Tired of polluting the world? There must be a better way! 35 ways you can green up
Are you tired of creating huge environmental issues that you will pass on to future generations? Does the destruction of entire forests and animal species bother you? Do you wish that there was a better way?
What if I told you, that you could partake in fixing these issues today? With just a little effort and some time you could reduce your footprint and contribute in creating a better world for everyone.
Now that we are done with this infomercial intro, let’s get right to it.
Becoming an environmentalist does not require to spend too much of your time, or money, I personally often search for the ways how being ecological can also be economical, to reward myself with cutting down my footprint. In the previous article I wrote about the issues of changing from consuming plastics, to bioplastics, explaining that in the end we have to take the fault for the massive over-consumption for our convenience.
Soon after the article was published, the realization hit me, that most of what I did was ramble, instead of giving enough of good old concrete advice on how we can reduce consumption and waste.
So here, without further ado are 35 clear solutions for reducing your footprint, in a regular day to day life:
Your day probably begins by going to the bathroom, to shower, brush your teeth and get yourself ready for the world. However, you could easily green it up in the bathroom with a few tips:
1. Use bar of soap instead of shower gel — boar of soap in general requires less energy to make, it uses less plastic, especially if it is wrapped in paper.
You can often find these soaps in any bigger grocery shop, Lush, soap shops or online.
2. Next time you’re shopping for a toothbrush, get yourself a bamboo toothbrush.
For the readers in Finland you can easily buy one at Ruohonjuuri or in your local equivalent. You can also order them online, but remember the extra packaging!
3. Use bar of soap for hands — probably the easiest one on the list! However, if you do insist on liquid hand soap, buy a reusable soap dispenser and purchase liquid soap in bulk.
4. Try using bar shampoo and bar conditioner — I am still personally looking for my favorite solid shampoo and conditioner, blessed with very complicated hair, however you can find solid hair products at Lush, at your local eco-shop or online from many indie producers. Further reading about solid hair products.
5. Dump the wipes for the face and the down bellow — For face choose the reusable cotton pads (you can buy them online or do it yourself), for the bottom simply stick with toilet paper with either water or a greener alternative such as Satu Gel Wipes.
6. In general, reduce consumption of beauty products — use less hair products, especially hairspray, less makeup products and use up the goods before you start using new one!
After shower you make yourself a cup of coffee, maybe eat a little, dress up and go to work. How could we make morning getting ready routine more environmental?
7. Make coffee with a Moka Espresso, use a glass coffee maker or steal coffee filters — less waste, less expenses. Making coffee this way also tastes so much better. It also prevents you from creating waste, by making a liter of coffee, when you actually needed 1–2 cups.
8. Grab your reusable coffee mug and take your coffee to work or use it at a coffee shop. You might even get a discount for being environmentally conscious.
9. Pack your lunch to work — great way to use up the leftovers from last nights dinner and save some of that lunch money. A startup from Hong Kong — Pokeat recently created a foldable waterproof food container, which fits in your pocket.
At work there are three main suggestions I would have for reducing waste:
10. Have reusable water bottle. Let’s face it, plastic bottles are just lazy and wrong in so many ways.
11. If your office has fruits thrown out, ask if people can take them home. Either eat it as is, or make a pie, smoothie, frozen yogurt.
12. If people at the office really like the bubbles, ask if they would like to switch to a Soda Streamer instead? They could shamelessly have every soda they want.
Cautious Shopping after work can be a tedious task — you might be tired, hungry, but there are easy ways you can make the shopping after long days easier and environmentally friendlier:
13. Don’t shop without a list, you’ll buy more snacks, spend more than you wanted to and end up in more waste.
14. Carry a canvas bag — it doesn’t take much space, but it does save our oceans and landfills.
15. Carry produce bags — you can either make them yourself from old net curtain or other light fabric as well as buy them in a local eco-shop or on Etsy.
16. Choose the product with less/no packaging because some food producers really believe that every individual bell pepper needs to be wrapped in plastic.
