The world can sustain 9 billion people and we already have 7.5 billion people occupying the earth (United States Census Bureau, 2020). It is estimated that every thirteen years the world gains another billion people. By 2050, scientists believe we will hit that 9 billion mark and life on earth will become impossible.
Let’s be honest, the majority of Americans are consumers. Consumers of TV shows. Consumers of food–especially fast food. Consumers of money, people, cars, clothing, the newest iPhone–you name it! And we tend to forget the Earth is decaying while we infest it like a cavity with our consumerism that is causing things like pollution, global warming, extinction of animals, and environmental destruction.
Don’t fret! These helpful tips will transform your lifestyle to eco-friendly in no time.
1. Use less
Use less + waste less = saving the environment. Pretty simple, right?
- Turning off your faucet while you scrub your hands for twenty-seconds (per doctor recommendation) or while you brush your teeth will end up saving thousands of gallons of water. You can also invest in a shower-water-recycler that will recycle your shower water into your toilet water. Learn more about recycling your shower water here.
- It cost about 50 cents to purchase a reusable grocery bag and it is a one time purchase that will reduce the amount of plastic that ends up polluting our oceans. Ask your grocery store clerk where you can purchase these if you are unsure where to find them. Ikea sells affordable totes for groceries here and if you are looking for something more stylish L.L. Bean sells an assortment of totes here.
- Recycle plastic bags you do use. Most grocery stores and supermarkets have a large bin in the entrance where you can drop off old plastic bags for recycling. You can also keep old bread plastic bags to use for storing other items or as small garbage sacks. They are more durable than store plastic bags and hold more content too.
- Be mindful of how much paper you use. Sign up to pay your bills online. This will save paper and a stamp–in turn, saving trees. Also, recycle the paper you do use or shred it in a paper shredder and toss the pieces into your compost. Yes, you can compost paper and newspapers!
- Try using your car sparingly. Riding your bike or walking is not only better for the environment but it is good for your health too!
- Making your own laundry soap, shampoo & conditioner, and household cleaner is not only safe for the environment but it is safe on your lungs and skin too! Look for household cleaning recipes and here for other DIY soaps.
- Unplug your charger when your phone, computer, iPad, toothbrush, etc. is not connected to the charger. Turn lights off frequently. A lot of energy sources use coal and fossil fuels to produce electricity in our homes. So the less energy we are using the more we can diminish our own carbon footprint!
Eating a healthy balanced diet
- This might seem strange for “using less” but when you eat a healthier diet you typically eat less and therefore produce less trash. Processed foods come in cardboard and packaged containers that fill up garbage cans in a hurry. When you are eating more fruits and vegetables you are filling up on nutrients, which makes you fuller longer, and keeps you from producing excess garbage.
Tip: Skip the plastic bags when purchasing produce! You can easily keep them together in your reusable tote instead.
2. Separate and Compost
This might seem tedious at first glance but it can quickly become one of your favorite new chores. It takes virtually no extra effort and nobody ever felt worse after doing something to clean the environment.
- Separate your plastic, paper, cardboard, glass, and cans. A lot of cities have a separate canister for you to easily keep your recyclables in. Rural areas typically do not have this luxury but you can still take your recyclables to a nearby recycle dumpster. These dumpsters are usually located at the local grocery store or another designated area. To find your nearest recycling center type in her zip code here.
Save food scraps
- Composting food scraps is a great way to reduce and reuse. If you do not want to invest in a compost bin you can easily create your own compost bin with an old storage tub. Simply add soil, worms, lawn clippings (grass, leaves, etc.), and food scraps such as eggshells, potato shavings, coffee grounds, vegetable pieces, etc. Rotate the contents every so often and you will have the perfect nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Make this simple compost bin today!
There are several groups whose missions are to save the environment. With your support these organizations can continue to develop better systems that keep our environment clean.
Ocean Clean Up Group
- This group is simple to support. Just download their web browser and every time you search something a contribution is made and the group goes out and cleans up trash from the ocean. To download the browser for free visit this link or to learn more about the group here. The best part of Ocean Clean Up Group is that it is completely free to you and you are still helping the group flourish and clean up our oceans!
- 4Ocean is another group that uses proceeds to clean up the ocean. They make bracelets, sell reusable straw, and other products you can purchase from their website that show you are supporting their mission to keep garbage from killing ocean–to learn more visit this website.
Arbor Day Foundation
- The Arbor Day Foundation is dedicated to saving trees and restoring forests. You can purchase their small planter trees or visit their website to become a member of their foundation and receive 10 free trees for planting!
This is a lot of content but doing something as simple as changing your web browser can get you started with saving our environment right now!
United States Census Bureau. (May 2020). Population Clock. Retrieved on May 12, 2020 from https://www.census.gov/popclock/