Have you ever thought that everyone is “going green” but you don’t know where to start? It has come to the point where living an environmentally - conscious life is not an option for the few, but a necessity for all. The concept is simple – we need to consume less, use less energy, and produce less waste in order to fight global warming and protect the Earth and its natural resources. But where to begin? Here are 5 easy ways your family can “go green” today. Everyone can make a difference and taking small steps is a great way to start!
1. Bring your own bag to the grocery store.
Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade in landfills. Many don’t even make it to the landfills and harm animals and clog waterways. Many stores now sell reusable grocery bags, but a tote bag you already own will do the trick. Some stores will even give you a discount if you bring your own bag.
2. Stop buying bottled water.
A one-liter plastic bottle uses six liters of water to cool it down when it is made, and plastic bottles are made from polyethylene, which comes from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Plus, according to one estimate, nearly 90% of plastic water bottles are not recycled, and with the consumption of bottled water skyrocketing in recent years, that is a lot of landfill space being consumed by water bottles. The solution? Buy a reusable water bottle and fill with your own filtered water. Many people re-fill water bottles, once they have consumed the purchased water, with their own filtered water – if you do this, be sure to check the bottom of the bottle and look for the number 2, 4, or 5, which means it is safe to reuse. Any other number means the bottles can contain other plastics that can leach chemicals into your body.
If everyone recycled their newspapers alone, thousands of trees would be saved each year. Be sure to check your local guidelines to learn about what can be recycled and what can’t be recycled where you live. Also remember that an important part of recycling is buying recycled products when you can – buying paper towels and napkins made from recycled materials is a good place to start. Also, reuse paper when you can at home by using the backs of letters, old stationery, etc. as drawing paper for your kids.
4. Shop local and organic when possible.
Why is this important? When you buy produce, dairy and meats produced locally, that means there is no fuel used to transport the products to your store, plus the items are inevitably fresher and you are supporting your local farmer. When you buy organic produce, dairy and meats, no pesticides have been used which means less energy has been used, and of course the food is better for you.
Appliances and other electronics continue to use energy, even when they are turned off, if they remain plugged in. If you unplug an item not in use, it doesn’t use unnecessary energy and saves money on your energy bill.
These small steps all make a great impact, and cost nothing to implement. Set a good example for your kids and good luck going green!