Here are 5 steps every eco-friendly person should have under their belt, are significant starting points for those getting into it, and can have the biggest impact on reducing your individual impact on the environment.
1. Reusable Water bottle
All of the plastic, paper and disposable cups you will save with 1 reusable bottle you take everywhere. Not just for health nuts, I have seen buddies fill up their Nagane bottles at the 7-11 soda fountain before. I would recommend stainless steel for the best all purpose, all containing, non-leaching, durable and portable container. You can check out my reusable water bottle comparison article to find one that best suits your needs. This will help keep all of those pesky plastic water bottles out of our waterways and adding to the Pacific Plastic Gyre.
2. Bicycle (or just walking)
Even better than public transportation, a bicycle is the most energy efficient method or transportation we have come up with to date. Not only does it no produce any emissions, it is very easy to park, gives you some exercise to stay healthy, keeps you out of traffic and can be a darn good time to boot! Check out this bamboo bicycle or treadmill bicycle to really inspire you to go green!
3. Green up your cleaners.
You would be shocked at the amount of toxic chemicals you may have under your sink and in your laundry room. All of these nasty harsh chemicals make their way into the ocean and water ways through your drain, and they aren’t even necessary! Chlorine bleach, phosphates, ammonia and more poison our water killing fish and aquatic life and alter the chemistry of our water. This includes Dishwashing Detergent (both Automatic dishwasher and hand soap), Laundry Detergent, and Bathroom and household cleaners too!
4. Change your lightbulbs and buy a power strip.
CFL lightbulbs (Compact Florescent Lights) and LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are not only immensely more energy efficient (saving you money on your electric bill), but they also last way longer (saving you money on replacement costs and hassles).
Energy cutting power strips can cut down your vampire devices from sucking energy while in their off position. Since most modern electronics aren’t really turned off, many can be using almost as much power in their off position as when the are turned on! To keep this from happening, plug like devices into a single power strip and turn the entire strip off. The savings will add up on your electric bill, and the impact we all collectively have on the environment.
5. Buy Local
Whether it’s wood for your deck or food for your table, the less it traveled, the better. Not only that, but you end up supporting your local economy and building community. Try to buy in season at farmers markets, where the produce is the freshest and best for you, purchase goods from local artisans. Use a reusable shopping bag for extra green points
Follow these simple steps and you will have made a significant impact on your overall footprint while at the same time living better, lowering your bills and building community. Going green can be a growing and life-improving decision, not only for the earth but also for yourself.