1. Bring Your Own Bag
Upwards of 1 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide each year. That’s a high number. Roughly 10 percent of them are recycled and the rest end up in landfills, the oceans, or on land where these bags are harmful to wildlife. Make a one time purchase of a set of reusable grocery bags, use bags you already own, or avoid any kind of bag altogether if you can carry your purchased item yourself.
2. Drink From The Tap
Over 2 million plastic bottles are thrown away each hour in the U.S. alone. These are bottles that could’ve otherwise been recycled. Avoid the entire part of having to recycle a plastic bottle and instead of purchasing water, drink from the tap. If you’re unsure about the water quality in your area, purchase a filter for your tap or fridge. If neither of those options work for you, get a reusable water bottle with a built in filter.
3. Donate, Don’t Throw Away, And Go Thrifting
Recycling applies in the general sense too. Recycle your clothes, furniture, and anything else you are tempted to just toss. And, if you don’t desperately need something new, go thrifting next time you’re looking for that cool new addition to your apartment.
4. Think Before You Buy
This one is easy. Being a consumer means that you have choices when you buy. Ask yourself if you really need something before you buy it and take a moment to consider products and companies that actively attempt to lessen their eco-footprint.
5. Go Outside
Another easy one… One of the best ways to get in touch with the reasons why you are being greener is to have direct contact with the natural environment. Go on a hike or even just keep a plant around to take care of. The important part is maintaining that connection with the natural world.
6. Go Paperless When Possible
You pay bills like everyone else and most of this can be done online. Do so whenever possible. When you do receive mail or newspapers, recycle that paper. Also, if you’re composting, remember that most newspapers, mail, and shredded paper can be composted so long as it doesn’t contain toxic inks or materials.
7. Cut The Water Off
Cut the water off when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving, and be conscious of the time you spend in the shower. Water, especially clean water, is a resource that must be protected and that grows scarce by the day when we do not consider it.
8. Use Your Recycling Bin
Around 80 percent of the U.S. has access to some form of recycling and still just about 35 percent of households and 10 percent of businesses recycle. A common, but unacceptable, reason for this is convenience. If you have curbside recycling at your home, use it. If you don’t, practice what’s called source reduction and cut down on the items you are purchasing that need to be recycled and are otherwise adding to your waste.
9. Do Laundry With Cold Or Warm Water
This one requires the turn of a knob or press of a button. Wash your clothes when you have a full load and avoid using hot water when possible. In some washing machines, around 90 percent of the energy used by them goes toward generating hot water. Make a huge impact in your energy footprint, save on your electric bills, and switch to cold or at the very least warm.
10. Spread The Word
Share any green tips you have with others. It’s easy to get caught up in the fast-paced world that we live in and forget that your actions have consequences. Take a moment and spread the word about how easy it is to be green and why it is important to do so.