Basic tips for eco-friendly beginners
If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to take better care of the environment, there are many places from where you can start. How you eat, how you travel, how you shop and how you live in general can all impact the great planet on which we live. While that may all seem a bit overwhelming, the best tip for going green is to start small. Here are a few basic tips to become more eco-conscious.
Practice the three “R’s”
Recycle, reduce and reuse. Pro-green website WebEcoist.com has stated, “This classic mantra is still the most important one.”
WebEcoist suggests knowing what materials can be taken to the local recycling center, and buying products with containers made of only those resources. Moreover, reduce the amount of resources that you use in all areas of living. Whether it’s how long you shower or how many two-liters of soda your family consumes per week, ‘reducing’ in these areas will not only help you reduce harm to the environment, but it will reduce costs for you (on the water and grocery bills).
Finally, reuse items throughout your household. “Upcycling” is a recent term meaning to make something new by reusing it for a different purpose. Furthermore, do you use disposable cups and plates very often? Maybe you should begin using (and reusing) the permanent versions to save resources and money. The bottom line is to observe your habits and begin making changes based on the three R’s.
Utilize public transportation
Petroleum is a non-renewable resource. That being said, every time you get in your car to go to work in the morning, you are contributing to the depletion of that energy reserve. Add in the exponential increase in carbon and greenhouse gas emissions produced by the use and manufacturing of cars, and you have the environment’s worst nightmare. And let’s not even get started on the price of fuel. Yes, mass transit may cost money and not be the most comfortable of situations, but there are other options to go green with transportation such as carpooling with friends, neighbors and co-workers and telecommuting. More advanced environmentalists may opt to look into an electric vehicle or at least a hybrid or something more fuel efficient.
Be a savvy shopper
As mentioned above, read labels when shopping. Buy products that have been made from recycled materials. “Eco products” have been a consumer craze for a while now, so many brands have opted to market their goods as such; therefore, it shouldn’t be too hard to find everything from greener technology, which will be a higher quality so as to last longer, to local, fair trade produce, for which the manufacturing resources used are decreased.
A common misconception is that eating all organic products is the best way to be a green consumer of foods. However, that is not entirely true. In fact, WebEcoist noted that “Green food should be healthy, cheap, delicious and accessible — and it can be.”
To start, cut back on overly processed fares like fast food and unnecessarily packaged goods. Also, shop at the famers’ market as often as possible to ensure safer, healthier, cheaper and localized meat and produce.
Lose the excess at home
There are so many ways to go green within your house. First, and most importantly, it is better for everyone to watch your utility use. Turn down your heat or air conditioning if you are going away for more than a day or two, remember to shut off lights when exiting a room, and use a compost bucket to minimalize trash going to a landfill, among other benefits. Those are just three of the many ideas not already discussed above to minimalize your carbon footprint at home.
The above tips and hints are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to going green. Once these new suggestions soon become second nature, look even deeper into your lifestyle and habits to see where else you can help the environment. But remember, even the smallest gesture can make a huge difference to our planet.
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