With the icebergs melting and unprecedented weather patterns, we ask ourselves what we can do to help the environment.
There are simple things you can do and many ways to help the environment.
Although minor changes may not seem like enough to make a difference, cumulatively, they can have a lasting impact on our planet.
Read below for some simple ways you can help the environment.
Ways to Help the Environment
In Your Home:
1. Eat Less Red Meat
When it comes to your diet, there are things you can do to help the environment. Eating red meat can have approximately 100 times the environmental impact of plant-based foods.
Cutting red meat from your diet, even if it is only once a week, can positively impact the environment. If you want to go even further, make one day a week your plant-based food day. Before you know it, it will become second nature to you.
2. Eat By the Season
Eating fruits and vegetables in season means your food travels shorter distances because it is grown locally. This will reduce your carbon footprint, thus helping the environment.
3. Get Creative with Leftovers
Don’t throw out your leftovers! You can incorporate your leftovers into a new dish to avoid discarding them. If you are tired of eating the same thing, you can freeze them to eat at a later date.
Freezing leftovers can also save you time from having to cook when you’re busy. A win-win!
4. Clean Your Refrigerator
Americans waste approximately 40 million tons (80 billion pounds) annually, roughly 219 pounds per person.
To curb the food waste problem, organize your refrigerator regularly. Move older food items to the front, where it is visible. Implement the first in, first out method to ensure older food items are used before they go bad instead of being tossed.
5. Freeze Your Produce
If you purchase more produce than you can eat before it goes bad, plan ahead and freeze some of it.
You can freeze fruits to make smoothies and vegetables for soups and roasting.
6. Turn Off the Lights
Turn off the lights in each room when not in use.
Additionally, switch all your incandescent light bulbs to LED bulbs. They use 90% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to help the environment.
7. Wash Clothes with Cold Water
Turn your water heater down to 120⁰ Fahrenheit to maintain your home’s energy efficiency.
Additionally, wash your clothes with cold water as much as possible. Purchase cold-water detergent to remove those pesky stains that may require hot water.
8. Air Dry Clothes
Driers can be high-energy-consumers. Instead of using your drier, dry your clothes on a line or rack. Doing so will help you lower your carbon footprint.
As a nice bonus, you will also be extending the life of your clothes.
9. Close Your Blinds
By closing your blinds during the hottest part of the day or when the sun shines directly on them, you can keep your home cool and the temperature more stable.
Thus, making your home more energy efficient helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and your carbon footprint.
10. Update Your Thermostat
By installing a programmable or smart thermostat, you can keep the temperature in your home more stable.
With smart thermostats, you can keep track of your home’s temperature when not there and easily adjust it if you forget to turn it up or down when you’re not at home or away for extended periods.
Maintaining your home’s temperature stable is essential in keeping your home more energy efficient.
11. Check the Refrigerator
Be sure your refrigerator to 35-38⁰ Fahrenheit and your freezer to 0⁰ Fahrenheit, no lower.
Avoid over-packing it with food to keep your refrigerator working at optimal efficiency. This will allow it to work more efficiently and cool your food appropriately.
Replace your refrigerator every 15-20 years, and be sure to recycle it.
12. Seal and Insulate
By sealing your home’s windows, doors, and attic, you can reduce drafts that will keep the indoor temperature stable, thus lowering your energy costs and GHG emissions.
Insulating your home well or replacing your home’s insulation with more effective material can also help keep the indoor temperature stable.
13. Try Composting
Compost food scraps, newspapers, yard trimmings, and other organic waste to help the environment by keeping those items from going to the landfill.
Additionally, applying compost in your garden increases water retention, reducing water waste.
If you are limited in space, vermicompost might be more suitable for you. With vermicompost, redworms help break down the organic matter. Their worm castings, or worm poop, provide nourishment for plants while reducing waste.
It can be kept in a small bin inside or outside your home, making it an ideal project if you are an apartment dweller.
As you mow the lawn, leave the grass clippings where they lay, do not collect and discard them. This method, known as “grasscycling,” allows the grass clippings to remain on the lawn, returning nutrients to the soil while helping retain moisture.
Try Xeriscaping to prevent water loss and waste, especially in drought-prone areas. With this method, you select native plants that thrive in that particular climate and group those with similar water requirements together.
