Green and sustainable living goes beyond just recycling or using reusable bags. Here are 8 smart ways to go green that you may not have thought of…
If you’re interested in living a greener or more sustainable lifestyle, you are probably already doing things like recycling, using energy-efficient light bulbs, and maybe even taking steps to reduce product packaging waste by buying in bulk and using reusable food containers and bags. But what else can you do to make more of an impact on your carbon footprint, and live more meaningfully and sustainably?
Below are 8 simple ideas that won’t cost you anything (and might even save you some green), and that will have a positive impact on the environment over time.
Check out this list of ways to go green for some more things you can implement to make a real difference, starting today:
1.) Stop Junk Mail
This only takes about 10 minutes and saves an average of 69 lbs of junk mail sent to your home each year! It’s super simple with a couple clicks now, and some preemptive choices later on. Learn how to stop receiving junk mail, as well as ideas on what to do with all that junk mail you’ve already received here: How to Stop Receiving Junk Mail
2.) Give Up Bottled Water
Nearly 30 billion plastic water bottles are sold annually in the U.S. with less than 20% of them being recycled (and even recycling them wastes unnecessary energy). Ironically, many bottled water companies use municipal water sources – that’s right, tap water. See how to save resources and money by drinking from your own tap or home filtration system with a reusable water bottle.
3.) Choose Green Transportation
Bicycling, walking, carpooling or riding the bus are the best ways to commute sustainably. Inflating your car tires, driving slower, and combining trips will all help you save gas when driving is necessary. And for long distance travel, take the train or purchase carbon offsets which invest your money into alternative energies.
4.) Eat Local, Organic Foods Whenever Possible
With food being a huge part of our existence, this is one of the most important ways to go green. Most of our meals come from a minimum of 1,500 miles away. Some of what ends up on your plate has traveled around the world to reach you. And way too much of it is unhealthy to begin with.
5.) Raise Healthy, Eco-Conscious Children
Okay, let’s zoom out to some bigger choices we can make. Raising our kids to be healthy and aware of the environment is crucial. Model with your actions and talk about the choices you make. Don’t nag or lecture, but instead make it interesting and interactive. Everything from healthy living to good relationships can involve ways to go green with your kids.
6.) Support Locally Owned Businesses
Small businesses are more likely to support other businesses within the community, care for their environment, and conduct business in an environmentally-responsible way. They also work harder for your business, contribute more to charitable causes, create more jobs, limit outsourcing, and keep money circulating within a community, among many other things.
7.) Educate Others (Gently)
The biggest influence you can have on others is through your actions and your attitude. Be open and honest about your choices, but without judgment. Work the topic into conversations without overdoing it. Don’t push the matter. Just let your example be inspiration and keep the lines of communication open so that friends or family will have a seasoned pro to turn to when they are looking for ways to go green.
8.) Contact Your Representatives
Write or call your local city officials and ask them what your city or town is doing to go green. Do the same for state and federal leaders, demanding they hear you out on the environmental issues that matter most. Remain in contact with them, attend local or state meetings, and vote with your conscience instead of your party line. Encourage others to do the same. And stay involved in political matters with websites, such as Friends of the Earth.