Often times when we think of going green we envision large expensive projects like going solar or buying a Tesla. Being more environmentally friendly is easier than people like to think; in fact it’s as simple as going back to the basics of reduce, reuse, recycle. You might notice cutting plastic is going to be a reoccurring theme here.That is because plastic doesn’t degrade naturally, so when it ends up in places like the ocean it just stays there. Imagine if you would taking a dip in your beautiful pool and trying to swim with tons of plastic surrounding you. That is what it feels like if you live in the ocean.
Reduce the use of straws-
When hitting up your favorite restaurant avoid the straw. It has that pesky plastic stuff we talked about and it might end up in your pool. Instead just drink from the cup like you would if you didn’t have straws at all. If it is a fast food joint and they give you a plastic cup you could do what I do, go top and strawless. If you are awesome and want extra credit just bring your own reusable cup or bottle everywhere. You won’t be thirsty and you will be doing right by the earth.
Plastic bags are a pain, they don’t break down well and are hard to recycle. Bringing your own bags to the grocery store isn’t that crazy. A few states require stores to charge for them or they banned non compostable bags altogether. I use reusable bags and not only are they better for the environment but they are also sturdier and can usually fit a lot more groceries in them per bag. A great alternative I like is shopping at stores that let you use boxes to carry your groceries out.
Another reusable item is K-cups. Keurigs and other coffee machines are awesome,they are convenient, look good with your decor, and take up less space than your conventional coffee makers. They also typically use way more plastic and waste than your regular coffee maker. Does that mean you have to give up your beloved Keurig? Not at all, some awesome people invented reusable K-cups. You put your coffee into the K-cup, put it into the maker and voila coffee, or tea. Just empty it when you are done and you are ready to go whenever you need a caffeine fix. It takes some getting used to but is so much better than filling your pool with plastic cups. One way i found to keep the convenience factor is to prefill a few and store them in a sealed container, that way you don’t have to fill it up every time you want coffee
Water is really important for life and we need to drink it if we want to stay happy and healthy. A lot of us drink our water from a plastic bottle. Plastic bottles are also a huge problem for our environment. This is another area where we can reuse! My roommate uses a refillable, reusable water bottle, She also works in an office with at least seven other people. At her office they offer their employees regular bottled water to drink throughout the day and there are about 260 weekdays in a year. My roommate bringing her own water bottle (which is 1 gallon) saves at least 260 water bottles from being used in a year. That might not seem very impressive, but when you consider the fact that she would probably drink more than one bottle of water a day you start to see where the numbers start to matter. If her coworkers all invested in a reusable water bottle they would be saving at least 1,820 water bottles from going in the trash every year.
Recycle- (No, Really)
I know that sounds pretty obvious but you would be surprised how little people recycle. Also knowing what you can recycle and what you can’t is a biggie. Plastic bags aren’t accepted at most facilities but a lot of stores have a box in the entrance where you can bring your plastic bags. Most cities and facilities have a list of what they do and do not accept for recycling. Do your research, print out a list and put it on your fridge, whatever to remind yourself what can go in the bin and what can’t. If you wanted to create extra change you could also find out what needs to be done to help your community as a whole be more active in their recycling.
Being informed is the best way to be environmentally friendly; do your research into what you are buying and where you are buying it from. Read up on what other countries and communities are doing to improve the environment and remember that all around any attempt you make is a step in the right direction. The more you do and the longer you do it the more likely you are to rub off on someone around you. The more open you are about the changes you made the more likely you are to inspire someone else. I have seen this in real time. The world is changing, believe it or not you are a part of that. Be the change you want to see- and start going green!
If you make any of these changes or have questions leave us a comment! I especially would love to hear from you.