By Brianna Flaherty
We should all be doing our part to give the planet some much-needed TLC, but sometimes sustainability feels easier said than done. I’ll be the first to admit that paper straws (aka soggy cardboard) aren’t the best, but swimming in the Great Pacific Garbage patch isn’t really ideal either. Climate change is real (just ask NASA), and it’s time for us to start doing better when it comes to taking care of our environment. Here are a few simple ways to take action and show some love to mother nature:
Opting out of receiving printed bills and junk mail is a simple first step in reducing your carbon footprint (and, you know, *sparking joy*). You can also go digital with everything from movie theater tickets to receipts — the less paper you’re using, the more you’re protecting our planet. And yeah, going digital means you *may* inadvertently get added to lots of company marketing email lists, but is it really that hard to help the planet by occasionally hitting “unsubscribe”?
place online orders strategically
If you rely on ecommerce sites like Amazon for most of your monthly staples, challenge yourself to place one bulk order at the beginning of every month, instead of staggering items so they ship separately. The more efficient your ordering, the more you’ll reduce your packaging waste.
phase out everyday disposables
Cities like New York, Portland, and Seattle have already taken action by banning reusable plastics like straws and bags. No matter your city’s policy, take inventory of the items you use everyday to see where you can swap out disposable products—like plastic food utensils, plates, and water bottles—for more eco-friendly alternatives. If you’re looking for a sustainable replacement for traditional period products, we know a pretty amazing option.
use green cleaning products
Making your own cleaning products is slightly more involved than clicking “purchase” on a bottle of Windex online, but mixing basic ingredients like vinegar and water can yield powerful (and non-toxic!) cleaning solutions. Plus, homemade products will save you some money and cut back on chemicals and plastic waste being introduced into the environment.
rethink your diet
Meatless Mondays are great, but you can also adjust your diet in other ways that will reduce your carbon footprint. Including more locally-grown foods from the farmer’s markets or a CSA subscription (maybe even a backyard garden!) in your diet gets around all the plastic bags and packaging you’ll encounter at a grocery store. If you *do* find yourself in the grocery store aisles, opt for buying organic products if you can.
unplug and recycle electronics
Unplugging everyday items like your TV, toaster, and phone charger when they aren’t in use saves energy (and money on your electricity bill). Also, recycling your electronics responsibly when they meet their end is key. Phones, computers, and other electronics contain harmful chemicals that can leak into the environment, which is why most companies offer mail-in recycling services. On the off-chance that they don’t, the internet can help you find a recycling center near you.
update your lighting
People are like plants — we need sun every dang day to feel okay. Whenever you have the option, always opt for natural lighting (that means The Sun). It’ll conserve energy *and* the sun’s rays come equipped with Vitamin D. When sunshine isn’t an option, you can swap out your light bulbs for eco-friendly, efficient lighting like LEDs or halogen bulbs.
How do you practice sustainability in your day-to-day? Share in the comments section!