17. Show ugly vegetables/fruit some love, because don’t we all want to be loved sometimes? Produce which does not look aesthetically pleasing often gets thrown out, creating huge amount of waste from vegetables and fruit, which is actually perfectly fine to eat.
18. If your budget allows you — shop at local farmer markets, eco-shops and buy food with responsible packaging. This step might be hard for some, however, it is a reminder that if your budget allows you to, support those who are trying to create greener food.
19. Also, consider buying discount produce, which is soon expiring: often shops will put discounts on food which is about to expire, in order to get rid of it. It is a good way for a win/win situation — less waste, more savings for you and more profits for the shop. Don’t forget to research which food you can freeze and for how long, not to end up being wasteful!
Kitchen is an exceptionally easy place to create waste. As we usually tend to eat on daily basis, our combined food choices affect the planet rather greatly. Luckily, there are some simple ways you could green your lifestyle and even save some green in your wallet.
20. Repurpose food waste — make broth, soup, fertilizer, there are so many ways that this topic probably deserves it’s own article, which I probably will need to write soon.
21. Do you really need to eat meat twice a day every day? Producing meat requires much more energy and water than growing vegetables, grains and fruits. Try reducing the amount of meat consumed per week to maybe eating meet every other day or on weekends. By the way, eating vegetables and grains is often cheaper.
22. If you can, drink tap water over bottled water or juices, sodas. However, iff you really like your bubbles, consider investing in a Soda Streamer. Especially older, simpler models, without what feels like a soda AI inside them, do pay off rather fast.
23. Try growing some spices yourself! You have a window, right? Then just get some seeds, dirt and an empty egg container and start growing! You can also use some of the vegetable scraps to regrow more food at home [video].
24. Get yourself a biobin even on it’s own, or with biodegradable bags. When bio-waste ends up in landfills, it is often depraved of oxygen and creates methane, a gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide, so get yourself a biobin, to separate your bio-waste from the rest.
25. Stop using plastic straws! Please! It’s estimated that each year we throw out 8.5 billion straws just in UK. If you prefer sipping your drinks with a straw — buy reusable metal straws.
26. Don’t buy any appliance you are not sure you’d use enough. Not only you will waste money, you could save for a nice holiday, but also every thing you buy creates waste. Make sure it counts.
27. Making a meal plan is a great way to reduce food waste and save yourself quite a bit of money. You stop wondering around the stop, wasting time and buying food you might never eat.
I would also love to share some general advice and reminders that are, as most things mentioned here, beneficial for both the planet and your pocket:
28. Repair, reuse or repurpose items: get creative, make a rug out of old ripped clothes or a pillow, turn food containers into storage jars, browse in Pinterest, YouTube every time you want to throw something out, check if someone came up with a way to save it.
29. Donate or sell things you won’t keep: those items which are still good quality could probably still find a new home, as well as even earn you some money back.
Also, in Helsinki there is no shortage of flea markets, where you can sell your things, as well as provide home for some 2nd hand items.
In Helsinki there are the yearly Cleaning Days, flea markets on weekends in Helsinki Ice Hall, Konepajan Bruno, Korjaamo.
30. Make your own cleaning supplies: for general cleaning we do not actually need to buy a lot of cleaning supplies in order to kill all the germs. Sometimes only water is enough, but if you do want to do a proper cleaning, make your own environmentally friendly and cheap cleaning supplies.
31. When you need something, check secondhand sites, Facebook groups, secondhand stores and go to flea markets. For Helsinki people I will (hopefully soon) gather a list of secondhand shops, flea markets and other places, for every different style, want, need.
32. Equip yourself with a metal water bottle for that extra sustainability. Plastic wears down, glass breaks, but metal bottle can last a lifetime. You can find a light aluminum bottle in most camping and sports shops.
33. Change your bills to email or electronic post services such as in Posti app.
34. Keep glass/metal containers from food as storage. Repurpose, reuse, get creative with jars and other containers.
It is easy to scream and shout and let it all out, but we are sayin’ it’s better to calm down, think and take action instead. So, don’t push yourself over the border, add few of these steps into your life week by week till eventually these steps will become your daily routine.
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