Growing up whenever we would visit a relative or go over to someone’s house my mom would always tell us “leave your surroundings better than you found it”. This idea has continued to stick with me especially as I consider nature and the environment.
Trying to be more environmentally aware has always been a priority to me. In college my roommates an I even set up a recycling area within our suite. At the time we didn’t realize that the majority of our waste and trash was recyclable. After we started to see our recycling bins quickly fill up week after week I was so thankful that we started taking the time to recycle.
Why is important to be “green” and environmentally conscious? The products we use, the food we eat, the waste we create, and the way we live our lives can directly impact the environment.
“Going green” does not have to be difficult, time consuming, or expensive. It also doesn’t have to mean completely changing your lifestyle either. There are so many simple things you can do to live your life in a more green way.
- Reusable Grocery Bags: These are available EVERYWHERE! There is literally no reason not be using them! Plus, many stores will give you a small discount for each reusable bag that you use. And if you are really in the mood to make the world a better place, some stores like Whole Foods let you donate your reusable bag credit to their monthly charity.
- Reusable Produce Bags: Just like the reusable grocery bags you can also find reusable bags for produce. Just think of how many plastic bags you use each week for your fruits and vegetables. Using these bags will greatly help cut down on waste! (Try these or these).
- Recycle: This is is so obvious and easy and yet so many people choose not to. Many towns have recycling centers or city programs in which your recyling can be collected just like your weekly trash. Setting up a home recycling system is also a super easy task! Find out whether or not your town requires recyclables to be separated or if you can mix them together. (Tip: If the city doesn’t provide recyle bins you can go to your local hardware store or Target/Walmart and pick up plastic bins to hold your recyclables. These make for an easy transfer to the recycling center once full).
- Reduce your waste: There are definitely items that you use everyday that you can swap out to help reduce waste. Here are a few we have started to switch out:
- Napkins: Paper napkins can be so wasteful and expensive! Switch to cloth napkins to help cut down on waste and to save money! They don’t have to be expensive or designer- check stores like Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Crate & Barrel.
- Paper towels & Clorox Wipes: I used to be guilty of using paper towels for my house cleaning duties until I realized just how many I threw away each time I cleaned or wiped up a mess. Instead of using paper towels and Clorox wipes I started to stock up on small towels for cleaning around the house and wiping down counters. Not only does it cut back on waste but expenses too!
- Zip-lock Bags: We used to go through SO many ziplock bags. Whether it was for left overs, packed lunches, or marinating several bags were used each week. Of course depending on use you can sometimes rinse out or re-use a ziplock bag, but instead I found these re-usable bags that are great for packing lunches, food storage or brining/marinating meats. (Reusable bags)
- Skip the Meat: No, I’m not telling you to become a vegetarian, but going one day a week without eating meat (yes, it is doable) can greatly help reduce our carbon foot print. We try to do at least 2 meatless meals for dinner each week (I’ll share recipe and meal ideas soon). Again, not only is it good for the environment but our groceries are less expensive each week!
Not only do these tips help reduce waste and help the environment but they also help cut down on expenses helping you save! I cannot stress enough how IMPORTANT it is to be green and think about the environment. These are such easy and simple tasks that there is no reason to not give it a try!
“Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”
-Ancient Indian Proverb