uses than just for the grocery store, you could even use them at the beach or the farmer’s market. Another benefit from using reusable bags is that you can save some money at the till because you no longer need to buy plastic bags.

 

Reusable Water Bottle

Most plastics do not biodegrade but instead breakdown into smaller fragments called micro plastics. These micro plastics contaminate the soil and water and could even take thousands of years to decompose. One of the most common single use plastics are plastic water bottles and that is why reusable water bottles are so important to use. Reusable water bottles are becoming so popular that I basically see a water fountain wherever I go. This is a great way to be able to bring water wherever you want and also save the money that you would spend on a new plastic water bottle.

(Here is a link to learn more about plastic and sustainability)

 

Reusable Straws

Straws are pretty terrible to many species when they end up in the water. Plus, any plastic that doesn’t recycle easily is bad for the environment. Plastic waste not only affects certain species but since plastics are treated with chemicals this can enter an animals tissue and this will invade the human food chain. People may think that by throwing out their plastic, it is gone forever and will not affect them in the long run, but plastic waste effects all of us which means making the switch to reusable straws very simple but also necessary.   Reusable straws are super convenient, and you can buy them online or at any drug store. They are also super easy to clean, and there are some reusable straws that even fold down, making it convenient to carry around as well.

 

Second Hand Before New

Companies make their money by making a lot of clothing products quickly and with cheap materials. This promotes tremendous waste, and most of the clothing from these companies do not last long which forces you to continuously buy new clothes. The best way not to contribute to fast fashion is buying second hand, this way you are recycling your clothes.

(Note: If you are buying new, try buying from companies that are ethical and Fair trade)

 

Try a Bamboo Tooth Brush

A plastic toothbrush takes hundreds of years to fully breakdown which means when you throw one out, it exists longer than you are alive. Since they exist for so long, they can travel in our environment and are yet another thing that ends up in species stomachs. For example, an Albatross chick mistook a toothbrush for food and it ended up in its stomach. Bamboo tooth brushes on the other hand are super cool because their handles are biodegradable unlike most toothbrushes. Bamboo is always naturally antimicrobial, so it’s cleaner than regular toothbrushes as well. It’s just an overall great substitute to reduce your impact to the environment.

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Try Eating Less Meat

This is hard for a lot of people because the diet that they were raised on consists of a lot of meat. I know how hard it is to change your diet but it’s possible for anyone willing to try. The meat impacts the environment negatively because not only does the production, distribution, and processing of meat require large amounts of pesticides, fertilizer, fuel, feed, and water, it also releases greenhouse gases, manure and other toxins that are harmful to our environment and in turn, our health. Even red meat like beef or lamb is responsible for 10 to 40 times the carbon emissions as vegetables and grains. There is also a lot of water pollution that is caused by factory farms where a lot of animals are stuffed together in small spaces and this can produce as much sewage waste as a small city. Finally, eating too much meat isn’t good for our general health and is linked to increasing rates of heart disease, cancer, and obesity. The statistics even say that we are eating more meat than our grandparents. All of this suggests that we should at least try to eat less meat and find alternatives foods to eat. I don’t expect people to give up meat and dairy immediately and then the meat and dairy industry instantaneously shuts down,that is an unrealistic expectation. However, if you try to consume less meat on an everyday basis, you would be contributing less to industry that has a big negative footprint on the environment.

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(Disclaimer: There are things in this article that you can always improve on. For example, instead of purchasing things from Amazon, you can shop locally. This list is simply a way for people to start making small changes in their lives to help the environment.)