People are always looking for new ways to change their lifestyle. You might want to exercise more or spend more time with friends, but you can also change your habits to live more sustainably.
When someone wants to go green, they might think they need to buy an electric car or live off the grid, but there are easier ways to make a difference. Every small step adds up to make a huge impact on the earth, so start your journey at home.
Check out 10 ways you can be healthier and greener at home. You don't need to spend extra time and money while you're out in town to minimize your carbon footprint and lead a healthier life.
1. Encourage Everyone to Recycle
Anyone can recycle if they have the right waste bins. Create a place for plastics, glass and cardboard in your home. Talk with your family or roommates about recycling what they can. Afterward, connect with a recycling program or dump in your area to learn where to dispose of everything.
2. Buy Organic Produce
When you walk through the produce section of your grocery store, do you reach for the organic products? Organic produce options don't count as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and don't use chemical fertilizers or treatments. You'll eat toxin-free, all-natural food and feel better for putting healthier food on your plate.
3. Skip Bottled Water
You can find bottled water in almost any store, but plastic isn't good for the planet. In the U.S., people throw out 38 billion bottles in landfills every year. That adds up to over two million tons, so do your part to recycle bottled water or use a reusable bottle from home.
4. Adjust Your Thermostat
Keeping your home warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter could reduce your energy usage by 15%, saving the earth from CO2 produced by electric plants. You'll also save money on your electric bill, which is always a big help.
5. Try Reusable Bags
If you have plastic grocery bags stored in your pantry, it's time to stop using them at the store. Instead of throwing more plastic into landfills, you can sew reusable grocery bags that double as totes.
6. Grow a Garden
Another way to avoid chemical-based treatments in your food is to have a garden. Plant herbs in pots on your porch or grow vegetables in your backyard. You'll know exactly what you're eating and how you grew the food when it's time to harvest.
7. Skip Chemical Cleaners
The household cleaners you've always bought at the store carry chemicals down your drains and into the local waterways. You can avoid dousing wildlife with waste runoff when you make natural cleaning products with things you have at home, like lemon baking soda and distilled white vinegar.
It may feel strange at first to make household cleaners, but give yourself time. Everyone has to experience the stages of habit development to lock down the habit into their new lifestyle.
8. Minimize Your Paper Use
Besides cutting down trees, the paper industry pollutes the atmosphere with gas emissions like sulfur and nitrogen oxides. It's easy to minimize your paper use if you transfer your work online and only print something when it's necessary.
9. Check for Leaks
When was the last time you checked your faucets for leaks? Inspect your sinks and showers and fix the leaky faucet in just a few minutes to reduce how much water your home drains from the planet.
10. Avoid Using Electronics
Even when electronics like your TV or laptop are in sleep mode, they still use energy because they stay plugged in. Unplug your electronics when you don't need to use them for work or school and get active instead. You'll build your endurance, get
stronger and find a more affordable electric bill at the end of the month.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Think about your routine and how you can become healthier and greener at home. You can sew reusable grocery bags, make household cleaners and more to do your part to live a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
Emily Folk is passionate about environmental sustainability and more of her work can be found on her site, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter for her latest updates.