16. Apply Mulch
Apply mulch to your lawn to conserve water and prevent erosion and soil compaction, which benefits your wallet and the environment.
Mulch can be gravel, pebbles, wood, bark, and leaves. Rye and clover can also be used as living mulch.
When You Travel:
17. Take Public Transit
Taking public transportation during your daily commute, such as a train or bus, can help reduce GHG emissions. The benefit increases over time, even if you only do it several times a week.
Plus, your body will thank you for the regular exercise.
18. Choose Carpooling
Choosing to carpool to work or a special event can help you save money and take care of your car.
You can carpool to work a few times a week or take turns daily or weekly with your co-workers.
Carpooling can help you relax when it’s not your turn to drive, can help your wallet, and can cut down on emissions.
19. Bike for Short Errands
Do you have errands to run nearby your home? Cycling to do short errands or commute to work when the weather permits can also help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.
20. Plan Your Route
Plan your errands for the most efficient route. It’ll help you avoid driving aimlessly around town. Also, avoid driving around multiple times daily if you can help.
Planning your errands and commitments can be cost-effective and a time-saver, and it can help the environment by reducing emissions.
21. Remote Your Work
Working remotely or electing hybrid work instead of commuting to an office daily can significantly reduce waste and GHG emissions.
In addition to saving you money on the commute, remote work can also save you money on lunch and other expenses you may incur if you visit the office regularly.
22. Travel Less
Try taking fewer long round-trip flights when traveling for work or pleasure. Also, elect fewer connecting flights whenever possible. This can help significantly in reducing your carbon footprint.
23. Choose a Staycation
Taking a vacation to unwind seems like a necessity sometimes. And understandably so.
However, instead of flying to far-off destinations for all of your trips, switch to at least one of them for a staycation.
A staycation can be a great way to save some money. Some resorts and hotels even offer specials for people staying in town. It can be less stressful to travel a shorter distance. And it can help you get to know your area better.
Choosing a staycation can help you save money and reduce waste and emissions.
24. Maintain Your Car
Service your car when required and check your vehicle’s tire pressure often since low tire pressure can hurt fuel economy, leading to fossil fuel waste.
Maintaining and caring for your car will help keep it running efficiently, which is another way to help the environment.
25. Don’t Overload Your Car
Loading your car with heavy items can reduce its fuel efficiency.
Additionally, overloading your car with air conditioning when not needed can greatly impact your fuel economy.
When You Shop:
26. Select Minimal Packaging
While the low prices at big box stores may be appealing, buying in bulk may only be worth it if you consume the entire item before it expires.
Additionally, the large size of the items at such stores means there is a lot of packaging. If you do shop at a big box store, do your best to select products with minimal packaging to reduce waste.
27. Avoid Disposable Cups
Although your morning coffee is a must on some days, remember that disposable coffee cups are not recyclable due to the coating inside them.
Instead, try making your coffee at home, saving you money and reducing waste. You can even set it up the night before to help you during those busy mornings.
For the days when you must buy that cup of java, just take your travel mug along. You’ll have to go inside and hand it to the barista, but the extra step will ensure you’re not harming the planet by contributing to landfill waste.
28. Use Reusable Bags
Instead of using those flimsy produce bags that are not recyclable and are highly wasteful, purchase reusable grocery bags and cloth produce bags for grocery shopping.
Also, remember that reusable bags aren’t just for groceries. You can use them when you go shopping anywhere!
By using your own bags, you can be sure you are helping the environment, one shopping trip at a time.
29. Avoid Fast Fashion
The textile industry is a significant contributor to landfill waste. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) estimates that the average American throws away roughly 70 pounds of textiles annually.
With new clothing collections being released regularly, fast fashion is responsible for producing quick, cheap, and unsustainable items.
Steer away from fast fashion and choose to repair old clothes or shop vintage or second-hand. The planet will thank you for it.
Do your part by donating items in good condition you no longer need or want. It will keep someone else from having to purchase new items, give your items a new life, and prevent those items from reaching the landfill.
Final Thoughts on Ways to Help the Environment
Making small changes in your daily life can make a difference when combined with everyone else’s efforts.
Together, there are many ways we can help the environment. This list can guide you on the path to protecting our planet.
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