You can’t turn on the TV or go online without coming across a conversation about climate change and other environmental health concerns. There’s a lot of discussion about our natural resources being depleted faster than we think.
It’s driving governments and other organizations to create initiatives that increase sustainability on a larger scale. We need the efforts of these influential groups to really see a change. However, we also need individuals to commit to being more environmentally friendly.
Thankfully, living a more eco-friendly life doesn’t have to be a complex transition or an expensive one. Here are five small, budget-friendly steps you can take to achieve a greener lifestyle.
Reduce Your Waste
Waste is one of the biggest problems our world has. Landfills are overflowing with waste, and only a small percentage is recycled appropriately.
Waste attracts rodents and insects that harbor parasites, worms, and other harmful bacteria that can make humans sick. When it rots it can generate methane gas that contributes to the greenhouse gas effect. It also ends up in natural habitats and waterways, disrupting marine and animal life and health.
Reducing your waste as much as possible can contribute to a cleaner, healthier Earth. Start with simple actions, like shopping secondhand. You can then work towards bigger steps like adopting a plant-based diet.
Eliminating single-use plastics is also crucial.
Eliminate Single-Use Plastics
The average lifespan of plastic products is 10 years, but it can take up to 500 years for plastics to decompose. It takes high temperatures and a specialized chemical recycling process for plastic to break down entirely, hence why only a small percentage of it is recycled.
This leaves microplastics floating around in the air for us to ingest. We also see a lot of plastic waste in our bodies of water harming our marine life. Think of the duck stuck in the plastic rings from a six-pack of soda. Or, the fish trapped in a plastic fishing net.
Eliminating single-use plastics in your home is a small but mighty contribution to solving our plastic crisis. Bring reusable grocery bags to the store. Use mesh fabric produce bags instead of the plastic ones at the store. Purchase a reusable straw and water bottle or tumbler. Avoid plastic utensils as well.
Gas-powered vehicles don’t contribute to the health of our planet. They rely on fossil fuels, which isn’t a renewable resource. They emit toxic fumes into the air, contributing to pollution and the bigger issue of global warming.
A long-term goal might be to switch to an electric vehicle to reduce your carbon footprint. But for now, consider carpooling. It means one less car on the road, reducing traffic congestion and the emission of toxic fumes. You’ll also meet new people and save money on gas.
You can ask to carpool to work with a co-worker who lives near you. Jump in the car with friends when going out. You could also join a carpooling group on social media and find rides that way.
Implement Low-Cost Smart Home Products
Energy consumption is a significant topic in the conversation about preserving our planet’s health. Most people rely on non-renewable sources of energy like oil, natural gas, and coal. Lots of pollution is emitted from non-renewable sources of energy. Your carbon footprint grows as well.
You may not be able to afford solar panels on your roof or wind turbines in your backyard. However, you can make a conscious effort to reduce your energy use.
One way to save energy is to install smart home products. You can lower your energy bill while being more mindful of how you use energy in your home.
For example, a smart thermostat can automatically adjust the temperature in your home when you’re sleeping or away. It can also give you detailed reports about your energy usage. You can use this information to identify where you’re wasting energy and make adjustments.
You can control how bright your lights are and when they turn on and off with a smart lighting system. And smart switches can automatically turn off devices like TVs and laptops when you aren’t using them.
Rest assured that there’s a long list of smart home products out there that can accommodate any budget.
Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
A lot of people think you need harsh chemicals in cleaning products to kill bacteria and clean. But you don’t. Household cleaners with dangerous chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) do more harm than good to us and our environment.
They can irritate our eyes, nose, and throat. The fragrances can worsen allergies and asthma. These household cleaners can be poisonous if swallowed and lead to more serious conditions like cancer.
As far as the environment, harmful household cleaners can pollute the air when sprayed. The liquid often ends up in our streams and rivers, polluting our water sources. In addition, the containers are usually made from non-recyclable materials, causing them to end up in landfills.
Opt for eco-friendly cleaners at the store. If you’re up for it, consider making homemade cleaners with natural products. For example, mix up white vinegar, water, a lemon rind, and rosemary sprigs to make a scented all-purpose cleaner. Or, make a natural heavy-duty scrub with 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 a cup of borax powder.
Transitioning to a more eco-friendly life is a big decision. But that doesn’t mean it takes a web of complex actions and a huge budget to make it happen. Small actions can get you to your vision of a sustainable life. Commit to them, and the results you get may inspire you to do more.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels
Guest Author Bio
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but business, technology, and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or getting into the latest tech.