Be Green & Love The Planet You Live On
This year I’m making efforts to be more green than ever. This list of green tips can help anyone reduce their carbon footprint!
Humans have generated 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic since 1950, according to a 2017 University of Georgia study. What’s more, almost 80 percent of that plastic is still sitting in landfills or junking up the environment. Plastic—even the biodegradable kind—never really goes away. It clogs waterways, chokes out wildlife and emits toxic chemicals that leech into water and soil. As an eco-conscious family, you’re already mindful about your plastic usage. You probably shop the bulk bins and tote your own cloth shopping bags. You likely store leftovers in sealed glass containers instead of zip-top bags and bring a refillable water bottle to the gym. These are all excellent ways to cut down your plastic usage, but there are even more, less-obvious things you can do. Here are 10 ideas you may not have thought of to live a little more green.
Skip plastic produce bags
If you’re good about bringing your own shopping bags to the grocery store, way to go! Now, do you really need to toss those green peppers into a disposable plastic bag? You’re going to wash them anyway, so it doesn’t much matter if they’re loose in your cart, right? You can also toss produce right into your cloth shopping bags to contain them while you cruise the aisles.
Choose wines with real corks
About 15 years ago, buzz began circulating that cork, the classic wine preserver, wasn’t so sustainable. There was concern that cork tree forests were being depleted, so perhaps plastic wine stoppers would be better. Well, the truth is cork production is pretty darned sustainable. The bark can be stripped and used to make wine closures without cutting the trees down, and this process actually makes the trees better able to offset carbon dioxide. Also, Mediterranean cork forests host some of the greatest plant biodiversity on the planet, according to the World Wildlife Fund. So next time you’re selecting wine, opt for bottles with real-cork corks, not plastic stoppers.
Leave plastic hangers at the store
Fewer stores these days let you keep plastic clothes hangers, but plenty will still ask if you’d like them at checkout. Unless you’re in dire need of new hangers at home, say no and encourage the store to reuse them.
Decline straws at restaurants
The no-plastic-straws movement is gaining steam, with more and more restaurants moving away from them. However, the most eating spots still offer straws automatically. If you don’t need one to drink, tell the restaurant server, bartender or checkout person that you’d like to go without. If you’re given a straw anyway, and it’s wrapped in paper or plastic, bring it back up to the bar or counter.
Get off of mailing lists
Unless you tear them off, those crinkly plastic windows make otherwise recyclable paper envelopes destined for the landfill. To limit the number of windowed envelopes sent to your home, request to be taken off of any unnecessary mailing lists. Also see if you can go totally paperless with your utility bills, bank statements and other must-haves.
Use bar soap instead of liquid soap
Most liquid hand soaps and body washes come in plastic bottles. And does anyone really mind using bar soap anyway? This is an easy one. Place bars of soap in your bathrooms and by your kitchen sink—and in the shower, instead of body wash. Go one step further and try a bar shampoo.
Order ice cream cones, not cups
When you hit the ice cream shop or stand, order your treat in a cone instead of a plastic-lined paper cup with a plastic spoon. Also consider going out for ice cream when you want it versus keeping the sweet stuff in your freezer, likely in a plastic tub or plastic-coated box. Yes, it’ll cost more per lick, but we tend to cave to cravings more frequently when it’s only a freezer door away. So by not having it in your home, you’ll cut down on plastic use and indulge only when you want ice cream bad enough that you are willing to go fetch it.
Bring your own garment bag to the dry cleaner
If you have a lot of clothes that need dry cleaning, the plastic waste adds up fast. See if your dry cleaner will let you leave your own garment bag with your items. If they say no, consider shopping around for a new dry cleaner that’ll let you skip the single-use plastic bag.
Ask the flight attendant to refill your canteen
Just think how many single-use plastic cups are used each airline flight! When the flight attendant offers you water, ask if he or she can’t pour it into your canteen or reusable bottle. If you’re ordering a soda or juice, see if you can get the whole can instead of a cupful. They are usually kept reasonably cold.
Lots of balloons are made of plastic, and when they escape, they can float for thousands of miles before landing. Once on the ground or in the water, birds, small mammals and fish may mistake them for food or get tangled in the attached ribbons. For your next celebration, bypass balloons and go with paper streamers, paper lanterns, cardboard signs and other plastic-free decorations instead.
So what do you think? Are these tops easy enough to add to everyday life? I personally think they are, and that’s why I’m incorporating them in my green life. Thanks for reading!!
Disclaimer: This post (or portions of this post) was provided by New Hope Network. I am a member of the New Hope Influencer Co-op, a network of health and wellness bloggers committed to spreading more health to more people.