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10 everyday green habits - Photo by Eugene Golovesov on Unsplash

10 Everyday Green Habits

by Elyse V

Even though Earth Day events are over and we are coming to the end of Earth Month, the heightened eco-awareness must remain. We have to apply the ideas and actions we took in celebration of this important day/month, throughout the year. Global temperatures continue to rise at an alarming rate that is not sustainable for our survival. This is due to human habits, choices, and activities; and time is running out. We still have (limited) time, and (all the) power to change our current eco-trajectory. By adapting eco-conscious practices, like these 10 everyday green habits, we will make a positive impact. A positive impact on our personal health and the health of our planet for generations. But time is running out.

It might seem daunting but don’t feel you need to adapt all 10 of these everyday green habits all at once. It’s about progress and choosing the eco-option whenever possible. Hopefully, these everyday green habits will help you do just that.

1. Conserve water.

  • Water is a precious resource and we need to be conscious whenever the water tap is running excessively or unnecessarily.
  • Do not let the water run while you are brushing your teeth, conditioning your hair in the shower, or any other time it can be shut off.
  • Take 5-minute showers and keep yourself on track by timing them. You can use the alarm on your phone. You can also use a bucket to catch the water wasted while you wait for the water to heat up. That water can be used to water plants.
  • Install a low-flow showerhead.
  • Avoid taking baths or limit how many times you take a bath.
  • Only use your washer/dryer and dishwasher when you have a full load.
  • Don’t keep your sprinklers running in the summer.

2. Reduce your energy use.

  • Turn off the lights, devices, small appliances, and equipment when not needed or not in use.
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use as they still consume energy even when turned off.
  • Utilize energy-savers on your devices and computer.
  • Hang your clothes to dry in the sun-if that is an option for you.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to save you money and energy.
  • Install energy-saving LED lightbulbs as they use 75% less energy than traditional lightbulbs.

3. Waste.

  • Place a recycle bin beside your garbage bin to make recycling as easy as possible.
  • Stop using one-time use plastic products like disposable bags, cutlery, straws, plastic bottles, and containers. Keep a stainless steel water bottle, reusable mug, and reusable bag with you to avoid buying bottled water, using a one-time use coffee cup, or plastic shopping bag.
  • Compost food scraps. Keep a mini compost bin near the sink for food prep scraps and to empty plate leftovers before washing.

4. Food Quality and Waste.

5. Diet.

  • Eat a more plant-based diet. You do not have to go full-out vegan. Start with eliminating animal products from one meal per day. Use a plant-based milk in your cereal or have plant-based butter on your toast in the morning. Opt for a vegan salad or sandwich at lunch. Plan to eat a vegan dinner using beans, tofu, or a meat-substitute product.
  • Eat what’s in season whenever possible. Not only is it at its juiciest and best tasting, but it’s also at its peak nutrition and value.
  • Avoid processed foods as they tend to sacrifice nutrition for convenience plus it comes wrapped in packaging that otherwise would not be required. The process of manufacturing a product is generally wasteful too.

6. Transportation.

  • Don’t make unnecessary trips with your car. Minimize the times you have to go out and be efficient with your car use. We got good at minimizing our trips during the pandemic. Let’s carry that with us. It will save your gas use and your money.
  • Try to carpool or take public transportation at least one day a week if you can.
  • Ride your bike or walk whenever possible.

7. Minimize Toxins in Your Home.

  • Do not use harmful chemicals that leave toxic a residue when cleaning your home. Buy green cleaners or make your own.
  • Open your windows as often as you can to air out your home and reduce indoor air pollution.
  • Place plants throughout your home to oxygenate it and eliminate indoor air contaminates.
  • Plant a tree outside your home. More trees mean cleaner air.

8. Eliminate paper use.

  • Switch your monthly bills to digital.
  • Change newspaper and magazine subscriptions to digital.
  • Do not print documents, reports, or other information that can be viewed/read on screen when possible.
  • Minimize paper towel and napkin use by using dishtowels, regular towels and cloth napkins.
  • Purchase recycled paper and paper products.

9. Buy Earth-Friendly Fashion.

  • Buy sustainable fashions that utilize responsible manufacturing practices.
  • Repair what you have rather than throw it away.
  • Recycle unwanted items by donating them to charity shops. You can also find second-hand clothing there and support a charity at the same time.
  • Repurpose clothing.  Read this ingenious list of ways to repurpose clothing.
  • Check out Fashion Takes Action for more information.

10. Buy Green Beauty Brands/Products.

  • Traditional beauty products can contain a number of toxins that are harmful to your personal health and the health of the planet. They might also be tested on animals.
  • The manufacturing of green beauty products also tends to be more responsible.
  • Green beauty brands tend to be with vegan, non-GMO ingredients and packaged in eco-friendly packing material.

One of the main things to remember is to not give up if you have a misstep. Like if you forget your plastic bag, or reusable cup, or if you purchase a non-green product. It’s ok – it happens. Get right back on track and ready to make the best eco-choice you can. As I mentioned earlier, it’s about the progress you make and not about being perfect. Don’t sacrifice the good for the perfect.  

Continue staying safe and always be on the lookout for ways to reduce, reuse or recycle.

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