The way to combat climate change and protect our planet from irreversible damage is to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle. Making sustainable decisions and reducing our negative impact on the environment is something we can all do; big or small. Here are 10 easy steps for you to implement eco-friendly changes in your life.
1. Ditch Disposable Plastics
One of the best ways to reduce our carbon footprint is to avoid disposable plastics as much as possible. Plastics take centuries to decompose, and the majority of plastic we use can only be used once and then discarded. Microplastics, which require thousands of years to decompose, also have a severe environmental impact, as they are incredibly harmful to aquatic life.
Instead, switch to re-usable products, such as metal and glass containers, organic cloth bags, or water bottles. There are some wonderful sustainable and zero-waste stores and markets now, where you can shop for all of your needs.
2. Eat Sustainable and Organic Food
A huge amount of energy, natural resources, and water is required to grow food and raise animals for human consumption. According to the UN, one in five of all emissions come from the agricultural sector. To reduce your carbon footprint, choose to eat sustainable and organically grown food whenever possible. Local farmers markets are hugely beneficial for both yourself and your local farmers. Not only are you finding out more about where your food comes from, but it’s also more sustainable.
Organically grown food also has more vitamins and minerals than conventionally produced food, and is more beneficial to your health overall.
3. Choose Renewable Energy Sources
Using renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind, is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. Renewable energy reduces the use of fossil fuels, which are generally responsible for much of the air pollution and deforestation we experience. Switching to a renewable energy source, such as solar, can also save you money on your energy bills.
4. Manage Your Water Usage
Managing your water usage is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. It takes energy to pump, transport, and treat water for use, and this energy mostly comes from burning fossil fuels. Conserving your water usage is beneficial both to the environment, and to your wallet. Here are some easy ways to cut your water usage in half: install low-flow fixtures such as shower heads and toilets, turn the tap off while brushing your teeth, fix any leaks, take shorter showers, and only water your plants when they need it.
5. Reduce Your Energy Consumption
Reducing your energy consumption is another great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Unplug electronics when they’re not being used, as well as any appliances such as dishwashers, microwaves and coffee makers. Invest in energy-efficient appliances and LED bulbs, wash clothes in cold water, and only run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher.
6. Bring Your Own Shopping Bags
Using plastic shopping bags is a huge contributor to plastic pollution. Switching to environmentally friendly, reusable bags is an easy way to reduce your plastic consumption. You can buy special folding shopping bags which are lightweight and compact, so you can fit them easily in your pocket, or even just bring a backpack wherever you go.
7. Recycle and Upcycle
Recycling is an important part of going green. Many of our day-to-day items can be recycled, such as glass, paper, aluminium, and even old electronics. Not only does this help keep items out of landfills, but recycling can have a positive impact on the environment. If you have any old items that you don’t need, why not try upcycling them and giving them a new life?
8. Switch to Natural Cleaning Products
Choosing natural cleaning products is a great way to reduce your exposure to harsh chemicals. Natural products are free from toxins, are better for the environment, and can be used on a variety of surfaces. Even better, you can even make your own natural cleaning products from items you already have in the kitchen like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice.
9. Walk or Cycle Instead of Driving
Whenever you need to go to the shops or visit friends, why not try walking or cycling instead of driving? Not only is it good for your physical health, but it’s also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Walking and cycling mean you aren’t using any petrol or diesel, and the only emissions produced are from the body. This can make a huge difference to the environment.
10. Educate Others
A great way to encourage others to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle is to educate them. Whether it’s friends, family, or colleagues, providing them with knowledge can be hugely beneficial. Share relevant articles and posts through your social media channels and spread the word. The more people who are informed and conscious of their impact on the environment, the better.
Choose the Right Products
Whenever you go shopping, make sure to buy products that are either eco-friendly or sustainably produced. Choose items with less packaging or try to buy in bulk, as this can reduce both your carbon footprint, and your shopping costs. If possible, buy products that are locally sourced and made, as this means that there is less energy used in transportation.
Also, try to only buy items that you need, as this stops a lot of unnecessary pollution and waste. The best way to do this is to create a shopping list and only buy from it. This will help ensure you’re only buying what you need and reduce your waste.
Offset Your Carbon Emissions
There are many companies now that are helping to offset carbon emissions, by planting trees or investing in renewable energy projects. By offsetting your carbon emissions, you are helping to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment.
There are many places where you can buy carbon credits, such as websites or even at your local shops. The money you spend goes to helping people and the environment, and you can also get your carbon emissions offset. It’s a great way to do your bit for the environment, and help reduce your own environmental impact.
Buy Second-Hand Items
Whenever possible, try to buy second-hand items instead of brand new ones. This can be anything from clothes, to furniture, to electronics. Not only is it better for the environment, but it also saves you money. Many of the items you buy second-hand might still be in great condition and work just as well as brand new ones do.
In addition, if you need to throw away any items that are still usable, take them to a charity shop or a local recycling centre. This way, you know that the items will be used or recycled in a way that benefits the environment.
DIY and Reduce Waste
Whenever you need something, try to make it yourself instead of buying it. Making your own items can help reduce waste and your carbon footprint, as well as save you money. For example, you can easily make your own cleaning products using items you already have at home, such as baking soda and vinegar. You can even make your own soap or shampoo with natural, organic ingredients.
There are lots of great DIY projects that you can do at home, and they are a great way to reduce your waste and impact on the environment. You can also teach your family about nature and the environment by doing DIY projects together.
Grow Your Own Food
One of the most eco-friendly ways to get your food is to grow it yourself. Growing your own food can reduce the amount of energy used in food production and transportation, as well as reducing your exposure to chemicals and pesticides. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can easily set up a small-scale vegetable patch in a few small pots on a balcony or windowsill.
Growing your own food can also be incredibly rewarding and is a great way to teach your children about the environment. Plus, you end up with delicious, fresh produce that is also incredibly good for you.
Go Carbon Neutral
If you’re looking for a way to make a big difference to the environment, you can go carbon neutral. This involves making sure that all of your activities are not contributing to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This can be done by cutting down on your energy use, reducing your waste and recycling, and offsetting your carbon emissions.
It’s also important to vote for politicians who are committed to tackling climate change, as well as supporting companies who are trying to make a difference. By supporting and lobbying for change, you can make a real difference.